Instax 210: Add colour with color filters


All cameras have advantages and disadvantages, in case of Fuji Instax 210, its main disadvantage is the electronic flash; but sometimes you can turn a disadvantage into an advantage.

When I bought my Instax 210 I’ve realized that this camera was not so good Indoors and low-light conditions, the powerful flash usually mess up your precious photos. The flash unit is very powerful and it reflects in almost any surface burning all your photos and if you can avoid any mirrored or glossy surfaces you will have to be extra careful with the light conditions, otherwise, you might end up with very dark or completely black photos.
The flash is automatic, you can’t control it and, despite of using 800 ISO Instax film, the flash always fires even in good light conditions for 800 ISO.

Never the less, I love my Instax 210, it´s a great camera for outdoors, it takes beautiful photos to landscapes and sunsets but this flash issue was always banging my head, I really wanted to take good photos indoor in parties and concerts with my friends, that’s when I remembered that I could turn the flash disadvantage into an advantage.

What you will need:

If you already own a Colorsplash Flash Chakra Edition, all you need is:

- Coloured gels.

If you don’t have the Colorsplash Flash Chakra Edition, the material you need is:

- Colour filter sheets in several colours.
- Scissors.

How to assemble:

This is very easy, anyone can do it and without messing up with you camera. Just cut the coloured filter sheets the same size as you Instax flash.

I use my fingers to hold the gel or gel combinations in front of the flash but, if you want, you can build a housing with cardboard and duct tape.

For the housing you will need:

- Cardboard.
- Duct tape.
- Scissors.

How to assemble:

To build the cardboard housing, cut a U shape out of the cardboard, use the Instax flash as a guide; the idea is to make a slot in front of the flash in order to fix the coloured gels without the risk of falling. Use the duct tape to hold the U mask in its place.

For the flash diffuser you will need:

- A white (opaque) empty film canister.
- Scissors or x-acto.

How to assemble:

The flash diffuser won’t fit in your cardboard housing, it is too thick and curved; I use to hold it with my hands. Just cut an rectangle big enough so it can cover the whole flash and with a bit of extra length to allow you to hold it without putting your fingers in front of the flash

Now that it is all done, let’s start the fun.

The process:

The first step was to diffuse a bit the flash light so It didn’t reflect so much, for that I used an empty film canister (the white ones), cut a small rectangle the same size as the flash unit. That will do perfectly to diffuse the flash light but I still had a problem, photos taken with flash were not very colourful, in fact, they were a bit boring, the photos always came out without vivid colours just some shades of blue and the rest of the colours lost a bit of its vivacity.

Photo taken with yellow gel without diffuser, you can see the burned area.

The second (and last) step was to add some more colour and vivacity to my indoors shots, for that I used the Colorsplash flash (Chakra edition) coloured gels and placed them in front of the flash unit and it worked!!! No more boring shots with flash.

Photo taken with light green gel with flash diffuser

You can also add a bit of the x-pro look to your shots: use the green gel to achieve the Provia x-pro look, use the orange/yellow/red gels to get the redscale look, try the light blue/dark blue/purple gels to get the CT precisa/ Elitechrome/ Velvia look, use the pink gel to achieve the Sensia look, your imagination is the limit.

Photo taken with blue gel with diffuser.

Now I can use my Instax 210 camera and everywhere I go I always carry the coloured gels, diffuser and close up lens with me when I go out with my friends at night and its guaranteed fun.
You can use this tip to do lots of things: bad weather outside? It rains; it’s cold and still feels the need to take some shots? Place the coloured gels, place the close up lens and choose your subject, it may be your Girlfriend/Boyfriends (or not :)) or a lamp, a small statue, again, your imagination is the limit. Try this tipster and make it better, you won’t regret.


- Choose your gels colours wisely, usually the purple filter produces very dark photos when the light conditions are very low, I advise you to use lighter filters for very low-light conditions and darker gels for good light conditions.

Photo taken with purple gel without flash diffuser.

- The flash diffuser will steal some flash range; use it only when you want a dark background or if there are mirrored surfaces. If you want to capture part of the background or if there aren’t mirrored surfaces, don’t use the flash diffuser.
- Use coloured gels combinations in order to achieve the colour you want, sometimes, when you use a red filter, the pictures turn out almost pink, if you want to enhance the red colour, use a combination of purple and orange gel.
- Usually I use the close up lens to get the most out of the colour gels but be very careful, it is very easy to lose the notion of the distances when you are composing your shots looking in the viewfinder, keep in mind the close-up lens distance range so you don’t get defocused or blurry shots.

Blurry shot with close up lens without colour gel and without diffuser.

- At long distances, the colour tends to dissipate, losing its vivacity; if you want vivid colours, attach your close up lens and get close.

Shot taken with green gel without diffuser, the distance made the green fade a bit.

- Pay attention to the parallax error, at close range the error is huge; if you don’t want to cut some heads off you must watch your close up lens parallax guide.

written by zulupt on 2011-06-17 #gear #tutorials #instax #camera #filters #colour #wide #chakra-edition #tipster #diffuser #colorsplash #flash #210


  1. pinkpix
    pinkpix ·

    So simple, why didn't they make the camera like this in the first place? Great idea!

  2. sharksuke
    sharksuke ·

    this is the great tips..
    thanx for sharing..

  3. gborin
    gborin ·

    Great tips, too bad i sold my colorsplash flash.....

    I really like this camera, but indoor pics are always blown by the flash. Maybe there's a way to bounce the flash upwards with a reflective surface, I'll try this...

  4. lauraajayde
    lauraajayde ·

    Awesome, I've made some flash gels from acetate :)
    What close up lens do you have? Do you know of its compatible with the instax 200 camera?

  5. sharon-zohar
    sharon-zohar ·

    ahh i've had my instax 210 for a bit over a year now and the auto flash has bothered me so much since i've got a bunch of glossy surfaces at home (and a lot of friends with glasses) thanks so much for this!
    Do you think the flash diffuser would be effective without any gels? or do the gels do something necessary to it?

  6. zulupt
    zulupt ·

    Thanks @SHARON-ZOHAR :)
    The flash diffuser is enough to block the excessive flash light, it might darken a bit your photos but I guess you have to try and see if that sorts your problem. You might try different material for your diffuser like vegetal paper or other material you came up with, as long as it blocks some of the flash light. The gels are not necessary unless you want to add some colors to your shots :)

  7. zotaylor
    zotaylor ·

    Thanks for “housing “ idea. Very helpful!

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