Fujifilm is no stranger to instant photography. The Instax Mini 9 brought with it a revolution in this scene, all thanks to its compact size and “bang for the-buck” deal. And this year, the company is ready with its successor – the Instax Mini 11. Just like its predecessor, the Mini 11 is affordable and stylish, making it the perfect budget choice for adults and children alike. Another instant camera that made its debut in 2020 and rivals the Mini 11 is Polaroid Now.
With a price tag of $99.99, Polaroid Now is the first instant camera to come out after Polaroid ended its instant film production in 2008. And well, the new camera has pretty ingenious tricks up to its sleeves. For one, be shipped in a peculiar ergonomic body. Second, it also brings the autofocus advantage to the table. Yes, you read that right.
Polaroid Now you can change your focus depending on the object and change the camera lens accordingly. Neat, right?
Is this new feature enough to push you to the top of the list of best instant cameras of 2020? Let’s explore this post today as we pivot Polaroid Now against Fujifilm Instax Mini 11.
Let’s start. But before that,
When talking about the design, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 doesn’t bring drastic changes. It packs the same design, only this time the camera is thinner and thinner. This makes it easy to handle. However, don’t get your hopes up as you still won’t be able to fit it in your pocket and will need a small tote bag to carry it. And yes, it has the same matte plastic construction.
What’s more, the structure is above all the same, with the only exception of exposure control. Unlike the previous model, you don’t get any controls to adjust the brightness. Exposure control is fully automatic. Another change it brings to the table is the deletion of the tripod socket. At high, the background is flat enough that the camera sits vertically upright.
The film goes from behind, and there’s a clear viewfinder at the front to see your shots. The movie’s size remains the same as its popular predecessor. Each shot measures around 46 x 62mm and is big enough to fit into wallets and purses. The camera can hold about 10 movies at once.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Interestingly, Polaroid now doesn’t look like any of the new stylish instant cameras out there. Instead, it packs a pretty boxy look. In high, the design is quite unique and will attract your share of looks when you take it out for a spin.
It sports the usual polaroid look with a wide mud on the front of the camera. The viewfinder extends back to the camera, making it easier to view your photos.
Polaroid had gone the manual route with landscape and portrait settings with the OneStep camera if you remember. This changes with Polaroid Now, and now this camera has a pulcher autofocus function, which can automatically switch between the two modes. On paper, the camera detects objects and automatically switches between 35mm and 40mm lenses. In reality, this is more of a finicky process and one that produces unsatisfactory results in moments.
This time, the company opted to make the distance with Bluetooth connectivity. Now, there is no option to connect your smartphones to the camera to select different modes or shots of your phone.
O Now you also make a selfie timer by hand on the front. Strangely, there is no selfie mirror. While you can always turn the camera toward you and click on a photo, you’ll need a little experience before landing the perfect shot.
In addition, you can also experiment with drastic double exposure shots. All you have to do is press the selfie-timer button twice. Cool huh?
The good thing about Polaroid Now is that the printed photos are bigger than the Instax Mini 11. It uses modern i-Type films and classic 600 films. The larger size makes them perfect for hanging them in the fridge or sticking to a notebook.
Both cameras come in a glorious set of accents. Polaroid Now offers the brilliant red and white combination of Polaroid Now. While you can choose a soft powder blue from Instax Mini 11.
2. Charging and Battery
When it comes to pricing, Polaroid Now keeps things simple. It comes with a Micro-USB port on the side and is rechargeable with the supplied USB-A to Micro-USB cable. A single refill gives you a lot of juice, and you can shoot around 15 movie packs.
Meanwhile, the Instax Mini 11 doesn’t pack any batteries. So you’ll have to add two AA batteries to it, and a single pack lasts about 100 shots (10 packs of movies).
3. Photo Performance and Quality
Compared to its predecessor (OneStep 2), Polaroid Now has a better flash instead. It’s strong, and its strength is designed to match the brightness of the shot or frame.
Sometimes photos tend to be grounded without the flash. Fortunately, you won’t see bright, overexposed images with the flash on. Measuring does its job well, and you’ll end up with pretty presentable photos that you can share with friends and family, or just keep them as keepsakes. The best part is that the color reproduction is almost accurate.
Interestingly, Fujifilm has already worked on the exposure of its new camera and handles exposure quite well compared to the Mini Instax 9. However, it still tends to clarify photos, especially in bright conditions. Fortunately, it does its job as expected in low-light conditions and indoors.
You will have to keep in mind that instant cameras and polaroid cameras will rarely produce DSLR-like quality.
The great thing about the Instax Mini 11 is that it’s affordable and a single movie package costs around $12.
Capture Beautiful Moments
Instant cameras are fun to use. The ability to physically capture and hold a moment frozen in time is a different experience. This is something we are quickly forgetting in this digital age. The instant camera helps solve just that problem and makes keepsakes enjoyable.
So which camera could you choose? If you are looking for an affordable option with good photo quality, you should go with the Mini Instax 11. The photo quality is acceptable and you can do away with the discomfort of manual exposure control. Also, they make great choices for gift purposes, especially during Christmas.
On the other hand, Polaroid Now is the only instant camera (at least for now) to bundle the autofocus feature. Images are clear, and color reproduction is nearly perfect. I say almost because you would want the essence of an instant camera captured, right?
It costs about $40 more than the Instax Mini 11, and if you’ve got a few bucks to save, why not go for it? The quirky body will certainly make people launch a double look, take my word for it.