guestpost// instant film camera shopping with anna delores photography

Greetings, pixie friends!  Many thanks to the lovely Polly for welcoming me to her blog today.  My name is Emily and I blog at the Anna Delores blog, as well as run an Etsy shop + portraiture photography studio called Anna Delores Photography.

I'm hanging out with Polly today to share shopping tips for instant film cameras!  Instant film has gotten way better than the "shake it" Polaroid prints of the days of yore; there are lots of new and exciting options to choose from!

I was compelled to start this shopping comparison by a friend's desire for a instant photo booth at her upcoming wedding.  Here, I review your options and their applicability for both instant gratification at wedding photo booths and beyond.

First up: the Fujifilm Instax series.

The newest member of the Instax family is the Mini 50S in a sleek black finish (they call it "piano black").  Simply put, the 50S has the best shooting capabilities of the Instax instant film cameras because of its capacity for controlled exposure (so you can adjust for light vs. dark settings).  Reviews remark that the flash is pretty good for an instant camera and the images themselves are among the best produced by instant film.  Drawbacks, however, include the size of the print -- with borders, prints are about the size of a credit card (which means the actual image is even smaller than that) and the 50S requires CR2 lithium batteries, which aren't quite as widely available as AA batteries.  20 frames will cost you $22.00 (a little over $1 per print).

The Instax Mini 7S and Mini 25 also give you credit card-sized images and preceded the 50S in release date.  The 7S gives you four manual options for exposure setting, while the 25 selects settings for you based on detected conditions (in other words, you don't have to choose or do anything yourself with the 25).  The 25 also boasts a "smarter" auto flash and an optional close-up lens, but also pains its owner with having to hunt for CR2 lithium batteries.

{ Fujifilm Instax Mini 25 and Mini 7S }

These all seem like decent options for the casual instant film user.  Expect to pay between $50-60 for the 7S, up to $100-125 for the 50S (depending on where you buy).

Moving on to the widely-accepted master of instant film cameras, Polaroid...

Personally, I'm totally sold on the Polaroid Z340 Instant Camera, but the biggest drawback on this one is the price.  The $250 price tag is easily justified, however: this instant camera prints better quality (14 megapixels) and size (4x3") on smudge-proof, water-proof, tear-proof paper AND stores images on a digital memory card so you can also edit and print later on.  There's also a digital screen so you can peek at your images (and crop or make adjustments) before you print.  You can print instantly, save for later, or both.  You can also apply effects like fisheye or Lomo modes and can opt for a classic Polaroid border (or no border at all).

Even with all these exciting features, though, I know every bride in the universe is on a wedding budget, so I'm not about to recommend the priciest option without also suggesting alternatives.  The PoGo™ Instant Digital Camera - ZCAM is a nice compromise between the Fujifilm Instax 50S and the Z340: it has the digital display and editing options of the Z340 at a slightly lower price point (and from what I can tell, you can't save images to a memory card for later edits).

The final option I investigated are the classics: refurbished instant cameras made available by The Impossible Project, which saved the last Polaroid factory from extinction in 2008 (and thus continues to create classic-compatible instant films).  From Impossible, you can score goodies like a refurbished original summer sun Polaroid 660 kit or a Red Stripe 600 OneStep kit.  Prices vary based on the camera itself and availability, as well as whether or not the camera comes with film or not (though most of them come with at least a single starter pack of film).  Impossible also offers hard-to-find professional-grade Polaroids, but for our purposes I won't get into those details in this post.  You can explore for yourself if you're so inclined.  :)

Classic Polaroids can, of course, also be found on eBay and at flea markets all over the place, but the working condition of these will be a much bigger gamble than buying from Impossible, which tests the heck out of each camera before they ship it to your door.  I also found an interesting selection on Etsy, but the same concept applies here: working condition (as well as return policies) will vary considerably.

The verdict: Personally, I'd opt for the Z340 just because it offers so many attractive modern features and thus has wider applicability than a wedding photo booth.  If you're JUST looking for a one-day wonder, though, and for my friend's wedding purposes, I'll probably recommend the Mini 25 as a good "middle ground" option.

Would you ever buy an instant camera, or is Instagram on your smartphone good enough for you?  What would you use a Polaroid or Fujifilm instant camera for if you had one?

Thanks again to Polly for sharing her space with me today!  Hope you'll stop by to say hello at my permanent home base, too.  :)

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1 comment:

  1. This is such an awesome post! I have a Polaroid One Step refurbished camera (i bought it off ebay and was a huge gamble but at USD$17, it turned out to be a fantastic bargain because it worked perfectly). I also have a Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S which is so much fun to use- but I do forget to take it out with me haha. I would love to be able to buy the Polaroid Z340 and it has been on my wishlist since it first came out...maybe one day =)


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