The instant, credit card size photographs produced by the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s makes it the perfect camera to bring to gatherings with friends and family. This camera was my first brush with instant photography and I fell in love, instantly.
My first brush with the Fujifilm Instax Mini was in Japan when a friend and I visited a maid cafe in Akihabara, Tokyo last year. The package we bought included a cute rabbit-shaped cake, a drink, 30 minutes of the maid’s time and an instant photo with her!
However, it was only in April this year, during a holiday to Seoul, Korea, did I decide to pick up the Instax Mini 7s in blue! This adorable camera runs on 4 AA batteries and has a shutter speed of 1/60, 0.6 to infinity focusing and has a Fujinon 60mm lens. Exposure control is manual and one can pick between indoor/dark, cloudy/shady, fine and clear. There is also a built-in flash which fires automatically. The camera uses Fujifilm instax mini film (a pack contains 10 sheets) and produces credit card size photographs (8.6cm x 5.4cm), which is great for carrying around in one’s wallet.
In the short 3 months since the Instax Mini 7s fell into my hands, I have shot more than 10 packs of film, but only half of the photos remained with me. Because these instant photos make such great and memorable gifts for friends and family members! Whenever I meet up with friends or go out with my family to celebrate special occasions, I always bring it along to snap two shots, one to keep and the other to give away.
The Instax Mini 7s is especially suited to indoor shots, with its built-in flash and the ISO 800 Instax Mini film. The flash in this model fires even in ‘Clear’ (outdoor, bright sunshine) mode and there is no way to switch it off. The very bright flash tends to cause overexposure in most photographs. However, it is easy to manually cover the flash with your hand when taking photographs or to create a simple mask to tone down the flash. It is important to remember to set the exposure before taking a shot since the exposure control dial always resets to ‘Indoor’ setting whenever the camera is switched off.
The minimum focusing range for this camera is 0.6m, so if you want to take macro shots you have to buy a macro lens attachment. This inexpensive accessory also has a tiny mirror to help you take self-shots. Self-shots can still be achieved without the accessory with a bbit of practice. These are some tips when taking self-shots with two or more people: 1. The person on the left should hold the camera with their left hand as it will be easy to push the shutter button with the thumb. 2. The person on the right should help hold the camera steady. 3. When in doubt, one person can peek through the viewfinder to check if everyone’s in the photo, before joining the group. 4. When in serious doubt, approach a passerby to help. They are usually amused by having to look through a viewfinder (instead of a digital screen) and like to stick around to see how the photograph develops.
During a recent trip to London, I picked up a bunch of mini Sharpies which now go everywhere with my instant camera. It is always fun to decorate the white frames or even draw on the photograph itself when the background it plain. Also, when the film cartridge is empty, remember not to toss it! Just lift the thin sheet of plastic at the bottom of the cartridge, slip in a photograph and there you have it— a Instax Mini photo frame!
Overall, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s is an awesome instant camera which is fun and affordable!
Check out the Instant microsite: http://microsites.lomography.com/instant/