Despite the fact that I use my digital cameras more often than most, I’m an avid analog lover and really have a thing for analog cameras. My first analog baby was $20 Polaroid 600 instant camera. When I bought it, little did I know that Polaroid already stopped producing film packs for this product line, leaving me with no options to use it. I ended up using it once, after discovering that an old camera store in town had it for $30/ 10-sheet pack. Yup! One single photo costed $3 – A little too much, isn’t it?
After that expensive toy, I own a few more non-instant analog cameras but I couldn’t really stop thinking about those instant guys. They are so fun and different. In just a few minutes, you have the retro-styled photos right there in your hands. They let you create and share photos on the go and, of course, the magic that they add is no where similar to printed digital photos.
I finally decided to purchase a Instax Mini 8+ just before we left for Europe so we could make a travel scrapbook at the end of the trip. Now that we’re back, I thought it’d be cool to share with you my thoughts on this camera, the pros and cons, in case you’re looking to buy one. I’d just share what I think are pros and cons of the camera. If you want to see its features, take a look here.
Note: In case you’re wondering, Instax Mini 8+ has a selfie mirror in the front while Instax Mini 8 doesn’t.
⊳ Cool design with various color options: I personally love the design of this camera line –matte plastic finish with a big lens. Compared to my friend’s previous model, this Mini 8+ is lighter and the shape seems to be rounder. I got mine in white but they have several different colors.
⊳ Easy to use: It takes no time to figure this guy out. Even if you’ve used a similar camera before, I’d say it doesn’t hurt to skim through the short manual, just in case there’re some tips and tricks. There’s no autofocus; you just hit the button in the front to pop the collapsible lens out, point and press the shutter button. One awesome thing is that this camera is totally kid friendly. If you’d love to find a cool toy for your kids, this will be a great present. It’s actually something I use to make friends with the little guys and they always want more!
⊳ Convenient selfie mirror: This one particularly applies to Mini 8+. It has a little selfie mirror in the front to help you see your framing, which is really helpful when you travel and don’t have anyone to take pictures for you.
⊳ Good size photos: This camera produces credit card-sized photos and they fit the spot in your wallet nicely. It’s great to keep a picture of you and your loved ones there. Also, the film has a white border surrounded it and you can write on that space – what I love about Polaroid!
⊳ Decent price: Usually costs around $70, the Mini Instax 8+ is a good buy. Other options are around $130+.
⊳ Films are fairly expensive: A single 10-sheet pack can cost around $10 but it’s cheaper if you buy twin or value set. When you own one of these cameras, you probably don’t want to go all excited and take too many photos. All analog cameras are the same in this aspect – they make you think twice before you snap a pic.
⊳ Short shooting range: You do want to get up close to this camera since its shooting range is only 0.6m to 2.7m. It might be a typical range for instant camera but I still hope it could be improved.
⊳ Mixed photo results: From my experience with this Mini 8+ after 2 months, I think it’ll take a bit of practice to get the photos right regardless of its simplicity. Even though the exposure level will be automatically adjusted by the camera, it can often be wrong. When you get exposure right, the photos are very detailed and they’ll have a soft color effect –the retro, Polaroid look. But if you get it wrong, the color can look off or the photo will be blown out (in harsh light condition).
⊳ Easily scratched and stained: The matte finish of this camera is much loved but at the same time, it’s quite easy to be scratched and get dirty. Be careful when you throw the camera into your bag. You can either purchase a cover for it or use something soft to wrap it first. The brighter the color of your camera, the more you’ll need to take care of it. I would definitely go for black if I could exchange mine.
Should you buy Fujifilm Mini Instax 8+? If you want a change from the megapixels and try out something different, I would say the Mini Instax series is a lot of fun to play with. It’s easy to use and that means you can let your kids get all creative with it. Also, the retro-styled photos can be a gift to your friends (snap 2 pictures and give them one to keep!) or decorations at home. The sheets are pricey but you can keep them for special occasions. Overall, I think this guy is a decent camera to own and a good buy for $70.
Hope these info can give you some input in your search for an instant camera and if you have other helpful tips, do share in the comment below!