Instax Mini 8 Guide

This is a Guide to using both the Fuji Film Instax Mini 8 & 9 cameras. These two cameras are nearly identical, with only a couple of additions to the 9, which I will feature at the end of the blog, as well as letting you know how you can get the same features for the 8 without having to buy a new camera.

Both cameras share a minimum focusing distance of 60cm (24 inches). The shutter speed is fixed at 1/60 sec, the flash always fires and cannot be switched off, it has a range of 2.7 metres. Both cameras use Instax Mini film and two AA batteries. These cameras are very simple to use and have very few setting options, the options available are Indoors/Night (F12.7), Cloudy/Shade (F16), Sunny/Sunny Slightly Cloudy (F22), Sunny and Bright (F32) and High Key (which makes your image brighter, and should probably only be used indoors, as it can wash out outdoor photos). I will get back to these later in my post. The counter, on the back of the camera, that lets you know how many shots you have left, counts backwards from 10-1.

The light meter is two circles in a vertical configuration above the lens and to the right of the flash. Please do not cover the light meter, as it helps work out the best exposure for your photo. If it is covered up, the exposure reading for your images will be incorrect and your photo could not turn out the way you want it to.

To turn on the camera, you need to press the button to the bottom right of the lens. When you do this, the lens pops out, the camera will emit a whirring sound and then a red/orange light will appear in front of one of the five little icons above the lens. When the light appears the camera is ready to shoot.

When you want to load a pack of film, make sure that you line the yellow line on the pack of film up with the yellow line on the camera, and the pack will go in the correct way. Do not squish the pack of film, as you will disturb the chemicals in the sheets of film and you will ruin your pictures. Another tip is that you should not shake your photo, as you could damage it.

This is what the icons around the lens of your camera mean:

When you look through the viewfinder you will see a circle, this indicates the centre of your frame, and helps you line up your photo. If you are using a close up attachment, which brings the focusing distance to 35-50cm, you should line your image up in the bottom left quarter of your viewfinder, under the circle.

If you want to take a selfie, if you use the selfie mirror and the close up attachment that comes with the Mini 9, or the Close up attachment/ selfie mirror that you can buy for the Mini 8, you should get a good result. Outdoor natural light is better for portraits than flash, so if possible, shoot your portraits outside.  The shots take 90 seconds to develop.



World Pinhole Day 2017

Today is World Pinhole Photography Day, so, as I can’t take any Pinhole photos today, I thought that I might share an old one I took. The shot below is a long exposure (40 minutes or so) pinhole image taken with a cardboard camera on 35mm film. To get this image, I attached the camera to the trolley and pushed it around our local supermarket as we did the weekly grocery shopping. I then processed this in my darkroom and scanned it for uploading. I thought this shot was a fun use of a pinhole camera, and that it might yield an interesting result. Pinhole photography is something that I am interested in and I hope to get better at it over time. One of the many things that I like about pinhole photography, is that it makes you see things in a different way, it is also good exercise for your photographic skills. I shall be adding posts about how to create pinhole photos in the future.

If you want to learn more about Pinhole Photography I have left the link to the World Pinhole Day site below:


Emulsion Lift

This evening I attempted to do an Emulsion Lift for the first time. I was pleased with how easy it was and the results that I achieved. I have attached photos below for refernce.

Equipment needed: 
Polaroid 600 camera.
Impossible Project film for a 6oo camera.
Watercolour paper.
Tiny paintbrushes.
Container of warm water (The warmer the better, but not boiling).
Time and patience.

1. Take a photo with a Polaroid 600 Instant Camera, using Impossible Project film.
Allow to develop.
2. Cut white border of image, this does not damage the image.
3. Pull backing off image.
4. Place image in a container of warm (preferably) water.
The warmer the water, the quicker this process is, but, please do not use boiling water.
5. Agitate water with small paint brush.
You do not want to touch the image with the brush, just move the water over it. This is     to help loosen the image from the plastic cover in the front.
6. Let image become saturated with water.
7. When the image has come off the clear plastic cover, place watercolour paper in the water, under the image. The face of the image should be facing you.
8. Place image on the paper (can be tricky).
9. Move image around until you are happy with result.
10. Dip image in and out of water, whilst gently brushing the image to flatten it.
11. When happy with result, remove image from water and allow to dry.

I took my photos in the morning and then went out for the day, just so I knew that they would have finished developing by the time I started the Emulsion Lift. I read that the older the print, the more brittle it is, and therefore the more likely it is to tear. I shall test this over the next few days and check. I used Impossible Project film, as it is the only company that sells film for the 600 camera. I will have a separate post on my thoughts on Impossible Project. I took the photos solely for the purpose of trying this technique. This is a technique that I have been meaning to try for a long time now. I was hesitant to try it, as I thought that I would tear the image, also, I did not want to use an image that I wanted to keep in an album. I shot the eight images in my darkroom, two were of my cat and one was of me, so neither of those will be posted here. You may see some white bits coming off the back of the image, this is nothing to worry about, please do not rub the white substance on the back of the image.

You can see from the final image, that the edges of the print got slightly folded over on itself. The colour is due to the Impossible Project Film, this process does not fade the colour in the image.

This morning I had a look at the Emulsion Lifts and discovered that overnight they had dried incorrectly,  and they had developed bubbles under the Emulsion. I put them back into warm water and removed the bubbles, they are now drying whilst flat. 

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