Author Topic: Instax Mini 8 review  (Read 1130 times)

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Francois

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Instax Mini 8 review
« on: September 14, 2016, 10:51:06 PM »
While this camera has been out for a long time and has been a bestseller for FujiFilm, I feel it deserves a bit of a review and some hard to find information.

The Instax Mini 8 is the entry level model offered by Fujifilm. The camera operates on 2 AA batteries, something that is quite convenient. The lens focal length is 60mm (the equivalent of a 34mm lens on a 35mm film camera) and has a fixed focus range of between 0.6 meters to infinity. There is a very convenient push button to extract the lens which is a great improvement on the previous models which required the user to simply pull on the lens to open it. Once the lens is extended, the camera is fully operational.

One of the strange features is that it is a "flash camera" in the sense that the flash always fires on every picture. Its recycling time varies from 0.2 to 6 seconds on a set of fresh alkaline batteries. Its range automatically varies from 0.6m - 2.7 m depending on how much light reaches its electronic eye which is located just above the lens.

Ergonomically, the camera also has a few strange features other than its vertically mounted flash tube. Contrary to most other cameras, the viewfinder is located to the right extremity of the camera (when viewed from the back). This might look like a bad decision but it proves to be surprisingly comfortable, especially for users with a strong left eye.

The grip is very comfortable and the thumb rest very well located for users with smallish hands.
The back is completely unadorned with only a mechanical frame counter near the bottom.
Around the lens lies one of the most unusual features of this camera: a light-up exposure meter. There are four small LED's around the lens that indicate the amount of light hitting the subject. The user just has to move the aperture ring to match the meter's recommendations in order to get a proper exposure on film. But in reality, this is seldom the case.
One of the problems most photographers complain about is how hard this camera is to use. But in reality they should complain about how little photographic information FujiFilm gives its advanced users. The camera would greatly benefit from having the real lens apertures and the real shutter speed printed on the back.

After a bit of searching, the corresponding aperture values can be found for the camera.
Here are the values:
Indoors, night - f/12.7
Cloudy, shade - f/16
Sunny, slightly cloudy - f/22
Sunny and bright - f/32

No values are given for the Hi-Key setting but after some approximate measurements of the aperture, it looks like the f/stop should hover around f/8.

The shutter speed is fixed at 1/60 sec.

Here are some non-official instructions that should help in getting the best out of the camera.
-The exposure meter will lie, use an external one.
-The flash is there only to prevent blocked shadows. If you know how to reduce contrast without it, don't be afraid to cover it with something dark.
-Instax film has a sensitivity of 800 ISO.
-Instax film is very sensitive to strong light. Shooting a scene with the sun visible can result in a dark circle on the photo where the sun is located (solarization).
-The lens is not the best Fujifilm has ever made. The photos will be a bit fuzzy mo matter what you do.
-The lens is also very soft, try and not put any dirt on it as it will be difficult to properly clean.

With this information you should all be able to use your Instax Mini 8 to its maximum.
Enjoy!
Happy photography to you!

References
http://www.fujifilm.com/products/instant_photo/cameras/instax_mini_8/#features
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

MacArron

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 09:03:15 AM »
Thank you very much, Francois, for the information.

It'd be great posting a personal review also, I mean from someone who has tested it extensively already. I cannot help here.

Thanks.
Cameras to enjoy (I use them all):
Pentax P30/Pentax MZ5n/Yashica FX3/Contax 139Q/Contax RX/Mamiya C22/Exa 1b/Exa 1c/Kowa Six

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2016, 11:35:04 PM »
To help remember the settings, I just made this sticker.
All you have to do is print on regular paper, laminate with some packing tape, put some double face tape on the bottom, cut and stick.
I measured it so it would fit the back door of the camera.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2016, 11:37:05 PM by Francois »
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

jojonas~

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2016, 10:25:15 AM »
huh, f8? I thought the lenses on all instax mini were f:12.7
/jonas

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2016, 02:10:36 PM »
The aperture that is metered is f/12.7
But there is a hi-key setting but it has an unknown aperture.... I'm pretty bummed that they never specified the aperture for this setting. I had the eyeball measure it through the lens and it comes close to f/8...

The setting is designed to give a high key print no matter what...
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

jojonas~

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2016, 08:38:02 PM »
huh, that's kind of great though. I just thought that they had another shutter speed for that
/jonas

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2016, 10:19:05 PM »
Nope.
The shutter in this thing seems to be pretty primitive using a fixed 1/60 sec. speed.

My guess is that it's barely more evolved than a Kodak box brownie.
When you look at it, one shutter speed, 5 apertures that use a rotary waterhouse stop wheel (the apertures are perfectly round), and a fixed shutter speed that probably just uses a reed switch mounted on the shutter. There's an automatic flash (these have been around since the late 70's, so no technological miracle there) and probably a second reed switch on the shutter close position that activates the eject motor for a certain amount of time (that's probably the most sophisticated part of the camera).

While playing with mine and a pen light, I discovered that the bottom metering hole above the lens is for the exposure meter. But it doesn't seem to affect the flash in itself, so I guess that's what the top one is for.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

jojonas~

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 08:01:27 AM »
huh, then the lomo'instant automatic can almost be called advanced compared to the fuji instax cameras
/jonas

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini 8 review
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 02:25:57 PM »
I must say that they have a lot more features than the Fuji models.
For having my mini for over a year, I would even go as far as saying that the lomo model is most probably better. The only reason I can't say the lomo one is definitely better is that I haven't handled one to check the build quality.
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.