If you know me, or have ever been around me at an event or holiday, you’ll know one thing about me: I love the Fujifilm Instax Mini camera. I received my first one, the Instax Mini 7s, on my 19th birthday, shortly after me and my fiancé got together, and it’s been a constant in my life ever since. From trips abroad, to moving house, to big family Christmases at home, to weddings, it’s always with me. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s my favourite camera (...sorry, Canon 6D!). In fact, it’s been so well-used that its once-bright white finish is now a murky grey colour, covered in smudges and muck from its many adventures.
There are a lot of things I love about this camera, but I can summarise it in one word: memories. Unlike photos on a digital camera or a phone, the Instax gives you a physical memento of an occasion; a small, wallet-sized print that you can keep with you forever. It’s the perfect combination of old and new. 35mm and medium-format cameras from yesteryear had a very physical process, in which you load the film, expose the images onto the film, get the film developed, and are left with both negatives and prints. With new digital cameras and phones, you have speed, and an instant result, as well as the option to try again and again to get the perfect shot.
An Instax gives you both the physical print and the speed. And that is what I love about it. I have a box in my office that is filled to the point of overflowing with Instax prints, and there’s nothing I like more on a lazy afternoon than going through them and reminiscing. There are some blue-tacked to my wall, and I also have a little album that I used a couple of years ago.
There are bad points, of course. It can be tricky, at least on my 6-year-old 7s, to get the focus just right. The images can often be blown out, or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, too dark. The background is often not correctly exposed. And if you photograph something reflective, the super-bright area will turn negative and result in a little black spot in your image. Also, the film is quite expensive, often costing around £15 just for 20 shots. But I don’t care. Despite all its imperfections, this camera is always by my side.
I went to London over New Year’s, and one of my friends had the new Instax Mini 8. It looked so different from mine, and had a lot of improvements over my version, so when I got home I decided to look into getting a newer one. It just so happened that I’d just received £75 in vouchers as a Christmas bonus from work, which were redeemable at a variety of places including Argos. So I went online, did some research, and decided to go for the Instax Mini 70. I went and picked it up on Friday, in the snow, and am so, so happy that I did.
The Instax Mini 70 is way more compact and lightweight than the 7s, and indescribably better. For one thing, it has a selfie mode – and a built in selfie mirror so that you can accurately frame your shot. That was always one problem with the 7s: not only was it difficult trying to line up the shot when I had no idea whether the lens was pointing at my face, but it also struggled with getting focus on such a close-up subject. The 70 also has automatic exposure control, so there’ll be no more blown-out photographs or dark backgrounds.
Other features include hi-key mode for if you specifically want blown-out pictures, macro mode for shooting close-ups, a tripod socket for mounting it and keeping it stable, and a fill-in flash to combat pesky shadows. Finally – and this feature is just awesome – it has a self-timer mode.
I haven’t taken any photographs using it yet, but as soon as I do I will be uploading them.
Do you have a Fuji Instax camera? What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below.