For Christmas this year I ended up making my friend a personalized Fujifilm Instax Kit to go with her new Instax Mini 8 camera. Inside included a bunch of essentials for starting out with an Instax like film, a carrying case and more. This kit is useful for beginners to Instax or even someone who has had it for a long time as these types of things are useful regardless. Now you can buy premade kits from Amazon which are of great saving but sometimes it’s hard to find every element you want and have a fully customized kit but they are worth having a look at. I ended up buying one medium sized kit and keeping some of it for myself and buying additional elements to it to customize it fully for my friend. Below is each piece I thought was worth adding and links on where to find it individually.
I have a massive amount of Polaroids and over the years I’ve discovered a few ways for organizing and storing them so I thought I’d share. As the film is no longer common these days there is not a lot products available for storing the film and in fact almost all of my organizers were not intended to be used for Polaroid film. A big distinction I want to mention is when I say Polaroids I am referring to pack film whether it’s Polaroid pack film or the Fujifilm FP-3000B or FP-100C variety (which is still made) and not the other types of Polaroid film. I’ll also be giving tips on how to store your negatives for pack film, if like me you like to keep them instead of throwing them away.
Organize Your Polaroid Film
I use every one of these to store and organize my film and negatives at home and when I am out shooting with my vintage Polaroid cameras. Below I break them down in seperate categories of what they are best for and where to find them.
Practical & On the Go
To be honest this is 90% of what I use for my storage, it’s not the best looking solution but it functions perfectly and for someone who takes a lot of instant photographs it’s very easy to manage and affordable. These are Print File Archival Negative Pages ($10 for 25 pages) which I just put inside a normal 3 ring binder. If you are just storing the film you can put several in each 4×5 pocket because the pack film is actually smaller than the pockets, which also makes for easy removal. If you want use the pages for display you can fit 8 pieces of film on one page using the front and back side. The clear plastic makes it easy to see and no PVC means its great long term storage. I also use these pages, minus the binder when I am outside shooting. I simply bring along as many pages as I need and slip into my bag. The pages fold up easily so you can get it down to the size of just 1 pocket making it easy to bring along. After I’m done taking a photo on my camera I’ll wait for the film to dry and slip it inside one of the pockets. This makes sure my film stays free of dirt, does not touch anything else, and if it isn’t completely dry the worst it will do is stick to the plastic which in my case has never wrecked the film as you can effortlessly peel them apart. Two things to note when using these pages while on the go is that they will collect dirt over time so you will need to replace them after a while and the pages will not prevent the film bending so you want to make sure you are putting these somewhere flat. In my camera bag I put the pages in between the cushion and the outside part of my bag, folded up together, haven’t had a issue with bent photos yet.
The classic way or decorative way for storage is a photo album. You can use modern albums or vintage like I have here in the above shot. Vintage Polaroid photo albums are easy to find online and thrift shopping. I picked up this cute 70s album on Etsy for $10 (examples here) and two plain leather ones for a few dollars locally. They provide affordable storage and very charming at the same time. Keep in mind though that Polaroid film comes in many different sizes, for pack film the perfect album has pockets sized 3 ½ x 4 ¼. Most vintage albums will be this size or large on average so if you don’t mind a bit of extra room there isn’t many that will not work, just avoid square shaped pockets as they are not for pack film and likely too small. You can see in the photo above these vintage albums are great as well for holding smaller vintage photography! Modern albums are made for 4×6 film so technically pack film will fit but I prefer the two above options more. For photography portfolios however I like using Portfolio Nobel albums which come in all different sizes, the smallest being 4×6 or 5×7, I simply use photo corners to keep the Polaroids centered.
When I am out taking photos with my Polaroid I always like to keep the negative side whether I am shooting in black and white or color. So to make sure I can carefully carry back all negatives home I use a simple plastic sheet protector that you can get cheap from any office supplies store, or Dollar store. It can be folded up neatly in any bag before use and doesn’t take up any space at all. Once it has negatives in it what it does is protect my bag and camera equipment from getting any of emulsions and developing goo on them, and only takes up as much room as the negatives. The sheet protector is also long enough to fit the whole back side of the Polaroid including the negative and the paper tab without trimming. This is really important especially if you are shooting and don’t have the time, or the ability to let the negatives dry completely. I normally don’t putting them in completely wet but I have, even with two negatives at once facing away from each other and not had an issue. They will stick to the plastic and stay a little moist but if you must…it’s a great way to get them home. The plastic protector will get dirty with the chemicals after several uses but you can wash it or throw away if it’s too far gone.
Once I am home I like to store the pre-negatives in a plastic container until I have a chance to clean and turn them into proper negatives (only with color pack film – black and white you can scan right away). I picked up this plastic storage container made for 4×6 photography from an art store for a few dollars, it fits the negatives perfectly without me needing to trim the sides or tab. It can sometimes take a few months for me to process them so it’s nice to have a large container to store them in the meantime. You can also use this for storing the film while out shooting but it takes up a larger area, however it’s great for a long vacation when you want to store film in your suitcase. For storing the negatives after processing them, I use the same Print File pages again and store in a binder. I’ve actually wanted to do a tutorial on how to make the back side of pack film into negatives for over a year and never get around to putting all my thoughts together but if you interested and don’t currently do this with yours here one video and another as a guide.
I hope this was helpful! I know when I first started shooting with vintage Polaroid cameras I had no idea how to organize them or store them safely when I was shooting. One time I put my film in-between the pages of my camera manual thinking the film was completely dried and ended up ripping out two pages of the manual as the pages got stuck to the emulsion. Wrecking my vintage manual for the camera and the photo almost entirely, since then I have never trusted pack film to ever be dry no matter how dry it feels. With these organizers I’m really happy with my the safety of my film when I’m shooting and know it’ll get home fine, not to metion how easy it is to find a photo I need in my big binder. If you have any questions about this ask below and please share any tips or suggestions you have!
The Instax Mini 90 by Fujifilm is the newest camera in their credit card sized instant photography range. The Mini 90 is a follow up to the almost forgotten Instax Mini 50 series. What separates the Mini 90 and 50s before it from the colorful Instax 7(s) and 8 is the ability to customize your shot with advance settings while still being point and shoot. Included on the camera are multiple flash settings, basic lighting options, more shooting modes, a timer, and a tripod socket. New to this version alone however are the bulb and double exposure mode and a rechargeable battery which makes this camera the best they come up with for mini instant photography. The 90 also give offers instead of the bright colors and oddly shaped body of the 7 & 8’s a plastic and leather combination that holds and feels more like a camera (a design they’ve termed Neo Classic). Shoot modes include: Standard, Marco, Party, Kids, Landscape, Double Exposure and Bulb with 4 lighting modes of Normal, Light, Lighter, and Dark. As well you have Flash modes: automatic, forced firing, suppressed, and red eye reduction with option to turn on a self-timer for 1 or two shots.
Now for example photos and my review, you can also check out my Instax Film Guide.
At the time I bought it last summer I was really wondering if it was worth it, especially as I really had my eye on the old Mini 50S in piano finish which was the same price as the Mini 8 and had almost identical features to the Mini 90 besides being the older model. However if shoot often with instant film and enjoy having a new camera with accessibility to film – this camera will make you much happier than its contemporaries. Before I start reviewing and dissecting the Instax Mini 90, I want to state that I emphatically believe that it is the best camera option for mini instant film, even beyond the range of Fujifilm’s own cameras (hello Lomo’Instant) and the price is worth it. The only opposition to buying it over the others is personal preference for how it looks , not wanting to buy the higher price point (I bought mine for $60 more than the Instax Mini 8 but slightly cheaper than the Lomo’Instant) and the biggest one, no accessories (additional lens types and colourful cases). Like with any Instax film camera there is plenty of faults you can find with all of them including manual options, ability to use in all situation, and the viewfinder in name a few. If you want my opinion the best instant camera would be a vintage Polaroid camera compatible with current FujifilmFP100-C film but we are talking about cameras that use mini Instax film so I will digress. In my experience the Instax Mini 90 is the strongest out of them all and there is no element to it that is weaker or inferior to any other model when it comes to its technology.
The modes works well and allow you to use the camera in almost any situation. My favourite modes are the Party, Landscape and standard which I use constantly and get great results. My least favourite is Macro which I’ve never successful gotten a clear shot with despite trying various distance and subject matter. My second least favourite is Multiple Exposure, I know it might be hard to believe that someone who posts bi-weekly double exposures doesn’t enjoy this mode but I don’t. The results it gives me are easily over exposed with little details and I just can’t get behind it. I also not one to do typical multiple exposures so maybe the average person would still love this (I know it’s why I decided to buy the camera in the end). The other modes, Kids and Bulb I never use – I don’t know why I just don’t. One thing I will mention while I’m talking about the modes is the fact that Party and Kids for some reason do not allow you to shoot with no flash on. It infuriates me because unless I’m indoors or its night I mostly shoot with no flash and for them to arbitrarily not allow you, pisses me off especially since I use Party mode a lot. Although it can be said that the Mini 7/8’s don’t even have real modes so my negatives comments you have to take into perspective anything is better than nothing.
The automatic Normal lighting is really good and versatile although it can be tricky as I’ve noticed at certain times in the afternoon you tend you get blue tinted photos for some reason. On bright sunny days when you are not shooting in shadows I recommend Dark as Normal will always be too bright. As for Light it’s good to use when shooting in shadows, but I haven’t had good experience using it in the afternoon as the sun is going down as it tends to make images more blurry and oddly have little contrast. Lighter is useless and blurry and has over exposed all dark situations I’ve used it on. Keep in mind I am referring to shooting by the hand as most people I am assume are not shooting with tripods. The two lighter options would drastically improve if used on a tripod as my biggest concern is the how blurry they are (I haven’t not tried this so I might be wrong). Lastly DON’T point at the sun; you will always get a black hole that ruins the shot.
For the flash modes as I’ve stated I solo try to shoot with the flash off. However I have used it at night and indoor and the default flash and red eye flash work great. It’s powerful and doesn’t wash out too much if things are at a good distance. However you want to make sure your subjects are not too close, I’d say anything an arm reach away (sorry all selfies will be over exposed ghosts). As for Non-flash I love, I do not trust any camera to know when the lighting is okay for flash or not, one reason why the Mini 90 is amazing because you can turn that off. But by default the automatic flash will be on and if you accidently leave it on, or are in the two modes that you can’t turn off the flash it will be a drunk fool and shoot in the middle of a sunny day just because. Automatic flash is the worst thing in any camera, full stop. Another peeve of mine is that I have to reselect the flash mode anytime I change the shooting mode, it’s annoying and it leads to that automatic flash being on when I didn’t realize and blinding someone during the middle of the day.
The viewfinder for me is the most frustrating part of the camera. I feel like I have a better time shooting if I ignored it completely. However when you are spending so much money per shot, it’d be nice to actually be able to frame it and what you see in the viewfinder is never what you’ll get. I’ve even started to try and figure out how to compensate for it and that just ends me up with worse shots. Now I’ve used the other versions and they are worse but I have to point it out because I’d love a true viewfinder and it’s a sour point in all the Instax cameras.
One thing on the camera I cannot fault is the battery. For starts it has a rechargeable battery which I could just stop there as that’s already such an improvement. However not only do you no longer have to buy and carry around replacement batteries that weigh down you and your camera but the battery is amazing. I’ve owned the camera for a year and a half and charged it twice; once when it arrived and again a second time this summer. Now I don’t use the flash that often but it blows my mind that it lasts that long. The camera also has ‘selfie’ mirror on the front which is just the highly reflective shutter button that I didn’t even notice was there (I now no longer wonder why all mine turn out framed so badly). Speaking of things I didn’t notice, there are two shutter buttons on the camera. The top shutter is in the convention shutter button area and the second is on the front acting as the mirror and with the power switch around it – who knew? I use the one on the top exclusively and forgot the other even existed until now. Holding the camera now to test it I don’t know what position I’d be holding the camera in where that button would be more useful and comfortable that the other one. Luckily for me I’ve never accidently used it so it’s still a good design in my books as it’s there for people who want it but it doesn’t get in the way either. Other random features are the back mode screen and the film counter which do their job well. Only thing I can note is the film counter has on occasion told me the incorrect number of film available but that was after the camera was jammed in my bag and took 5 shots of the inside and one other time when I opened the back while having power on the camera. There is also a tripod mount that I have not used but it’s one of those musts and not enough toy cameras have one so I appreciate it. It also came with a very nice, fashionable and long leather neck strap that I love, and you can change it out for any other type of strap like a hand one. It’s also really light which probably in part has to do with not using batteries for power, and being the smallest of Instax camera. The size of it also makes it easy to fit into any of my smaller bags, you can load up with packs of film and still have plenty of room.
10 More Instax Mini 90 Photos:
I absolutely love taking double exposure with vintage Polaroid land cameras, although not always successful it’s really fun to test and see what you can get. I’ve shared these photos before but wanted to reshare them as after a year of taking multiple exposures with instant film these are my personally most successful. I find using trees as one of the shots usually results in an interesting result however putting this post together I realized how often I use them and really want to explore this summer on using more variety. I’d love to do a series of double exposures with graffiti from around Montreal so hopefully I will get a chance to explore that idea more. Man it feels like a really long time since I’ve actually used my Polaroid Colorpack or Super Shot cameras, I really need to pick up more film and get back into shooting. Hope you enjoy the shots.
I took these camping polaroids back in September during a trip to Sandbanks Provincial Parks on the edge of Lake Ontario (I’ve already showed you a few I took at the beach from that trip, here). I was really excited to bring my Polaroid Super Shot on the trip as it gave me an opportunity to use some of my Flashcubes that I’ve been hording. I love using Flashcubes, it’s so amazing that they work after all this time and the results are pretty good. It’s hard to work out the perfect distance especially when its pitch black so the subjects are over exposed in a few shots. When I have the distancing down the results are wonderful however. Most of these were taking the first night we were there when we were cooking over the camp fire, sausages and marshmallows. I love trying to cook the perfect marshmallows so I spent a good amount of time sitting beside the fire taking photos from my seat. We also went for a walk later down to the beach to watch the stars. I didn’t have much film so I didn’t dare try and take a long exposure shots of the stars but there is one of the gang all there and Victor laying on the beach (which he yelled at me about because he said I ruined his star watching experience with the flash – oops). I think in the New Year I’ll do a post about using Flashcubes as they are a big part of vintage photography and really fun. Here are the polaroids:
The first few are from the morning of our second day there during breakfast and the rest of them are from the evening before. The evening ones never really dried properly because of the constant dewiness of the night so some of them the emulsion was smudged which was a shame. I even laid them out at breakfast to dry but they maintain a kind of tackiness regardless. At least I know now that Fujifilm FP-100c and camping are not the best combo unless you have a way of drying the film completely right away.
For this week’s Vintage Tuesday I wanted to share with you some of the instant photos I took while camping a few weeks ago in Ontario. We went to the main beach of the Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County on both days of the trip so we could swim and enjoy the sun. It was a blistering hot day, although the water was still pretty chilly on both days. The cold water didn’t stop me and Victor from enjoying it and spending most of our time swimming. I just had to take photos of Victor in the water because I loved the composition of him with the water around him and the beach in the background. I did take a few landscapes shots of the beach dunes and the park, and the beach itself as well. The beach was so sandy, a big change from what I’m used to. We definitely don’t have beaches this nice in Quebec. All the photos I’m sharing today were taken with my Polaroid Super Shot using Fujifilm FP-100C.
My Fujifilm Instax 90 is turning into my go-to camera anytime I’m going to hang out with friends. I had so much fun last weekend camping and being a beach bum for the last warm weekend of the year. I took with me both my Instax 90 and my vintage Super Shot Polaroid camera and it was surprising how in comparison I enjoyed shooting with the Instax more. I really noticed the difference in using a vintage camera over a modern camera when I was in the middle of cooking bacon over the fire or on a windy sandy beach and didn’t want the hassle. I just love taking a photo with the Instax and tossing it in my bag to dry and peaking at it as it developed, plus the size and weight really makes a difference. The one thing that occurred to me on my trip though that I don’t like about the Instax 90 is how frustrating it is to frame a shot. The viewfinder is not accurate at all. I always feel like I’m adding in the correction as the viewfinder is to the left of the actual lens but my correction seems to only make it worse. Had several shots where they didn’t turn out right because the subject was either half cropped out or completely cropped (example the photo of my delish bacon on a stick, 3rd from bottom). I don’t want to have to frame my subjects to be center frame in every shot so it’d be nice to have a camera that had a proper viewfinder! I should probably do my review for the Instax 90 soon. I’ve used it quite a bit at this point, but there are a few of the ‘scene’ options I haven’t used yet. It was fun shooting in instant film, regardless of camera. It is just so satisfying and that immediacy of instant photography is something I am really enjoying right now. I’ll be showing the shots from the Polaroid next week on Tuesday as well if you want to see the different results.
More summer instant photography taken with my Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 today. I love this camera so much I’ve been using it non-stop since it arrived. I cannot wait to use it more over the next few months and work on my double exposures. This is my last bit of film I took during the summer so it’s a little all over the place. My first double exposure taken with the camera. Sunrise from my front window. From my birthday, the sunrise (again) but this time from the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The second one is also a double exposure.
The rest of the rainbow photos were taken on our first trip in July to the beach in Jean Drapeau parc. We’ve been spending every weekend we could there since, we love it that much. I just love the rainbow film – it’s random but neat.
Remember to let me know in the comments if there is a particular camera you want to see more photos of. I have a few rolls of film from my Disderi Robot 3 camera I got developed recently that I haven’t shared so those will be probably be the next ones!
I finally went to visit my friend Sarah a few weeks ago who has been living in Peterborough, Ontario for the last year or so. I know Sarah from being her room-mate back in Vancouver years ago, and it was actually the first time I had seen her in 5 years which is just crazy. I went up there with Zara as she was both mine and Sarah’s old roommate as well. We all use to live in a house together that Zara’s uncle owned back in the day. Zara and me also decided to stop as this county called Prince Edward that’s along Lake Ontario to swim on the way down. It was so much fun and I’ll have a lot more photos of our trip in a few weeks taken with my digital camera! I love how the instant snaps I took of our road trip with my Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 turned out.
The photo above is a double exposure of the waves and the shore, I love it. Double exposures with the Instax Mini 90 are a bit tricky but I’m still trying them out and seeing what I get. It’s usually a miss but I have some really great sunrise ones that I’ll be sharing for the next ‘Summer in Instant’ that have turned out really well. I just love the shots of Zara, she’s so photogenic. The photos below were taken the day after when we took Sarah to another beach on Lake Ontario for a mini road trip during our visit. We only stayed the night and left the next so I didn’t really get many chances to take photos, especially considering it was raining most of the time but I’m sure I’ll be taking lots next time we visit!
It`s been a long time since I’ve used my Holgaroid, the last time I posted about it was when I did my review (here if you haven`t read) and I finally thought about picking it up again. It`s quiet a frustrating camera but I had some Fuji black and white film laying around and am a bit bored of the Polaroid Colorpack so I thought it`d be nice to try my hand again… every time I use the Holgaroid I feel like I’m wasting film. I remember with the colored Fuji film that it always had to be very sunny and since it was a great day outside on Saturday I thought it’d take it with us on our walk around downtown. The first 6 photos were too over-exposed to even make out what was in them, even in the shade. I waited until it was getting darker and then the shots were underexposed. I’m sure it worked better using the original intended film for it by Polaroid (that isn’t made anymore) however I think this is my last time using the Holgaroid. From my previous negative experiences to my frustrating day today, I think this guy is going back on the shelf. But I thought I’d share the shots that kind of turned out.