Bought as an alternative to Polaroid on the announcement of the discontinuation of their film range, the Fuji Instax 200 had a lot to live up to as the potential heir to the instant photography throne.
On first appearances, the camera certainly wasn’t petite. It looks more like a toy you’d give a toddler than a serious camera, but not being one to judge a book my it’s cover I donned a bigger bag, put in batteries and film (batteries are needed as Fuji Instax film doesn’t have an inbuilt battery, making it considerably cheaper to buy than Polaroid’s integral film) and took it out to take some photos.
The Instax has a few settings which can be changed via buttons on the side and viewed on a small LCD screen. These settings change the focus range (from 0.9m-3m to 3m-infinity and the flash (which can be set so it is always on, or only on when lighting conditions are too dark, but cannot be turned completely off), as well as the on/off button.
When taking a photograph, the first thing you notice is that unlike Polaroid cameras the camera does not make the familiar click-whirr noise but instead ejects the photo quietly and smoothly. Also, it is important to note that the Fuji Instax film is wide format. The results are surprisingly good, providing clear photographs, with good colour.
As a stand alone camera it is enjoyable to use and provides good results, and will quite possibly become the instant camera of choice for future generations, especially if somewhere starts to stock the Fuji Instax 500AF (very similar to the Instax 200 but with more settings and controls). However, for someone buying this as a replacement for Polaroid 600 film, it is a bigger change than expected, one that will either take a bit of getting used to or will be something that will just never hold the same feelings as Polaroid does.