I’ve spent much of 2018 looking for the perfect instant camera - and so have made a metric f$$kton of instant photos. Here are some shots…and some thoughts. This all started because I fell out of love with my Lomography Instant Automat Glass (read about it here) - I loved the images it produced by the light leak (which I originally thought was flare) ended up doing my head in.
I returned it…which may not have been a good choice.
Camera One - Fuji Instax Mini 90S
I’ve actually had the little Fuji for a while, and I like it a lot in some ways. Its small, easy to carry and use and has a decent battery (that is rechargeable). Being made by Fuji, the exposure tends to be OK (more on this issue later) but the lens is just a bit crap - it’s plasticky and too soft for my taste. If you want an expensive version of this, they’re available with a red dot - apparently with many differences.
Camera Two - Mint TL70
Oh how I wanted to love this camera - it should be amazing and it is fun to use…but it has one fatal flaw. The shutter speed just cannot deal with the high ISO of Instax Mini Film. This means in anything approaching bright light (remember I live in the UK) you need to use ND filters (which cost extra) or you’re images will burn out. Instax film has very little exposure latitude so this is really not a good thing. Additionally, the camera doesn’t have TTL metering so you have to fiddle…a lot. I want my instant cameras to be…well…instant (and I do know many people who get great results with this camera).
It was off to the great Ebay in the sky for this one.
Camera Three - Lomography Instant Square
Ooooh - this is a little more like it. I had some reservations at first, build quality is not great (and indeed - the rear door fell off…but Lomo sent me a replacement…from their bin of broken stuff I think). I am also concerned the bellows won’t last…and the lens cover doesn’t always engage when you close the camera. But, it makes a decent photo in both mixed and bright light.
You can also use filters…which is kind of fun, especially the close-up filter. I like this camera a lot. Ladies and Gentlemen we have a winner.
Camera Four - Jollylook
It’s a cardboard instant camera with a pinhole - moving on.
Camera Five - Mint SLR 670S Noir
I have to tell you, I was really nervous and unsure about this one. I love the SX-70 as a camera, and Mint’s modifications are really great and add to the functionality greatly (such as the ability to use 600 film - which all of these shots are). But, there is the thorny issue of the film. My past experience with Impossible Project film has really not been good. At least one failure per pack, horrible tones, smeary chemicals etc.
Now though, I think I might be in love. They finally seem to have nailed the film. Yes, its still a bit odd in places, and the black and white isn’t really black and white…but look at that colour. The tones are just immense IMHO, I am converted.
I may not be able to focus for shit…or perhaps I am a little wobbly at low shutter speeds…but even the technically imperfect shots have a certain je ne sais quoi about them.
I think we have another winner…and on that bombshell, here endeth this post (with apologies for the shitty scanning).
See you in a few months (past performance being a likely indicator of future post frequency).