You can become an instant hero at any wedding, birthday party, or reunion: just add a Fuji Instax Mini 8 and a couple of packs of Mini Credit Card Film. Now do a snap here and a click there, and start passing around the memories. The flow of these rich vibrant analog prints is bound to amp up any gathering.
Just like during the glory days of instant photography in the late 1970’s with the reign of the awesome Polaroid® SX-70 cameras and film, Fuji is now staking a claim to the total rejuvenation of instant fun. While SX-70 prints created a bit of spontaneous excitement as the image would slowly and magically appear, Polaroid could not withstand the digital deluge that enveloped its business in the early 2000’s. Polaroid’s abandonment of instant photography left Fuji as the sole major commercial supporter of self-developing film/prints.
Eking out a meager existence for the last ten years, Fuji, and more specifically Instax film/prints, is poised to return instant photography to its rightful throne as king of popular party pics.
In this modern context, Instax prints rock. Developing in less than 3 minutes, the 6-x4.5-cm full-color images (BTW, this size is also a very popular medium format film negative size) feature a sizable border for note taking along with a flexible coating that is resistant to minor bends and scrapes along with a tolerance to some light folding. Make an Instax print, jot a name and phone number on it then hand it over. You just made an instant friend.
- Film – Mini Credit Card Film
- Picture Size – 62-x46-mm
- Focus Range – 0.6m – infinity
- Shutter Speed – 1/60
- Exposure Control – Manual + exposure counter
- Flash – always ON; recycle time .2 sec to 6 sec; range 0.6m – 2.7m
- Battery – Two AA (included); capacity roughly 10 packs of film
There are a couple of points to keep in mind before you grab a Mini 8 off the shelf and head to the nearest mud club. The on/off button is both innovative and multi-functional. Just push the half-moon button that sits beside/inside the lens and several things happen: the lens extends, the lens cover retracts, the light meter is activated, and the flash is charged. The Mini 8 is now ready to take a picture.
While this series of all-in-one action is wonderful to behold, it does “expose” two of the Mini 8’s faults: (1) the “automatic” light meter requires you to manually set the proper aperture and (2) taking vertical or portrait photos requires right-eyed lomographers to stick their thumb into their cheek AND scrunch their nose into the camera’s backside film loading door. Ouch! Thankfully, taking horizontal or landscape photos is much more friendly to your face.
Left-eyed photographers will have an easier go of it with portraits, but a thumb in the cheek and scrunched nose are still possible with landscape prints.
The more bothersome fault is remembering to set the proper aperture based on the light meter’s indicator lamp. This problem is due to the lamp’s ability to illuminate four different lighting situations: from sunny outdoors to dark interior shots. It is then your job to rotate the aperture ring to match this indicator lamp setting. Failure to do this and you could end up with a worthless print; typically a washed out full sunshine exterior shot will suffer from this mental lapse.
But there is a workable solution.
Just turn on the Mini 8, point it at your subject, wait for the light meter to select the proper setting, and then rotate the aperture ring to match the lamp’s setting. In less time than it takes to read this minor criticism, you will probably have become suitably accustomed to these nits and will ignore the inconvenience and revel in the beauty of your color instant prints.
Remember, full sunshine days can compromise the beauty of your outdoor prints. In fact, most maximum sunshine day prints seem to suffer from a bit of washout in the highlights and gloomy shadows. Lugging the Mini 8 indoors or using the camera in lower light levels can really pump up the colors and rev up the excitement.
Regardless of the shooting conditions, however, the Fuji Instax Mini 8 can be a real party favor(ite). It’s cute, small, stylish, and capable of instantly recording any mood, event, or subject. But, best of all it captures and prints everything in an instant. So turn back the Lomo time machine dial to 1970 and give your friends a piece of modern film history.