Ever since Polaroid stopped making 600 film, I've been sad. I mean yes, I'm aware the impossible project is a thing. Really though, 600 film was almost price prohibitive when it only cost a dollar a picture, no way can I justify two or three for regular use. But the fuji instax mini saves the day here! I can get film for about 70¢ a shot! What finally sealed the deal for me was a friend bringing her camera to craft night. I missed the social aspect of my instant cameras. It's so fun to just snap and have something tangible right away! That and our upcoming Paris trip, it just seemed to good to pass up. It actually helped that I had a little disaster last month, where I had to purchase a whole new camera system for my photography business. I had a ton of reward points to redeem at best buy, so it came in well under half of what I would have normally paid for it. On to what I thought!
I chose the instax mini 8, As far as quality goes on the mini models from best to worst I think it goes; 90 neo classic, 50s, 8, and 7s. I looked at the models that were nicer than the one I got, but the features they offered didn't really seem to be worth the price for me. I know with instant film, and film this small, the quality is only going to be so great. Film quality is NOT at all why I choose to use this camera. As I mentioned before there's a total social aspect to it. There's a lot of people who have no idea what instant film is anymore, so it's always a conversation starter. It's also nice just to unplug from instagram when you're out with friends. Also an other reason I still love film, it's tangible. I've found prints from what feels like forever ago stuck in pages of books and just instantly have a wave of nostalgia. I like that. The prints also happen to fit perfectly into my project life scrapbook layouts, score!
The camera is very simple to use. You press a button to pop out the lens, which turns on the camera. There's an automatic light meter that light up and tell you what to set your camera to. Once your light meter is set, snap away! A photo will pop up out of the top of the camera and develop in about a minute. Here's some examples of what I shot with my first pack of film.
Some Thoughts & Advice:
There's ten shots in a pack, but only nine above. One didn't come out at all, it was completely black. I set the light meter, the flash fired, but alas nothing. Sometimes that happens with instant film. You get a dud. While disappointing, it doesn't happen enough to really bother me all that much. Just one of the downsides of shooting with any film, light can be a fickle mistress.
The camera also has no focusing capabilities besides the fixed focus it already has. So don't get too close to your subject unless you purchase a close up adapter (you can find them all over amazon and ebay). I'd say a good rule of thumb without one though would be to keep all subjects at about arms length at minimum.
The camera does best in natural light, but it's a fun party camera. The flash will go off for every photo with varying levels on intensity based on what you set the light meter to. If you want to diffuse the flash cover it with masking tape. Or if you want to turn it off completely try black gaffers tape!
The camera is going to feel large compared to other non instant film options, but I don't think it's overly large. I know the 7s is bigger, which is one of the reasons I went with the 8 over it. This would fit in just about medium sized and up purses. And fits very well in a new camera bag I got from Jototes (review coming soon!).
Overall I love this camera. If I'm not bringing it to document a party or a fun night out, I usually take about a pack of film (ten shots) a week. I love adding them to my project life scrapbook, and to my private journals. It's nice to be able to have an affordable instant film option for those of us that miss 600 film that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.