Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Review

fujifilm-instax-mini-90Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Review

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.

Portraitinstax mini toronto (10)

Self-Portraithamicat instax mini film (1)

Catsinstax mini toronto (12)

Group Shotinstax mini toronto (2)

Landscapelomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (15)

Still Life
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Double Exposure
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Motionfuji-instax-mini-lake-ontario

Macromacro fail(I have not good example macro shots because they are all fails)

Sunnyspring instax mini film (14)

Cloudyfuji instax mini film lake ontario (3)

Duskhamicat instax mini film (9)

Sunrise/Sunsetfujifilm instax mini film

Direct Sunfall in instax film (5)

Shadefall in instax (2)

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Flashhalloween instax mini film (5)

Review

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.

Modes

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.

Lighting

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.

Flash

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.

Normal mode – flash went of automatically fall in instax flash

No Flashfall in instax film (4)

Viewfinder

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.

Other Features

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:

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Lomography Wednesday: Holga Cat Camera

The Holga K205 camera that I simply like to call the Holga Cat camera is a standard automatic 35mm camera except it comes with lighting effects and most importantly – a cat sound. Not to be confused with the K202 addition which has a white body and comes in a cat tin (the main difference is the white version plays 5 different cat sounds as the orange version just plays 1 and doesn’t come in a tin). This camera was actually a present to my friend Ana years and years ago but she recently regifted the camera to me because she had only used it once and I really wanted to add it into my lomography camera collection (still available on Ebay btw, but the white version which I was holding out for has been impossible to find for years). The camera although intended to make it easier to grab any cats attention so you can capture all your cat photography doesn’t necessary work on that side of things with my cat but it’s still a good classic 35mm camera that will give you photos reminiscent of the 90s. I haven’t taken photos with it yet and might never as it’s really just a gimmick camera however I did test it out with Butter so you can see the video below.

holga cat camera (2)holga cat camera (1)(Butter and her camera)

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Lomography Wednesday: Camping & Long Beach

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (15)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.

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (11)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.

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (12) lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (5)lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (13)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).

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (6) lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (14)lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (10)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.

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (7)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.

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (2)

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.

lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (8) lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (9)lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (4)lomography instax mini film camping vancouver island long beach (3)I am surprised I didn’t take more photos on our 6 day trip camping but I love the ones I did and have a few more from the whole trip which maybe I’ll share in a few weeks’ time.

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Lomography Wednesday: Toronto in Instax Mini

instax mini toronto (4)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!

instax mini toronto (13)instax mini toronto (17)instax mini toronto (16) instax mini toronto (10) instax mini toronto (12) instax mini toronto (9) instax mini toronto (15) instax mini toronto (11)instax mini toronto (5)instax mini toronto (1)instax mini torontoinstax mini toronto (3)instax mini toronto (6)instax mini toronto (7)instax mini toronto (4)instax mini toronto (2)instax mini toronto (3)I’m loving the cute fun film from Japan for my Instax Mini 90 – can’t wait to grab more for Spring.

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Lomography Wednesday: Instax Christmas

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.

fujifilm instax mini chritmas (2) fujifilm instax mini chritmas (6) fujifilm instax mini chritmas (1)fujifilm instax mini chritmas (4)

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Lomography Projects & Goals for 2015.

For the 2nd year in a row I thought I’d start off the year with a few lomography projects & goals in mind that I’d like to complete by the end of 2015. Now last year’s two projects were….how do I say this…complete failures? That sounds about right. The 100 Strangers project is actually an amazing idea and I’d love to do it again at some point but I think my overall shyness is something I still need to work on as my first rejection made me too gun-shy to continue. I think for now I will leave that project to others as I don’t feel able to commit to trying again (maybe also not a good project to start in the dead of winter, it’s -30 outside…)  As for my People & Places project, well I didn’t really even attempt to do it as I decided mid-year to have a sort of vacation from film in 2014. However despite last year failures this year I thought I’d setup a few more goals then projects to encourage me and rekindle my spirit for lomography and film photography.

Project 1:  People & Places

Shoot double exposures of People & Places using film. This is my big project for the year and I am hoping to shoot at least 2 rolls of film for it. Now that seems like a small amount but considering it will require me to take over 72 photos of landscapes/cityscapes and then shoot the film again taking 72 portraits, 2 rolls is not an easy task. Especially since I want to make sure I have a wide variety of subject matter. I am so excited by the way, this year I feel confident I can make this project a reality. I was also thinking about sending film to a friend in Mexico that loves lomography cameras as well to see if she could collaborate with me on this project. For more information about what People & Places is check out my original post about it.

Goal 1: Home develop half of my backlog of film

I have a huge backlog of film that hasn’t been developed yet (some of it is several years old).  Most of the cameras I shoot on are not a format supported by cheap developing shops and I’d rather not have to sell a kidney to pay for more expensive development places. I’ve also had issues getting quality development here in Montreal in the past.  This dilemma of sorts has led to me having over 30 rolls of 120 and 35 films just sitting in my fridge waiting to be developed. I’d love to process at least 10 rolls by the start of the summer and by the end of the year to have halved my backlog and maybe complete it (that`s a bit too ambitious but half I feel is reasonable).

Goal 2: Teach myself to develop colored film

Did I mention that most of my backlog is colored film that I don’t know even know how to develop? Yup, so I guess I need to do this first before my first goal can be achieved. It’s supposed to be trickier than black and white as the temperature of the chemicals has to be more precise. I’ve developed about 10 rolls of black and white film  so I feel confident to try it out and already have the chemicals to do so. This is also time sensitive because as soon as Spring gets into full effect I will have very little control over the temperature of my house and that will make colored film development even harder. Up for the challenge.

Goal 3: Review 5 Cameras

It feels like it’s been forever since I reviewed a toy camera so I’d love to do at least 5 reviews this year.  That should be an easy goal since I do have over 5 cameras that come to mind that I have never reviewed.  The only challenge is reviews take a lot of time and effort, and have enough experience with the camera to have a good/useful opinion on them…

Goal 4: Shoot 10 Rolls of Film

So once I’ve gotten through my backlog and my fridge doesn`t look like a museum for undeveloped film I’d love to start shooting film again and trying out some of my newer cameras that have never been used. I have never completely stopped shooting film but last summer I made the choice to take only instant photography until I got back into developing my own film. I still am obsessed with my Fujifilm Instax 90 and my vintage Polaroid’s but it`d be nice to shoot film again. 10 rolls felt like a reasonable number but I have a feeling I`ll blow away this goal.

Goal 5: Use 7 New Cameras

This is a great goal I think for any photographer. Most of the time I have a main camera that is used constantly and one or two others I pack with me when I am going somewhere interesting. So I need to be reminded to get out of my comfort zone.  To fix this I want to use 7 cameras this year  that I`ve never shot with. Most of them I bought last year and just never got around to loading them up with film, or they have film inside and I’ve shot a few photos but never finished the roll.  This is a must goal for me. I don`t know if I will share all the photos with you guys but I hope to start making Lomography Wednesday have a bit more variety as I know I’ve been heavy on the Instax Mini shots (seriously I love this camera, I don`t want to stop).  I also happen to have over 40 cameras between my toy cameras and vintage cameras not to mention my DSLRs so it can be hard to find time for each one.

Project 2: Making a Lomography Zine

This year I feel will be the year of zines. I have so many ideas in my head and maybe I`ll create a whole post about getting into zine making at some point. For now one of the ideas I have is to make a zine of Holga shots in a lovely square format. I am thinking of using my Holga shots I took during a roadtrip I went on where I visited 11 states in 2 weeks alone back in 2009. Even if I change my mind I think it`d be amazing to make one zine this year about toy cameras.

Those are my goals for this year when it comes to lomography and toy cameras. Seeing them all together looks very ambitious but I`m confident that this year will give me plenty of chances to work on my film photography and continue my passion for toy cameras. Next year in January I am going to have a look back and see how I`ve done but for now I better get to work. Let me know below if you have any goals this year for your photography or even a project you think I`d enjoy!

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A Year in Lomography

disderi robot 3 camera (14)Have a look back at the last year of lomography and toy camera photography! I’ve had the great pleasure of adding a few more different types of toy cameras to my collection including my love (the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90). You can check out this post if you want to see all the cameras I have currently. I’ve actually ended up with such a back log of undeveloped film that I decided to take a short break until I can get back into developing my own film again and even try developing color film. This also came about because my local lap is horrendous and expensive and unable to develop a lot of the types of film I produce with my unique cameras so the end of the year was a little bare but next year I’m hoping by summer to get back into constant content. Click the link/photo if you want to see lomography photography, cameras and more.

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Wish List of Toy Cameras

Every year I like to look and see what new toy cameras are available and what I am missing from my collection put together a list of what I’d love to add to my collection. So this is my wish list of toy cameras in 2015, it’s a mix of discontinued cameras, Kickstarters, ones you build yourself, vintage and the like. A girl can dream…


Belair X 6-12 Trailblazer

Holga K202 (hard to find but the other version K205 is on Ebay)


Konstrukor Transparent


Holga Wide Pinhole (discontinued camera)

lomo-instant-camera-presale
Lomo’Instant


Smena 35 (vintage)


Holga 120 Panorama Camera (discontinued)


Holga Glo 120N


Fujifilm Instax Wide


La Sardina Camera and Flash Cubic

Holga Stereo Pinhole


Lomography Diana Mini Double Rainbow (repeat from last year’s wishlist)

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Fall in Instant: Camping and Lake Ontario

               fuji instax mini film instant photography (8) fuji instax mini film instant photography (9)fuji instax mini film instant photography (15) fuji instax mini film instant photography (5) fuji instax mini film instant photography (3)fuji instax mini film instant photography (21)fuji instax mini film instant photography (12)fuji instax mini film instant photography (10)fuji instax mini film instant photography (11)fuji instax mini filmfuji instax mini film instant photography (1)fuji instax mini film instant photography (6)fuji instax mini film instant photography (4)

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.

fuji instax mini film instant photography (14)

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Lomography Wednesday: Disderi Robot 3

I think everyone has this moment when they are into film photography when they have no idea what photos are actually on a particular roll because it’s been either sitting around for a while or it just took you months to take photos with a camera. Well today I’m sharing that moment with you, I actually found this roll of film inside my Disderi Robot 3 camera at the end of August and decided to take it in to be developed.  I was pretty excited when I got these back from the store to see exactly what was on this roll. What I found a combination of shots from the winter, spring and the start of summer (yah that film was in there for a long time). Most of them were taken during my trip to Toronto in February to visit my friend Derek for his birthday and when I went with Starchild Stela to document her creating her piece for the Jem and the Hologram movie audition back in May. Just a few from a walk in the summer at the very end, completely random but that’s part of the fun with film.disderi robot 3 camera (14) disderi robot 3 camera (13) disderi robot 3 camera (1) disderi robot 3 camera (19) disderi robot 3 camera (26)disderi robot 3 camera (21) disderi robot 3 camera (25)disderi robot 3 camera (15)disderi robot 3 camera (10) disderi robot 3 camera (17) disderi robot 3 camera (12) disderi robot 3 camera (8) disderi robot 3 camera (18) disderi robot 3 camera (5)starchild stela disderi robot 3 camera (6) disderi robot 3 camera (11) disderi robot 3 camera (23)disderi robot 3 camera (24)Hopefully that was fun to look through for you as it was for me. I think I’ll be having a lot more experiences with random photos when I get back into developing film. I am not very good a labelling or document what my film is. If you have any tips actually for documenting your photo process or film let me know in the comments.

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