Sunday, February 5, 2017

Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera - South Weber, Utah
My nine-year-old daughter Joy wanted a camera for Christmas. She's had an interest in photography for years and years, and I've tried to foster that interest.

Joy figured out that she wanted an instant camera, one that spits out a picture. When I was young my family had a Polaroid camera, but nowadays Fujifilm's Instax cameras are popular. The big difference between Polaroids and Instax is the size of the picture--as small as Polaroid pictures were, Instax is even smaller (roughly two inches by two-and-a-half inches).

On Christmas morning Joy unwrapped a light-blue Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 instant film camera and a couple packages of film to go with it. We put in two fresh AA batteries, loaded a 10-pack of film and Joy was able to capture some pictures.

A button near the lens makes the lens pop out and turns the camera on. It takes a moment for the flash to charge. A ring around the lens provides the only picture controls: indoor, cloudy, sunny, bright sunny and high-key. An orange light lets you know what setting the camera thinks it should be set to. The only other button is the shutter release, which is what takes a picture.
Instax - South Weber, Utah
The camera is very easy to use, and my nine-year-old daughter has no problems with it. She can load the film. It seems well-built for child use and has survived a few knocks. It's a good kid-friendly camera! 

Getting the exposure right is tricky--it seems like most photographs are either underexposed or overexposed. The only way to shut off the flash is to put some electrical tape over it. The viewfinder is very small. The lens has soft focus. The closest focus distance is about two feet, and anything inside of that is going to be blurry. Image quality is, no surprise, not particularly good. This is, perhaps, analog photography at it's worst. This is the charm of this camera for some people.

The magic of Instax, and the reason that it is so popular, is the instant picture. You press a button and a picture pops out the side of the camera. It takes a minute for the picture to develop--you can't help but watch it slowly appear from white! And you have a real, tangible picture that you can hold in your hands, something that's often missing in today's digital world.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera, which comes in five different fun colors, retails for $60, which isn't bad for a camera. The film is what's expensive, at over a dollar a picture if you don't buy in bulk. It is the magical, retro experience that you are paying for. My daughter Joy says, "It's super fun!"
Winter Backyard - South Weber, Utah
Red Vase Sky - South Weber, Utah
Blurry Camera - South Weber, Utah
The Traveler - South Weber, Utah
Photo by Joy Roesch 
Picture Office - South Weber, Utah
Photo by Joy Roesch

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