In January I bought myself this camera. It is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Camera. I'd always wanted an instant camera- in such a digital age, it's so easy to take a thousand photos, and so easy to loose them all. I had always loved flicking through my family's photo albums as a girl, and I wanted to make sure I could give that experience to any future family I may have too.
In recent years, Fujifilm have released a range of instant cameras. Until then, it was incredibly difficult to re-live the years of polaroid film, and with more and more manufacturers discontinuing their film from the 80s, it was an expensive world to casually enter.
I browsed around for the best place to buy. Many places offer cameras with a film bundle, so it was difficult to discern the best deal. I saw places like Urban Outfitters selling them for as much as £100, and many other stores selling bundles for £80 and more. I eventually settled on eBay seller electronics-deal.
My camera cost £68.49, with free shipping and 50 shots. These polaroid film shots generally average at £1 per shot, so my camera really cost only £11.50!
The Instax Mini 8 is available in a wide variety of colours, including some special edition versions. There are the five basic colours: white, black, yellow, blue, and pink. I've seen varieties featuring Kumamon, Winnie the Pooh, Little Twin Stars, and more. I chose the basic Pink version.
- Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
- Lens Aperture: f/12.7
- Focal Length: 60 mm
- Min Focus Range: 23.6 in
- Shooting Range: 2 ft - 9 ft
- Shutter Control: electronic
- Shooting Modes: full auto
- Film Advance: automatic
- Camera Flash: built-in flash
- Flash Modes: auto mode
- Batteries: 2 AA
- Features: auto power off
- Viewfinder: real-image
- Magnification: 0.37x
The camera functions are extremely basic- it is a point and shoot to the very root of the term. The camera is auto-focus, and the flash will fire for every shot. You can see the viewfinder on the top-left of the image; instead of an SLR viewfinder, where the viewfinder will show you an accurate depiction of the photo you will take, this viewfinder is only an approximation of the photo you will take. It is a wise idea to position your photos a little down and to the left before you release the shutter in order to take the photograph you see in the viewfinder.
From the back view of the camera body, we can see where we load and unload film. The instructions to load film are very simply marked on each packet, and it would be a waste of my currently loaded film to show you, so you will have to experience the process for yourself when the time comes!
You can see the shot countdown on the right hand side of the back of the camera. The film automatically rolls onto the next. You can have a maximum of 10 shots loaded at a time.
The image on the left displays the battery slot- the camera takes two AA batteries. On the right, you can see the camera strap, which was included with the camera. The above vies shows the slot from where your images will emerge!
While the camera is automatic, there are four options which you can adjust your image with. When you power on the camera, the camera will detect your light settings, and illuminate the light setting which it recommends. You can override this, and select a different setting to produce a lighter or darker photograph. Hi-Key mode will produce brighter images in all settings.
The correct film for the Instax Mini 8 is this credit-card sized photo version. It can be used in any of the Instax models which use credit-card sized photo film. It averages at £1 per shot, however it can be bought for cheaper, especially in bulk. It is easy to load into the camera and use. It is advised that when travelling, the film should not be exposed to an x-ray.
I have heard horror stories of people leaving their film in their checked-in luggage, only for it to all be blanked when the time comes to use it. With film being fairly expensive, this is a real worry for instax owners! From my experience, I have placed my camera, any film, and the packaging which states the x-ray damage risk in a separate bag inside my hand luggage, and asked the staff at security to hand-check the bag as is a polaroid camera with old-fashioned film, and the x-rays can damage it.
They usually check and swab it, and give it back to me. I've not had any problems doing this, and have flown with my instax about 6 times so far, but I have heard of people who have been refused and had to put it through the x-ray anyway.
I purchased this camera case from taobao. It's available in all the basic instax colours, however I chose the pink version, to match my camera. It is a snug fit, and the inside is lined with a soft fabric. The flap is detachable, and can be removed by the press studs on the back. It fastens down to the bottom of the camera with a small magnet. It also comes with a detachable strap. It makes using the camera a little difficult, as you must awkwardly hold the flap back when you shoot, but it's worth it to protect the body.
I also purchased this miniature photo album to store my photos in. It's very practical and available in an array of colours. The front cover actually holds a space for another polaroid photo! When I fill up my album, I'll decide on the title of the album, and take a creative photo of the title written with pasta or something like that.
It has a blue-checked interior, and each page is double sided, and holds four photographs. Because the photos are credit card sized, you can also store important business cards inside the album too! The album stores up to 64 photos, excluding the cover slot.
You can purchase many more accessories for your camera. An example of the things you can buy: A lens mirror to aid taking selfies, pens to decorate your photos, different coloured and patterned films, borders for your film, stickers for your film, hard-shell casing, and more.
As you can see, the focussing of the photos is not wonderful. The flash can easily overexpose your photo. The viewfinder makes it easy to poorly frame your photo. The prints are incomparable to the perfection which we can achieve from our DSLR cameras, or even our mobile phone shots. However, the payoff of instant print is like no other. No matter how many filters, frames or effects you apply to your digital photos, you will never be able to recreate the effect given by instant photos.
Instant print photos are precious- you get 10 in a pack, and each photo costs around £1. Each subject is a memory you decided was worth keeping. There's only one copy of this photo. It's a relaxing and refreshing feeling in the digital age. This camera is absolutely the best thing I've bought in a long time. The photo quality may be imperfect, but my polaroid photos are my treasures. I've felt that my photos were slipping away for a long time- I have hard drives full of photos which I can't bring myself to sort through for the sheer amount there are. Sometimes, less is more. I would really recommend this camera for anybody who has experienced the same feeling. They're fun, cute, and a really nice keepsake to look at over and over again.
I actually own the Polaroid PoGo Mini Printer, which I will review at some point, but I will tell you now- this camera I prefer!