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One-A-Day Gift Guide: Real-Life Instagram

Ditch Instagram and get a real instant camera. And no, I’m not talking about Polaroid.

Instagram might not want to sell users’ photos, but the recent uproar over its terms of service might still make some people squeamish over what it really means to upload the most memorable moments of their life to a site like Instgram.

Buuuut maybe they still want to take shots that evoke the spirit of what Instagram was trying to create: photos that are easy, fun, instant, almost immediately tinted with a layer of nostalgia. Just go IRL Instagram: A Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S instant camera. It’s like a Polaroid, but better. In Wirecutter’s assessment of instant cameras, Fujifilm’s Instax cameras are the best ones you can buy.

While Wirecutter recommends the Instax 210 because of its larger film format and high image quality, I think the best route to go for most people is the Instax Mini 50S: The Instax mini cameras are way, way more compact — small enough to be everyday cameras, unlike the bulky 210 — and the 50S is the nicest of the minis, with more advanced features than the 25 or 7S. And I love that the photos they produce, using Fujifilm’s Instax mini film, are roughly the size of credit cards, which seems to hew even closer to the spirit of mobile photography than the 210’s twice-as-large Instax Wide format photos.

The 50S runs around $100, and 10 packs of Instax film are about $15. Which is pricey, at over a dollar a shot. But just think of how cooooool everyone you take a picture of will look. That kind of cool isn’t cheap; it just looks that way.

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