We love shooting with Fujifilm’s Instax cameras. They offer us a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity wherever we go. Most times we only have the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 in our bags, but on rare occasions the behemoth known as the Instax Wide 210 manages to get packed too. This camera is one that we constantly have a love/hate relationship with but always manages to win our hearts at the end of the day.
|Nearly 3 years of shooting with the Instax 210 so far|
Listed below are 5 reasons why we love it and 5 reasons why we hate it. We like to think the reasons balance out. Ultimately this camera is here to stay, even though we feel like we’ll never truly understand this camera’s way of life.
REASONS WHY WE LOVE IT
Wide format: The classic square many folks know for instant film isn’t really around anymore. However, the wider image offers the next best thing as it gives landscapes and group photos new life in this format.
Twice the size as Instax mini: Imagine two Instax mini photos side-by-side. That’s basically Instax Wide. It’s a great print size, and rather rewarding since the Instax 210 has to be lugged around for outgoing photos.
|Sometimes it's worth carrying the bulky camera for a bigger Instax picture|
Great photos when it does work: Hit rate is a problem with this camera, but let’s not dive into that until later. The photos that turn out great dissolve any thought of money wasted on any dud shots that happened throughout the pack. There could be one or two great photos from a pack, and that would be satisfying enough. It’s, on average, a 50/50 success rate in terms of the photo look good at minimum.
Half body portraits are awesome: Minimum focus distance kind of puts us as half body portraits, but we like the results. This might be, along with outdoorsy settings, the best type of photography the Instax 210 can be used for.
|Portraits like these work well with the Instax 210|
Perfect for landscapes: Overcast, cloudy, or sunny weather? The Instax 210 will get the job done. Sometimes the image might end up darker than desired, but still look nice and film-like, so it’s acceptable to us. If we wanted a tack sharp image, then we’ll bring out the digital gear.
|The Instax 210 shines bright for landscapes|
WHY IT ISN'T UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Camera size is ridiculous: The size of the camera works against us in bag packing. The width of the camera is unique which makes trying to fit it in a standard camera bag extremely difficult. When you have a lot of cameras like we do, you have to fill the space with the absolute useful gear. This causes us to consistently leave the camera behind. However, we recognize the camera has to be this big due to the film size being big.
Can’t disable flash: The flash on this camera goes off for LITERALLY EVERYTHING. It doesn’t matter if you are indoors or outside. It would be better to include a programmable flash to optimize the picture-taking process. All future Fujifilm Instax cameras should implement this setting. Please. This is why the Mini 90 is such a precious camera to us.
AA Batteries: Now these batteries are some of the most common batteries used in the world, but they contribute to the camera’s bulkiness. It’s too bad the Instax 210 didn’t utilize the rechargeable NP-45A battery that the Instax Mini 90 uses. Even if the NP-45A battery can’t shoot as many Instax packs that it’s rated to shoot with the Instax Mini 90, it still would take up less space and it wouldn’t bother us recharging after 5-6 Instax wide packs (assuming bigger film size takes up more battery power for shots?)
|Why can't the any Instax Wide camera use the NP-45A battery? :(|
Hit/miss rate: Yeah, a reason why we love it is because the good photos from packs make up for the bad ones, but we still think about the hit/miss rate. Just when you think you got the Instax 210 figured out, you end up with a bad photo after setting it up correctly. One of the most famous examples of this was one of our favorite SacAnime photos from this past con. The “Dab Squad 2017” photo ended up looking… weird and off.
|Indoors + group of people + on-camera flash = the image above|
This following bit isn’t any type of reason. It’s just something we look at when putting together our bulk Instax film purchase every few months. The two-pack (20 exposure) price is usually a few dollars more than Instax mini film, and it’s understandable with the image size being larger. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the slightly more expensive film is something to consider, but hardly a reason skip on this Instax format. Having less film for this makes sense because we don’t really use the camera as much.
Buying into this format is a nice addition. It certainly doesn’t drain a bank account. The Instax 210 is currently $80-ish, so not a hefty price. Add a two-pack of film, and you’re still under $100 to get started. It works really well when you want to photograph a big group of people outdoors, which is what usually happens with us at events.
We aren’t encouraging people to avoid this camera. Just expect some shots to not turn out the way you intended them look. The end result for those few great photos in a pack are still super rewarding, and that’s why it sticks around with us. This format deserves to be tried, even with the things we dislike about it. Instax will have a square format camera this year, so we’ll be curious to see how to juggle three Instax formats at once. The Instax 210 will still be used by us regardless. We just love/hate it.