I’ve always been drawn to and had a fascination with Polaroid cameras after growing up in such a rapidly advancing technological age were photos are now just seen as disposable objects that we take for granted. Back in the 1820’s when photography was just starting out, it took several days of exposure for a photograph to develop & even then the results weren’t great, whereas now within a minute a picture can be taken of good quality and uploaded to Instagram without a second thought. For me, photographs should be taken to capture the moments you don’t want to forget, not to just snap something without thought and then go onto filter and change it to within an inch of its life. Over the past couple of years, Fujifilm and a few other manufacturers have released quite a few instant camera’s to suit everybody’s needs but until then it was hard to buy an old polaroid camera and then go on to obtain the film for it unless you were willing to sell a limb.
After settling on the Instax Mini 8, I shopped around to find the best deal as many places offer this camera with film bundles so it was hard to discern the best deal. If you are considering buying this camera, it is definitely worth comparing prices as I have seen Urban Outfitters selling them at an extortionate price close to the £100 mark – £40 more than other retailers.
Enough of my ramblings and onto the Mini 8.
Next, I had to decide which colour. As far as I am aware, the Mini 8 comes in seven (yes, I did say seven) different colours so at least one should take your fancy.
- Raspberry – A bright pink, not for the faint hearted
- Grape – Pretty much the exact colour of Ribena
- White – Need I say more
- Pink – Think Barbie & you’re there
- Blue – A light duck egg blue that wouldn’t go amiss on a bathroom wall
- Yellow – That colour you buy when you don’t know the sex of a baby
- Black – Classic but boring
See what they look like here:
After much deliberation I decided on the duck egg blue & when it arrived through the post, I knew I’d made the right decision.
For those of you who are a lover of the statistics, here are the camera’s specifications:
Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec
Lens Aperture: f/12.7
Focal Length: 60 mm
Min Focus Range: 23.6 in
Shooting Range: 2 ft – 9 ft
Shutter Control: Electronic
Camera Flash: Built-in flash
Batteries: 2 AA
Exposure control: Manual switching system (LED indicator in exposure meter)
Flash: Constant firing flash (automatic light adjustment)
Dimensions & Weight: 116mm x 118.3mm x 68.2mm / 307g (without batteries, strap and film pack)
Onto the camera itself. If you’re thinking that this camera maybe too technical for you, think again. The camera is very easy to use and to put it simply – it’s point & shoot. It’s auto-focus so that’s one thing less to worry about but what I will say is that you can’t turn the flash off. To me that’s not a problem as that’s what gives it the ‘polaroid look’ so to speak, but if it does bother you that much, masking tape will do the trick.
TIP: Because the viewfinder is on the top right hand corner of the camera, when taking a photograph position your camera a little down and to the left before you release the shutter in order to take the exact photograph you see in the viewfinder.
To change the exposure the LED light indicates what mode is best for the setting you are in, however you can throw caution to the wind and select a different setting to produce a lighter or darker photograph depending on what result you want. Hi-Key mode will produce brighter images in all settings.
Loading film is very easy as the instructions on what to do are marked clearly on each film packet & a shot countdown (not unlike a disposable camera) is shown on the back of the camera. One pack of film can only be put in the camera at any one time and consists of ten shots. On average it can cost £1 per shot but if bought in bulk, can be a lot cheaper.
Now onto the quality of the photographs themselves. From reviews I’d seen before buying the Mini 8 I thought the quality wouldn’t be something to write home about but I couldn’t have been more wrong! My opinions were cemented after my recent trip to Paris (see my blog post on Paris here) and to say that I was thoroughly impressed would be an understatement. Now don’t get me wrong, not all the polaroids have come out on point – but the element of surprise on how it’s going to turn out is part of the experience.
So all in all, I would definitely recommend this camera to anyone. Young, old, inexperienced photographer or not – this camera is a joy to use. This gives me the ability to be able to physically show my grandkids where I’ve been & the polaroids I took rather than just directing them to my Instagram page. For that, I give it a 10/10.
Do you have a Polaroid camera? I’d love to hear your thoughts! And if you have any questions just put them in the comments below & I’d be more than happy to answer them.
Ciao for now x