Instant photography is something I’ve always been very curious to try, I’ve shot on friends Instax cameras before and loved the analogue nature of them and the way in which you get a physical print. I was lucky enough to get an Instax Mini 70 for Christmas and have run quite a few cartridges of film through it since then, so here’s my comprehensive review of all things Instax!
The Instax Mini 70 couldn’t be easier to use, it is completely automatic so just turn it on, shoot and 99% of the time you’ll have a perfect shot develop before your eyes. One disadvantage to that is that you can’t adjust any settings at all so you can’t do any mad experimenting! An advantage of this over model over the cheaper Mini 8, is that is has a self-timer which is super useful for group shots pre-night out, just be careful that it is turned on when you want to use it, and turned off when you don’t!
With Instax, you have two choices of film and the Colour film is what you get in the box and what you’ll find in most shops. It’s contrasty and renders colours very accurately, a problem I discovered with it however, is that in cold it just doesn’t develop. In Warsaw I took shots of my friends in the snow in the minus 6 and after a few minutes I went to look and discovered that they were pure white, I then warmed them in my hands and images slowly began to appear but there was a substantial loss in quality. I understand this is a very niche issue however, not everyone will be shooting with an Instax in such extreme cold!
Fujifilm recently introduced Monochrome (black and white) Instax film and it’s quickly become my favourite thing to shoot. There are lovely tones to the images and without colour, you can really create an atmosphere with the composition and use of light and dark. I’ve also found the black and white film to be noticeably sharper, the grain structure is also really nice for an 800 ISO film. I shot a cartridge of this film in Auschwitz and Birkenau and it was also extremely cold so I put the prints right into my gloves after taking them to warm them during developing so I cannot confirm if it suffers from the same issue as the colour, but I can confirm instant warming saves your photos!
The best way to understand any camera is to see images taken with it. Typically Instax’s are used for portraits but I’ve done some experimenting with landscapes and really like the results I’ve been getting. If you’ve taken any cool shots on an Instax camera, tweet them to me @Colin_Tonge, I’m always looking for inspiration!