Instant Photography – Your Experiences?

About seven years ago now, I had a Fuji Instax 100, and enjoyed it.

The few packs of film I shot came out better than I had expected on the whole.

Nonetheless, the camera itself was a bulbous, bulky beast, giving me little pleasure in use, certainly compared my favourite non-instant cameras, both film and digital.

Plus, while I loved having film prints in a couple of minutes, I then didn’t really know what to do with them.

They’re currently sitting in a small shoebox in a drawer somewhere.

And to share them online, I would then have to digitise in some way, either a flat bed scanner or via a picture made with a digital camera.

Despite these downsides, I’ve again been drawn to an instant camera again lately.

The ones that appeal most are those that shoot Fuji Instax square film. Fuji’s own SQ1, or perhaps the SQ6.

I’ve also been intrigued by the Lomo Instant Square, which seems to offer far more creative control than the Fuji.

And the Fuji Instax monochrome film is very appealing, seeing as 90% or more of my photography is b/w these days.

I’ve also been looking at ways to display the prints. Etsy is awash with many lovely frame ideas and options, that may rescue prints for languishing in dusty drawers.

So I’m reaching out for some field reports. What are your experiences with instant photography? Which cameras have you used? What do you do with the photos afterwards? (How) Do you scan them to share them online?

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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10 thoughts on “Instant Photography – Your Experiences?”

  1. I’m somewhat disappointed in my SQ6. Image quality is not everything I hoped for and I wish the lens were narrower. Also, the viewfinder is maddeningly “off” and it’s hard to get a print that matches what you frame.

    At the moment, my SX-70 is my favorite instant camera, paired with Polaroid’s b/w film. I will forever miss pack film. I made some great photos with my Colorpack II.

    1. Is the SX-70 a vintage camera, or a remake? Does that have a better/straighter viewfinder? Reading about the Instax square (including your take) it seems the Lomo one is a more appealing choice on a number of fronts. Though still quite expensive per print, and I’m not sure I really want or need an instant camera when I can take pictures with other (albeit digital) cameras and make arguably better quality prints on a home printer.

  2. I had a Polaroid back in the 90s.
    The experience was always better than the actual results. So when the novelty wore off (about the 2nd pack I guess…) I stopped using it. No idea what happened to it…
    So when the Instax craze came about, I wanted no part of it…

    1. I remembered I also had a Polaroid , probably in the late 90s, maybe early 2000s. I went halves with my girlfriend of the time and we thought we’d shoot endless beautiful and artistic photographs. I’m not sure we got beyond a couple of packs of film either. Think this is a strong element with any Polaroid or Instant camera, there’s a romantic, nostalgic, optimistic expectation that they inevitably fail to live up to.

  3. Hi Dan, I shot a lot of b/w Polaroid back in the day and loved it, miss that film. These days I’m shooting Instax Mini with my Fuji Classic Neo. I mainly chose this model for the bulb and double exposure modes. Also what got me into this format was shooting it inside a homemade Pinhole camera. I made some really interesting shots this way. The I stand format creates a lot of interest at get togethers when I lay out the prints as I make them. I give some away and I keep some. They’re in a box like all my 35mm prints from the 80s and 90s. I’m enjoying the instant feedback and the Magic and as stated the nostalgia. ✌🏽

    1. Thanks Lisa Marie, and good to hear from you, it’s been a long time.

      I’ve looked at Fuji Instax Mini cameras on and off, but the small picture size just puts me off a bit. I may as well get one of those tiny printers that hook directly up to my phone and have a much more versatile and affordable option.

      How did you shoot instant film with a pinhole camera? Did you modify a Fuji Instax camera by changing/removing the lens?

      1. Hi Dan, the small picture doesn’t really put me off, it’s bigger than 35 and cheaper than square format. The camera is pretty light yet durable, which I need. It’s not small tho. As for shooting instax mini in a Pinhole camera, a few years back I converted a box camera to Pinhole so I put the film in the back of the camera on the film plane while using a black bag, attached a 8x ND filter to compensate for the 800 iso of the film and took it outside to expose. It’s a very fiddley operation and I got all kinds of interesting abstract bloopers which I really like as well as some decent shots. I also loaded a few sheets into an Altoid tin Pinhole camera and shot a few frames this way. Now you reminded me I wanted to get back at this process. Thanks for responding. A few months back I let go of my website here on WordPress and took my portfolio over to the free portfolio tool related to my Adobe account, no blog option here, but the hosting is included with my subscription so there are no extra fees. Been thinking of starting up a new blog here on WordPress but still adjusting to new normal since loosing my Dad last year. Maybe sometime in the future when I figure out what I’m doing. Peace, Dan.

      2. Thanks Lisa Marie. Sorry to hear about your dad.

        I used to enjoy your experiments and subsequent blog posts. I thought of you the other day, I bought our kids some “sun print paper” – – to try, and remembered you have done similar experiments going back to the roots of photography.

        Hope you get a blog up and running, please let me know.

        Re the Instax, I’ve kind of gone off the idea a little. I don’t know, I think I’m overthinking it! Maybe once I’ve sold some cameras and lenses off I can direct some of the funds to an Instax and not worry about the cost and just enjoy it as a change from digital photography.

      3. I appreciate your condolences. Yes I have worked up some cyanotype (sun) prints. They’re a fun way to introduce the kiddies to photography. Also, Re: the Instax, it is a good way to get creative with the camera functions and get those dopamine hits with the instant results. Lately I’ve been doing shots when I get with friends and family and leaving them a frame or two. They seem excited about having them. I will let you know if I get a blog up again. Thanks for asking.

      4. Yeh I so love the idea of Instax/Instant prints. It just wasn’t quite what I hoped somehow when I had an Instax Wide camera before. I guess I need to try it again!

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