Fujifilm Instax has been one of those rare success stories where an outmoded technology makes a surprising comeback. The cameras have drawn a loyal and dedicated group of followers who are passionate about the timeless process of instant photography. Today we’re going to take a close look at the feature sets of the various Instax models.
Instax awakens the wonder of instant photography
If you want to know how old someone is, you could narrow it down by asking them if they’ve ever used a Polaroid camera. Chances are that if they did, the very mention of the name will bring a smile to their face. I have many fond memories of those clunky old cameras spitting out milky film sheets, and the magic that happened as the image was slowly (oh so slowly) revealed, after much unnecessary waving. And the photos had a certain quality—the muted colours, the greyish blacks, that left you wondering ‘Is it finished yet??’. It was this very style that Instagram sought to replicate, and it is entirely arguable that without Polaroid, there would be no Instagram.
Instant photo experience
It seems that the world of digital photography is kind of lacking in stand out cameras nowadays, they all offer a result that’s not vastly different from the rest. The Instax cameras, however, stand completely out on their own, offering users an experience that no other camera can match. It’s so cool to see the look on a kid’s face the first time they experience instant photography, it’s like watching them open the curtains on a snow day; that moment where everything changes, and anything becomes possible.
Fujifilm has an unexpected hit
Fujifilm has been in the instant photography market since the early 80’s, and the actual Instax brand has been around since 1998, which possibly wasn’t the best time to launch a new film-based technology, as the digital camera market was soon to go into overdrive. Nevertheless, Instax chugged along quietly, and unspectacularly. But then a few years ago a tipping point arrived where the brand became wildly popular, and in 2015 Fujifilm shipped around 5 million Mini 8s, up from 100,000 in 2004. Interestingly, this is far more than the total number of digital units the company shipped in the same year.
Tangible photography for everyone
It’s fascinating to see a technology that flies in the face of everything that’s current become so successful. I think people are drawn to the fact that in a world of throw away digital photos made up of ones and zeros, here is something tangible, something that has actual substance, something you can use to brighten up your life on a recurrent basis. Or maybe it’s just the thrill of seeing the thing develop right before your eyes!
Anyway, let’s look at some cameras.
The Instax Mini 8 – Pure Simplicity
At the entry level, we have the Instax Mini 8, the original Instax camera, available in 7 different colours [are black and white colours??] and basically the easiest camera to use. No bells or whistles, just turn on the power, adjust the dial till the LED lights up, and boom—you’re ready to shoot. Couldn’t be simpler. The Mini 8 runs on plain old AA batteries, which is handy because you never have to go looking for a charger or worry about outlets when you’re travelling. On the downside, there’s the environmental cost of disposable batteries, but you can always order some rechargeable AA batteries here at BestBuy.ca.
The Mini 70 – A Touch Of Class
Moving up a notch, we have the Instax Mini 70, which is a bit more sophisticated than its little sibling, both in looks and features. It comes in six cool shades, including some with metallic finishes, and overall just feels a bit more ‘serious’ than the Mini 8. It’s got a self timer, which is obviously a major advantage for group shots, as well as specific modes for close-ups, landscapes, and selfies. It even has a little mirror on the front so you can frame your selfies right! There’s also a tripod socket on the bottom so that you can mount your camera on a tripod for those group shots. The battery type is a CR-2, which is not the most common battery around, so you might want to keep a spare one handy, just in case.
|Instax Mini 70||Instax Mini 8|
|Auto Exposure||Perfect Lighting||Manual|
|Selfie Mode||Perfect Selfies|
|Macro Mode||Close Shots|
|Landscape Mode||Far Shots|
|Self Timer||Group Shots|
|Selfie Mirror||Perfect Selfies|
One final Instax product that I want to mention is the Instax SHARE wireless printer. This is a great option for those who want to shoot with their smartphone, and still experience the joy of instant photography. The beauty of this system is that you can be totally selective about the shots that you print.
Are you an Instax fan? What do you love about the system?