There was a whole lot of analogue when I was growing up; from cassette tapes to videos and right through to the 90s classic that everyone had: the Polaroid camera.
At the time when I was young, I didn’t fully appreciate the fun of the Polaroid, but hung to the camera regardless as it was a really lovely ‘thing’ to have. Over 7 house moves later and I’ve still got it; purely because I’m still in love with the idea of instant photography.
We live in a world now where it’s all pixels and screens and nothing seems to be physical; something you can keep and treasure and look after. One click and your whole photography back catalogue from 2009 (or whenever we all swapped from Myspace to Facebook) is lost in an instant. And it scares me.
In 2009/2010, Polaroid discontinued the 600 film, the very film that we all recognise as the ‘square photo with white border’. To keep the film going and to keep us all ‘shaking like a Polaroid picture’ (which by the way doesn’t speed up the development time), the company The Impossible Project bought the rights to the photography. But here’s the crux: it just isn’t the same.
After nearly 5 years, the photos are still well below the quality Polaroid produced. Colours aren’t vivid and the results are sketchy and there is no science or experimentation that will lead to a fail safe formula; or even anything close. Plus, the film has shot up in price to over £1 per photo and with such wildly varying results, I can’t really afford to keep it up.
And with that, I started searching for an alternative!
This summer I saw quite a few bloggers had been gifted/sponsored to take the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 to concerts, festivals and on their summer holidays. The photos seemed brighter, clearer and the film seemed a lot easier to obtain. After a few months chewing it over, I decided to invest in a pretty yellow Instax Mini 8 of my very own!
To cut straight to the point, these are the positives:
- Film is easy to load – easy as popping batteries into a remote control
- Film is cheaper than Polaroid and easier to obtain
- Shots have the aesthetic appeal; the white border lives on!
- Glossy, high quality little prints
- There is a flash! With adjustable light settings!
- The detail is a lot more refined that the 90’s Polaroid
- There is no bleeding on the borderline
- Lighter and smaller than the old Polaroids
However, there are a few negatives:
- Film is still pricier than it’s 35mm cousin
- Focus is sketchy and needs a bit of learning/experimentation
- It takes 2 AA batteries
- Night photos are terrible – the flash gives short range on getting your subject ‘papped’
In short, I would recommend you steer clear of nostalgia for your old Polaroid and hop on the Instax bandwagon! It’s fun, lighter than the old Polaroids and the film seems a lot more reliable. Obviously as with all instant photography, these shots can be a little pricey, but it’s a good buy for good times.
You can post 50 photos on Facebook, but the one you’ll keep and treasure is definitely going to be the one you take with your new Instax.
I bought mine here > CLICK LINK TO BUY