I’ll spare the frou frou words and the heartfelt story about three-year old me shooting Polaroids. I just want to talk about my new toy.
Honestly, I had no idea this camera existed until about a week and a half ago, when someone shared a picture of a cream-colored Instax Mini 8. I spent a googly-eyed afternoon learning all about the Instax Mini cameras.
The Instax Mini 8s are cool, and they come in all kinds of cute colors, but I liked the “classic” look of the Neo. Not only that, but it has more to offer: a variety of modes–including double exposures and a bulb mode for long exposures–a higher shutter speed, and even a tripod socket. One of my favorite features is the ability to turn off the flash. I have never been friends with a built-in flash.
The pictures are a smaller than I would like–around credit card size–but at least they’re not iZone small. Besides, I’m holding my photos. I grew up before digital cameras, and so this is like an old experience brought back to life. Now I can have the best of both worlds.
Still, if I ever want larger pictures, or if I want to upload them to my flickr, all I have to do is scan them.
One thing I’m enjoying most about this camera is that I am being forced to think about a picture before taking it. I can’t just look at the back of my camera and try again and again. Film isn’t cheap. And who wants a dozen bad photos taking up space in a shoe box?
My new photo-philosophy: get it right the first time, or don’t get it at all.
Tip: I’ve seen a few people online complaining about the price of this film. If you go to the store, you’ll get two packs of ten for twenty dollars. That’s a dollar a photo. YES! I agree that’s insane. Straight-Jacket with empty pockets insane.
HOWEVER, there’s an old legend about an online monster called Amazon. Find its cave, hand it forty bucks, and it’ll spit out six packs of ten. If you’re thinking, really thinking, about the photos before you take them, sixty photos should last a long time.
More features, including double exposures, long exposures, and a macro mode
Higher shutter speed
A “kid” mode for when your three-year old won’t stop running in circles as you yell “say cheese! Just say cheese! Look at Mommy! Cheeeeese!”
A rechargeable battery
Two shutter-release buttons!
It looks cool.
The pictures are a little small
Film is not cheap.
The lens is in a different place than the viewfinder, so you have to compensate when you’re not doing macro (I’m told it adjusts itself for macro). The good news is, this is something you can get used to. The bad news is, you may waste a few photos in the beginning as you figure it out.
The camera took a few days of practice, and it’s definitely a learn-from-experience kind of toy. There’s no manual mode where I can set my shutter and my ISO (Instax Mini film is ISO 800) and my aperture. I’ve had to learn to trust the camera, learn how to use “the eye” instead of my LCD display.
In other words, it’s less about the technique and more about the art.