on December 9, 2012
Bought this 3 weeks ago when Amazon had this product as a Lightning Deal on Black Friday (thank you, Amazon!). These cameras are basic point-and-shoot and do exactly as their name suggests -- they're instant cameras. Also, these cameras look very friendly and easy to use. Personally, they remind me of something Nintendo would design.
There will not be much in the box: Just the camera, four AA batteries, the camera strap and documentation.
Please be aware that no film is included--that is a separate / additional cost. These are known to be a dollar per exposure / shot / frame. Packs of film are sold in groups of 10, so a single pack would have 10 shots, and a twin pack would have 20 shots (known to be around 10$ and 20$ respectively). Film is known to be a dollar per shot, which sounds cheap but can quickly get expensive. I got a twin pack for 14$ at Walmart. So, make sure that you ration your film and buy your film in bulk!
- When you load a brand new cartridge of film in, it has a protective layer on it which is what spares us from having to load it in the dark. Once loaded into the camera, switch the camera on and click the shutter button once -- it's going to eject the protective backing. Once this has been discarded, make sure that you DO NOT open the film door. It is now vulnerable to light so make sure it stays shut, or tape it shut, until all your film has been used.
- They have been very considerate in their design to help us keep track of these things. The bigger rounded window on the back which shows the yellow sticker is to let you know that film is present (also the yellow sticker helps align the film cartridge so you know you haven't flipped it around). The second -- and smaller -- rounded window at the bottom lets us know if the protective layer is still on (if you see an "S" it means the protective backing still on). Once you see numbers, it means it's counting down the number of shots you have left, and it's best to keep that door shut until the cartridge of film is empty.
- Don't shake / wave your polaroids in the air although 30 or 40 years ago this used to be a common practice. But the documentation strictly says strictly NOT to. It takes around 30 seconds to a minute and a half for the image to appear on to the polaroid.
- The flash does NOT switch off, no matter which of the 4 exposure settings you use, or how brightly lit your surroundings are--which restricts us from using this in places like art galleries, museums, and any such places that forbid flash photography. However, I think the Instax 210 has a controlled flash with on/off button but I'm not sure if it can be entirely switched off.
- I've heard the battery life can last anywhere between the beginning to the middle of your SECOND pack, so maybe around the 13th to the 16th shot that's taken. I have heard cases where people have managed to squeeze in all 20 shots with just one set of batteries. Also, and this is just a theory -- if you take a lot of photos in dim light, the camera may have to strain to make the flash a little bright to make up for the lack of light, and that could deplete your batteries quicker.
- No auto-idle state, which is another factor of how short your batteries can last if you're not careful. Make sure that you manually turn the camera off by pushing in the lens piece.
- There is also no self-portait mirror which I think would have been perfect in completing the package. It would have been good to know how you're going to look in the polaroid before actually using the film. The Instax Mini 25 and Instax 210 have this feature, along with an additional lens.
- No tripod mount. Also, you will definitely not be able to capture fast-movement onto the polaroid (will be blurry). Also, your photos will look good if the camera is held at arm's length or farther (assuming you are not using a different kind of lens, just the one that the camera already has by default)
- People usually wonder if the camera captures exactly what you see through the viewport, on to the polaroid. It's been in my experience that this is usually the case. Although I heard the higher model (Instax 210) due to its design with the viewport sort of partially sticking out of the camera has known to throw people off.
- The difference between this camera and Polaroid's Instant Camera 300 is that Fujifilm was the original designer of this product and then sold their license to Polaroid to have it rebadged under the Polaroid brand. Size and dimensions are the same, although color options are very different (I like Polaroid's much better). Fujifilm, when it comes to the camera and film, are known to be much cheaper but I have heard that products can be mixed and matched which adds flexiblity and does not constrain us to use only Fujifilm products (I think you can use the Fujifilm film pack for this camera with the Polaroid 300 as well).
- Also, just so you know what your options are for the end product, there are a lot of accessories made for this camera: bags, lenses, polaroid, film templates (overlays to go over your standard white borders thereby adding decorated borders), pre-decorated borders (they come in cartridges of film and you would load this into the camera, and when you take the shot, the polaroid will already have borders on them -- these come in themes like Hello Kitty and Disney and more. These can be a little expensive, around 20 to 25$), and film albums which have transparent sleeves made to the dimensions of the polaroid.
All in all, these cameras are really fun and handy. They're very easy to use -- anybody from your kids to your grandparents can use this. They look friendly and although minimalistic, don't feel cheap. Polaroids are pretty impressive quality, and the ones I've taken were indoors with inferior lighting and they still came out quite nice. Just be sure to shop smart and this camera along with everything it has to offer, will be easy on your wallet.
I'm giving this 4 stars due to the absence of a self-portrait mirror as well as the absence of a tripod stand. I just feel like although an entry-level camera in the Instax line, they should have given us a little more flexiblity.
Also, for anyone who hasn't worked with film or has been a while since they worked with film, here are some tips:
- Film has expiration dates on them, and will be printed right on the box. The expiry window is in terms of a year or so, but make sure that this is one of the very first things you check before putting down your money since you don't want to be stuck with something defunct.
- Don't leave the cartridge of film and polaroid in hot and bright places, like the dashboard of your car (best to store the cartridge of film in dark places). Also, avoid leaving them in wet places as well. Polaroids are notorious for being natural dust magnets and they stain very easily if liquids were to spill on them. These marks will be permanent.
on April 20, 2013
I love Polaroids. Somehow, they have a more special feeling than regular digital cameras today. Even though it's just a wallet sized photo, it's something way more unique. There were also some things I wanted to point out to people who were looking to buy the Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s:
1.) It's off centered. As you can see in the photo of the camera, where you look through and where it takes the picture are in different spots. Therefore, the picture will be off. This is probably the biggest disadvantage of the camera but if you learn to put it to a different angle, the picture will turn out fine. I showed my brother how to and now he's a professional at centering it.
2.) The best places to take pictures are the sunny outdoors or dark indoors (and to use those settings). The picture will come out best that way. If you take a picture indoors even if it's sunny, it will come out shady and gray. If you take it in the dark, the subject will stand out the best. If you take it outdoors, you'll get a lot of detail.
3.) You'll have a lot of sample pictures. Remember that the film is not included but you can get it as a bundle. First couple of shots will be dark, off centered, etc. But, practice makes perfect!
Other than that, it takes really nice and clear pictures. It also has a vintage and retro feel to it!
Hope you enjoy your Instax Mini 7s!
on January 9, 2010
I purchased this camera a few months ago, and I love it. It's fun and easy to use. It is well-designed to fit your hand, and the shape and color give a modern elegance and simplicity to an "old-fashioned" concept. However, it is not a substitute for a digital camera which I also own and use. This is a speciality camera for instant prints.
Read the specs carefully on this product, so that you know what you would be getting if you choose to buy one. The pictures are about the size of a credit card. The camera uses a specific film type of Fuji film that is available on various websites (and probably in stores, although I get mine online so I don't really know about that). It is a little noisy when it shoots a picture, but in my opinion, no more so than the bulky, old-fashioned ones that are no longer available.
I lamented when these types of cameras disappeared from the market, and I am so happy that I have one again. It's swell!
on May 14, 2012
At my work, my co-worker has one of these camera's and I just had to have one. Because my birthday is so close I had to splurge ad get this as a gift to myself. I love this camera!!! Don't expect the size of the camera to be a digital camera size, it's fairly big for a camera nowadays. The picture size that it prints is about credit card size, but the actual photo is just a little smaller than that to fit the actual frame. It's not top of the notch details in the pictures, but it gives a vintage feel. This is really easy to use. Just pull out the lens, set the exposure, and click! presto picture. Many reviews say that you can see your finger in the view finder, but the view finder is no where near the actual lens. Those people need to learn the difference between a VIEW FINDER and the actual picture LENS. Also, keep in mind that the view finder is SLIGHTLY off set because it's to the right a bit, thus the actual picture is shifted to the left SLIGHTLY. It's not a huge difference, but taking a large crowd picture, leave room for everyone to show up. GREAT product!!! If you are thinking of getting one, buy it!!! Let the Polaroid Age live on!!!
on August 25, 2014
Saw this at a wedding, thought it would be fun - it produces cool images that would be fun at parties or other get togethers where people can shoot candid photos. After buying this product and 5x10 photo packs, the unit worked for about two photos and then started displaying three blinking red lights. A bit of Google searching revealed this is a common issue for this camera, indicating 'low batteries' though the manual doesn't help beyond that. Tried several sets of 'fresh' batteries, same problem. Now that the return period has expired through Amazon, I'm forced to deal with Fujifilm's warranty process. So much for summer candids...
on October 6, 2010
I love this camera! Its so much fun and the photo size is perfect for scrapbooking!
However, I did notice that what you see through the view finder does not match what you see in the picture; the view finder is a little off center. For example, when I took a test picture of three of my friends, I aimed the camera so that their heads would fill up the frame with out cropping any of their hair. When the picture was developed, a quarter of my friend's head (the one on the left) was cut off. Does anyone else have the same problem? I'm not sure if this is how the camera is built or if it is defective....