Top positive review
120 of 122 people found this helpful
Easy to use, good pictures, great for scavenger hunts
on 24 November 2012
I bought four of these cameras from three different sellers after researching a bunch of different instant-photo options. I got them primarily for use in photo-scavenger-hunt type games; I've used them in three such games so far (getting through a total of ~180 photos), and they worked brilliantly for this purpose.
WHAT YOU GET
- The camera, which is awesome and chunky, with settings for auto/forced-flash, near/far focus, and a manual lighten/darken option for the picture development
- A cool Heath-Robinson extra lens you can clip on the front for close-ups (I've never used this though)
- 4x non-rechargeable AA batteries. These have lasted pretty well in all the cameras (taking 60 photos over ~6 months), I've only had to replace one set so far.
- A strap so you can carry it around your neck.
- From ONE of the three sellers, one cartridge of film was included (there's space in the box for it to go - this was empty in the others). I ended up receiving cameras from different sellers in a single package from Amazon, so unfortunately I can't be sure which seller included it. Best to assume you won't get any.
- Pictures take instantly, so you don't have to worry about the camera-timing if trying to take a photo of everyone jumping - only the human-timing!
- Image quality is (to me) surprisingly good - if you use the correct high level focus (near/far) and you're outdoors, pictures are sharp and have good colour. My parents took a lot of Polaroid photos back in the 80s and say they think the quality of the Instax photos is better.
- Images still look good 6 months later. I can't vouch for any longer than that at this point!
- It's very easy to use. Over the course of the games I've seen lots of people pick one up and get good results immediately.
- Reloading the cartridges is incredibly easy - you just line up the yellow marker.
- Image quality is much more variable indoors. But with some careful choice of focus/flash and light/normal/dark settings you can probably get more reliable results. In the games I used the cameras for, the picture quality was still good enough to produce pleasing results when taken in a hurry.
- In case it's not obvious, the viewfinder is offset from the lens! This means if you're at close range (under, say, 6m from the subject), you'll have to try to manually correct your aim. Fortunately, the field-of-view in the photos is actually slightly larger than the viewfinder suggests, so even if you don't think about it you rarely miss out part of your subject.
- That said, for portrait orientation photos this is somehow much harder to do, so it's best to avoid these.
- Kind of obviously, the photos aren't that easy to share online. You can scan in 6 at a time in a standard A4 scanner, but you need to make sure you put something on top so they lie flat, and even then I had to do some tweaking in Photoshop before the digital versions came out looking as good as they do in real life.
- In one instance (out of 180), the first photo from a cartridge didn't develop, it just stayed white.
- The instructions are entirely in pictograms, no words, and they are a little hard to understand in some cases!
- Use-by date on the film I ordered varies between 12 and 18 months into the future. No idea at this point how well it works after that.
- Look up the cost of the film before buying (it usually comes in packs two cartridges with 10 photos each). I looked up the historic price of Polaroid photos, and when you adjust for inflation the Instax photos are quite a bit cheaper. Apparently this is because the mechanism for pushing out the photo is built into the camera, whereas with Polaroids it was built into the cartridge - so you were rebuying that 'part' every time.
- The instruction pictograms warn strongly against piercing or opening up the photos in any way, due to the chemicals they necessarily contain. In one case a particularly curious player opened one up anyway, and I think did get some on their fingers, but didn't suffer any adverse effects. Still probably not a good idea to do this!
In conclusion, these cameras lived up to my expectations, and are always a lot of fun to use!