Well once again the curse of ebay struck me. Although I’ve had an SX-70 for a while, I love it too much to make any of the suggested modifications to it. So while it works with 600 film (and a hap-hazardly placed filter), it isn’t perfect, and I often feel like I am wasting the few shots I have left with ridiculous pictures. My uncle has an Instax 200 which he keeps in his guest room, making sure all visitors take their own portrait and write a little note below it. While I liked the size of the Instax 200 film, the camera is LARGE. I was hoping for something more portable so when a good deal was to be had on an Instax Mini 7, I laid down my cold hard cash ($7 to be precise), and 2 weeks later, it arrived from jolly ol’ England. Unfortunately it was missing part of the viewfinder (eventhough the ad described it as in good shape, complete). Doesn’t seem to affect the photos so I kept it.
My first problem was finding film Fuji has only recently started selling the instax mini film in Canada, so I took advantage of another ebay deal from Hong Kong, and soon enough 5 packs of film were in my mailbox. Prices of film are cheaper than Polaroid 600 at $40 for 50 pictures (shipping included). The local camera store just got some in last week but charges $15 for 10 pictures. But back to the camera.
The Instax Mini 7 uses Instax Mini film which is quite a bit smaller than the old square polaroids (see pic for comparison). The camera is plastic, and doesn’t feel like it would survive much wear and tear. It runs off of 4 AA batteries, which are lasting so far after 25 shots (I should hope so!). It has 4 exposure settings, bright sun, sun, cloud, and flash. The flash is quite strong and adequately lights up the room for shots. I did find that the bright sun was sometimes over-exposed on particularly bright days. The camera turns on and off by extending and retracting the lens (manually). Film takes about 1 minute to develop and is sharp with rich colours (compared to my SX-70 film, not exactly apples to apples here.)
I think this camera could take off with the right marketing. It would be a ton of fun at parties, or any social gatherings for that matter. Hopefully Fuji recognizes the potential and gets the word out as this camera has been available world-wide for several years now.