The more I work with the Instax film

exposed directly with my Mamiya RZ67 camera and the Zinstax film back - i notice following things (which I really don't like) - mainly attributed to the Instax emulsion itself:

Very contrasty film (blown out highlights, suffocating / "drowning" shadows without details)
• The blacks suck, being more like gray - but certainly not black in any way.
• The color saturation is very dull / subdued
• The overall color balance pulls towards very cool hues

When you use an Instax printer instead

by sending digital images and printing them out on an Instax printer - you get a lot (!) better colors, more saturation, nicer overall contrast in general. And you can to some degree control the contrast by giving it more "sting". For example in case the contrast is too low but the color saturation is too high (the output gets better if the contrast is made a notch stronger). I often use the "auto" feature in the Instax app, and then pull up the contrast a notch in order to get better Instax prints (via the printer).


Using Instax film directly with a camera

Overall, I am NOT impressed by Instax film when used directly with an instant camera (which exposes the film, without any digital file involved). I never expected the motives turn out... so dull; with colors strongly muted, and on top all shifted towards much colder hues. It gives a boring, dull impression. (I thought there would be more "sting" in the images). Perhaps i expected "too much" ?


The Fun part

Overall however, making instant images has clearly a fun aspect involved. The same what made Polaroid once super famous; to get a photo directly on the fly. Somehow the "lesser quality" and overall look together, have turned into a "trademark" for Polaroid / Instax instant images.

People seem to be super happy.


The film isn't cheap, but still affordable

Albeit I have seen lately (here in Sweden) that the prices are going up - which could be a combination of the weak Swedish currency compared to Dollar and Euro. Sometimes I suspect that the sales industry, puts a little extra on top - more than what is necessary. So, the prices are rising.

Monochrome Instax is even more expensive, now approaching 17 SEK for a single print - which is a bit steep in my opinion. Also Instax with all kind of "frames", like colored, with stars, or shifting hues - are more expensive. A bit over the top in my opinion...


A better Instax emulsion required !!

Instead of producing Instax film with all kinds of patterns and colors on the ooriginally write - Fujifilm should put some serious effort in developing A BETTER film emulsion (for instant cameras)): with fresher, more saturated and less cool colors.

Now that would be something to write home about !


A corrective warming filter, maybe

Since the Instax emulsion often reacts with pretty cold, bluish tones - it could be addressed by using a warming filter. Something like Wratten 81C (creating 400°K warmer color temperature) or perhaps an even stronger warming filter. A warming filter that raises the color temperature by around 1000 to 1400°K.


Indoor tungsten light

The cold / bluish reacting film emulsion has one "advantage": When you take images in (indoor) tungsten light (whch normally results into very orange-red colors), the effect on Instax is actually pretty good looking. While still very warm, yellow-orange in the color cast, yet not exaggerated. So, here the bluish overall tendency of the film, helps to keep the orange and reds in check, becoming less than normal saturated.



The goofy image below

was taken with the Mamiya Fisheye Sekor Z 37 mm f 4.5 lens - but really, really close; just a few centimeters away from Sal's beard... I asked him to do a weird face. The left original photo shows that the Instax emulsion is both dull in colors, as well exggerated coolish blue. Yet, we had sunshine outside of the window. (imagine if i would have taken the image in the shadows outdoors lit from a blue sky - it would probably turned totally blue like using a tungsten film 3200°K film in 5500°K daylight)

The second photo shows the digital correction



A couple more images

Here are another couple of (Z)Instax images made with the Mamiya RZ67 studio camera. On the left with the Sekor Z 110mm, and on the right with the Sekor Fisheye 37mm. Clear motives and even lightning, seem to be the key for somewhat better images. Of course, a "correct" exposure also plays in - whatever that means.

As I mentioned before; the exposure margins are very small with the Instax film...


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