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.
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:
Now that it’s autumn here in Montreal me and Victor have been trying to hit the road as much as possible before the snow and -40 weather comes. I usually travel light when biking so my Instax camera has become my go to ride along camera since I can simply stuff it into a small bag and it weighs nothing. Today I’m sharing a few shots taken during a few different trips around our area this weekend and last. All taken with my Instax Mini 90 with Instax comic film and Instax Alice in Wonderland film.
The start of the journey to Parc de la Cite-du-Havren on the edge of Vieux-Montreal viewing the Clocktower.The Parc de la Cite-du-Havren has wonderful views of downtown and Vieux-Montreal besides just being a nice green space. There is also a bike path that goes around it so it’s 360 views of the river. It was the first time we’ve been there, on a complete whim too after Victor decided he wanted to check it out.
The above right photo was taken from our walkway of Butter while we were heading out this weekend on another small trip to Parc Lafontaine. I wasn’t sold on the Alice in Wonderland instax film at first but I quiet like it seeing it in person and it’s very suitable for autumn and Halloween.
The below photo wasn’t taken on either of these trips, we went on a ride to Mont-Royal last week as the sun was setting so I didn’t end up taking more photos besides this one of Victor eatting polish sausage from our favourite food truck.
I am sharing photos from my Vancouver trip piece by piece, there is something about summer that makes me never feel the need to relive it a second time…that is until Winter hits and the first snow falls and then all I do is look at photos of better and nicer days and pine away. lol. All the instant photographs today were taken with my Instax Mini 90 camera using Pandora film while me and Victor were on our trip. We really wanted to go camping on Vancouver Island while in town and my friend Brent agreed to drive so we hit the road 2 days into landing in Vancouver. Me and Victor spent the next 6 days camping at various places across the island.
Our second location of the camping trip was Long Beach on the west coast of the island. The sky was blotched out due to the heavy smoke from a forest fire on the north side of the island that happened on the 2nd day of our camping adventure. The lower mainland and the island were having a severe drought so fires are to be expected. We didn’t know until we arrived back to Vancouver that the whole of lower mainland had the same issue with the sky just being a sea of smoke. I remember once having black ash fall from the sky in downtown Vancouver one year after a really bad forest fire which didn’t feel as bizarre to me as this. It’s just what happens when you are in province with so much forest and dry summers. So we didn’t really get a sunny beach while camping but I loved the atmosphere. Below is a double exposure shot of the beach and a few of us hanging out.
Sadly I didn’t get any photos of us wave surfing as a group but we spent most of our day on Long Beach doing that with my friend Zara who joined us there. The water was very cold especially with no sun to warm us up but we had a blast. We also headed down to the beach later that day to watch the sunset together. I hate when I take photos of sunsets with the Instax camera the sun becomes a black dot in the skyline (like the second photo below).
Due to the drought most of BC had a fire ban which all three of us didn’t even think about before heading out camping. Lucky for us we just happened to have packed a gas stove or it might have been a disaster. However at Long Beach they didn’t have a ban on camps fires due to being so close to the ocean. We made the biggest fire we could! It was so nice to cook supper over it (man I love anything cooked over a fire) and I must have spent a good hour roasting marshmallows.
Our 3rd camping location was the beautiful island of Newcastle which is just adjacent to Nanaimo’s downtown harbour. When I was little and lived in Nanaimo my school use to go over to Newcastle to hike all the time and even do group camping. I couldn’t wait to take Victor and show him as I have a fondness of the place. Sadly our friend Brent had to get back to work so he dropped us off so we could hop on the small ferry over to the island. The first night we arrived the sun was just setting so we didn’t do much except setup camp and eat a quick supper but the next morning we made the big plan to walk around the entire island. It was intense and it took 5 hours but being able to view the ocean from the cliff sides and even have lunch dangling my feet over a cliff was well worth it.
Late on our last night of camping my older brother showed up with his girlfriend and we proceeded to show them the coastline of the island. We didn’t get to go very far since me and Victor were exhausted from our own walk but the next morning on our last day we took them up the side of the island that we thought was the most beautiful. Victor and my brother were on the hunt to find the perfect private beach to sit and chill at. We did find in the end after a lot of walking and even scrabbling down the side of rocks, lots of hand hold and finding a path down with the least amount of thorn bushes. All the photos are us hanging out on the secluded beach and enjoy the morning breeze coming off the ocean. Victor even went for a swim at the end to capitalize on our last hour on Newcastle before we headed back to Vancouver.
I am dubbing the follow photos Summer Vibes because all of them are just taken on various times just chillin’ in the last few weeks. All were taken with my Instax Mini 90 using Instax Hamicat film, which is hysterical to me even though I have no fucking clue who Hamicat is (let me know in the comments if you are familiar). I mean the watermelon photo below is just beyond BEYOND cute and strange at the same time. Not to mention the one of Hamicat – a cartoon cat as you can imagine and his mouse buddy just getting drunk (6 one down). This just might be the best Instax film to date, at least to me. Lol. Enjoy my silly summer photos.
We went to Techno Beach as Victor likes to call it (it’s actually called Village Éphémère) this weekend for the first time. The music was not exactly what we expected, I guess they have different types throughout the summer and we went on a salsa, folk music with a beat night. However it was still a pretty nice place to hang out and watch the sunset not to mention just a short bike ride from our house.
I love the food truck night they have at Pie-X. This is Victor chowing down on a bacon sandwich which I am pretty sure used a whole pack of bacon. I can’t believe we didn’t even have food carts a few years ago…well we still kind of don’t as they are usually only operating in the summer months and have specific destinations. So you don’t really spot them too frequently outside of this event and festivals which is too bad since I love trying new food (or just getting sausages from the Polish van – probably the best thing ever is polish sausages).
Sometimes I don’t realize until I finish a roll how much I just shoot Victor, I mean it’s understandable because we are attached at the hip when not working but after a while it’s kind of like….oh another photo of Victor. lol. No, just me? Rambling aside, a fun day at the beach playing my new card game I picked up on Kickstarter called Exploding Kittens (going to do a review of it in September).
Let me know in the comment what you think about this awesome film design?
Anytime you have a film camera the evitable question is how do I organize all my shots after I’ve taken them? Thought I’d do one specifically for organizing Instax mini films today as I’ve already done a ‘How To’ for organizing negatives (here) and plan on doing one for Polaroid film soon. Plus there is a lot you can do with Instax film and it’s great to get creative. Hope you find this information help, and let me know in the comments if you have your own suggestions!
My first tip is the most obvious for organizing, ALBUMS. It’s easy to find albums online and in fact they are pretty affordable but my biggest tip is to buy off of Ebay. Like with any Instax mini accessory I always recommend looking on Ebay because North American just isn’t as into Instax cameras as much as people in Japan, Korea and other countries in China. So unless you live there, it’s the best way to see what they have. What they have that you won’t find anywhere is variety and price. Whether that meas color, patterns and even album material and size (albums for 24 shots, 64 shots, 84 shots, and even over 100+ ). I even have a Little Twin Star album that matches some of the film I have and all of them I bought for around $5 each with free shipping. All the albums I have except the mini album are 64 shots, my favourite being the two faux leather albums. If you don’t like Ebay, Amazon America (Canada’s is terrible still) has been getting way more variety in albums the last few months than they use to, although usually more expensive.
If you want another way to organize/show you Instax film here are 4 ideas that I think can be really fun. The best, and one I love the most is photo walls. Simply use tack, tape, pins or anything really and stick the film on the wall. I’ve made them with other types of film in the past but right now I prefer having artwork on my walls instead, so here are a few awesome Instax walls for reference (here, here, and here). Second idea if you want a bit more structure that will probably be less damaging to your walls use Fotoclips. They are made to be used to any type of film and are great if you are worried about the film curling up. Third is the wall sheet which fits 10 or 20 shots that can be hanged on the wall or used as a curtain. I bought a bunch of them with the idea of making them into curtains but haven’t really used them yet. Check out this photo to see what it’d look like, also useful if you don’t want dirt or dust getting on your photos. The fourth idea is more for protective storage but you can use card protectors which just happen to be the same size of Instax mini film.
My biggest concern when I first got my Instax Mini 90 camera was how the hell do I store the film when I’m out taking shots or while I’m waiting for them to develop. A lot can happen between then and getting home sometimes and you don’t want to ruin that perfect shot you just took before you even have time to share it. My favourite and most reliable way to store Instax film when out of the house is the mini album. The reason why it’s amazing is because it’s tiny enough to fit in most of my purses and camera bags and will not become an inconvenience like a bigger album (belows shot is so you can compare a mini album to a medium sized one). It also means your film will not get bent, and it holds 24 shots which for me mean I can take it for weekend trip like camping and have plenty of room to store all my shots in. Other alternatives can be the photo wall I showed above which is about the same size as the mini album except it’s a tad longer but much skinner; or the card protectors which are great if you are mostly worried about the film getting dirty and want to slip it into a pocket or bags. The only down side to both of them is the film can get bent.
Well storage can be anything, but I love these hipster wooden cases and wanted to share them. I just picked up my own in both styles and can’t wait for them to arrive.
Today I needed a day off, so I’m just going to share with you two Instax Mini photos from me and Victor’s first walk of spring. Yup, it’s finally warm enough to walk around Montreal and I couldn’t be happier about it. This Sunday we decided to enjoy the fresh air and go to my favourite bakery to buy almond croissants and sit in Parc Laurier. The parc btw had no leaves on any of the trees, brown grass and snow patches scattered about and was still packed with every hipster parent and their kids because I think everyone was just so happy. It was nice. Yesterday also marked the first day in over 2 weeks were I haven’t been suffering from symptoms of my concussion, so I’m having a pretty great week all things considered. I’m also a good week behind on the blog because of not being able to really do work for the past 2 weeks so that’s why today’s post is super short. Sorry! I do have a really fun post for tmr about what I’m currently reading. (I love the Little Twin Star Instax Mini film, so adorable)
It’s been forever since my trip to Toronto last month and I’m just getting around to sharing my Instax mini photos from there. Sitting down and spending an hour or two scanning photos is always the part I am least enthused about when it comes to instant photography. However I’m glad I did finally scan these as it was a walk through memory lane last night. I had such a great time hanging out with my friends Derek and Erin. The highlights of the trip beside all the ramen me and Victor consumed was meeting their two brand new kitties and watching them both dj at Detour bar. Most of the photos are from our random walk around Toronto and on Derek’s birthday. My favourite photo outta the bunch is one of Victor with Derek’s best friend Victor, it’s kind of the crazy but they are both obviously Victor’s and both from Chile. So strange. I loved capturing all these shots, can’t wait for my next trip outta town!
Okay, so Christmas was a LONG LONG TIME ago but I find the Instax Christmas mini film you can get to be so charming I just really wanted to share. My tree might still not be packed away either, the decorations have been remove but still hanging out on my floor waiting to go in our outside shed so I might also be wishing it was still the holidays. Most of the photos are just of me, Victor and Butter and our fabulous collection of trees since I was so relaxed on the holiday I didn’t even take my camera out until we had opened all the presents. Butter was in love with sleeping underneath the tree and pouncing out from under it, and curling up between all the presents before being opened and after. She might be in every photo I took of the tree, so try and spot her.
I’ll admit I have primarily been taking photos with my Fujifilm Instax camera this summer. I don’t why but anytime I go to pick up a film camera before leaving the house it’s always instant. I also haven’t been taking as many photographs as I did last summer even though the weather has been wonderful the last few weeks. Although that’s about to change as I’m going on a road trip today to visit a friend in Ontario and then when I get back in town my good friend is visiting from Vancouver. So I may just end up taking an obscene number of photos over the next few days (I hope my friends are ready). Road trips are the best and the worst for me because it’s so exciting being able to take photos of things outside of Montreal and friends who don’t live in town (which is 90% of my friends). The bad side is deciding which cameras to bring. Thankfully for this trip I’m driving up with my friend Zara in her car so I can really pack as many cameras I want and don’t have to worry about lugging them around too much. I’ll be sure to share photos from that trip over the next few weeks. We are hoping to swim in a random lake we find on our way into Peterborough – so that should be an adventure. These photos are from a few week’s ago when me and Zara went to pick blueberries at a farm outside of Montreal. Nom nom…