Fujifilm Instax Mini 8: Cute, fun design and super-simple to operate
First 'developed' and popularised by Polaroid, the company is sadly no more -leaving Fujifilm to carry the mantle forward.
Specifications: Fixed 1/60 shutter speed, variable aperture with lens ring, always on flash (automatic flash power variation), 2 x AA batteries, 62 x 46mm picture size, 307 grams (without batteries or film pack)
Anyone more than a couple of decades old will remember the instant camera there's nothing quite like the excitement of seeing a photo appear right in front of you. It's enough to turn many adults into giggly schoolgirls. First 'developed' and popularised by Polaroid, the company is sadly no more -leaving Fujifilm to carry the mantle forward. So the Instax Mini 8 is not ground-breaking technology all the science is actually built into the cartridge which houses the self developing prints. It has a cute, fun design which is all plastic and is super-simple to operate. You open up the large door at the back, load up a full cartridge and you're good to go. It's powered by AA batteries and a set is supplied in the box.
There's an old-school counter which counts down from 10. And there's nothing much by way of settings: you can rotate a ring on the lens to switch between the different modes. The ring essentially adjusts the aperture on the lens. Helpfully, a light sensor hints at what aperture you should be in with an indicating LED light.
The results are low-fidelity, typical of an instant camera. You can get some very interesting results but you have to know what you're doing. For instance, if you get too close to your subject, everything will be blurry . Indoors, the always-on flash can only illuminate a couple of metres ahead so everything else will be dark.Shooting outdoors always yields better results. There's an interesting High-Key mode (with an ultra wide aperture) which results in a soft, 'dreamy' look.
The Mini 8 is built to a price and you can see it. In fact, online price is even lower at Rs 5,640 at the time of writing. So you can introduce someone to photography pretty easily , but buying the cartridges is the expensive part and where the company derives the profit. Buy it for some old-school laughs and the odd party or high school get-together.