on December 17, 2012
There are a few arguments against instant film in general, and then against the Instax Mini system specifically. While the image quality is better than many so-called 'toy cameras,' you can't go into the instant experience expecting tack-sharp, highly enlargeable results. I shoot film almost exclusively, and I shoot everything from tiny spy Minox cams up to large monorail view cams. Some cameras are methodical tools, requiring the user to iteratively run through series of movements, studying a sheet of ground glass until the image can be recorded perfectly on a sheet of film. And some cameras are just fun to use, full of limitations but full of joy. This is where instant comes in, and Fuji has done a pretty good job with their Instax systems. The other issue is in the divide between the Instax Mini and the Instax Wide. I personally think the Mini is great, even though plenty of people seem to think the images are too small to be practical. My opinion is that the Wide cameras, while producing nice large images, are too large and bulky to be fun. Which, again, is largely the point of instant for me. I use a 50s, which tucks out of the way in a bag pretty handily. So what to do with these card-sized images once you have them?I keep written correspondence with a number of people, and find that they're a great little pack-in for a personal touch. I suppose this was more a review of the system as a whole than of the film, so if you need a review of the film itself, here it is: there's only one emulsion for these cameras, and this is it. This film is useless without the system, and the system is useless without this film, and while there are multiple cameras to choose from, this is all you get for film. If you want a fun little instant system, I highly recommend Instax Mini. And if you take that advice, you're buying this film. I will say, in case it's a dealbreaker, that blues are strong on Instax - the images feel much cooler than Polaroid ever did. If you're looking for the crazy color palette of old Polaroids, you're not going to get it here. This again is a matter, though, of buying for an aesthetic or for the sake of something fun. And Instax is definitely fun.