Author Topic: Instax Mini Monochrome first test  (Read 1143 times)

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Francois

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Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« on: October 27, 2016, 08:35:43 PM »
Like I promised yesterday, here are my first impressions of the new Instax mini monochrome film that FujiFilm has just released.

Lets start with the packaging. The film is offered only in boxes of 10 sheets. Just looking at the box you clearly understand that this is a B&W film. Graphic layout is super simple yet effective. But things get a bit strange when you actually open the box. The film cartridge is stored in the usual Instax silver and green bag that says Instant color film on it! Mmmm.... when seeing this you either hope they didn't make a mistake in the packaging department or are very happy you didn't store the packs out of their boxes as there is absolutely no way to differentiate the films from this point on.

Now, to the pictures.For the test, I decided not to rely on the built-in meter. Instead I opted for a Sekonic digital meter that I set at 800 ISO in incident mode. It was giving me a reading of f/16 at 1/60th of second (the cloud setting). This is about ½ stop from the camera's suggestion on the wind chime image.
Now this film seems to have a more limited contrast range than what I expected. On the white underwear picture, while my incident reading was spot on there is almost no detail in the clothes. But at the back, the blacks are not as deep as I had expected. I suspect that the automatic flash is possibly responsible for the washed-out whites in the foreground.

On the tree picture, contrast was lower and I got much better results. While I would have loved to get more shadow detail, I find the image to be OK.

One thing that's a bit annoying about this film is that the pigments used to make the finished picture seem to react a lot to the color of the ambient light. Right now my desk is lit by a single incandescent bulb and the grays seem to have a color shift towards a dark green. You see that there's something wrong but getting a fix on the color is hard. But when you look at the picture by daylight everything seems fine.

Probably the worse thing about this film is the scanning part. As you can see in the accompanying images, there is plenty of light that makes its way through the sides of the pictures at this point. Those green halo artifacts are not on the picture, just the scan. Was the pressure on the film not high enough? Should I have stripped the white frame before scanning? Covering it with black paint? I don't know what the solution is, only that it's not an optimal state.

Now comes the big question. How much does the film actually cost?
Well, this pack sells at Staples for 14$. Add in tax and you're up to 16$. That's 1.60$ per print. Considering that a regular pack of white frame color instax mini costs 11$ + tax, I see this as a bit of a problem.

Would I buy some again? I'm not sure considering I got too much of the color version already and that it's expensive.
While I love the idea of a B&W instant film, there's always a little voice behind my ear that says that instant is for color, especially considering how popping the colors are on instax.

So there you have my first impression of the product.
The scans I included here are color versions that I scanned at 600DPI 48 bit color and shrunk to 24 bit color for the web. All I adjusted were the levels at scan time. No further refinement was done in photoshop other than a crop, resize and mode change.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:38:29 PM by Francois »
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

tkmedia

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2016, 05:17:29 AM »
Um underwear! LOL! What a test! ;D
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jojonas~

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2016, 07:26:57 AM »
they say showing testshots is like showing your underwear so that's a laugh :D

but yeah, looks like quite narrow range. I think I saw some test on emulsive.org where he used filters too
/jonas

gsgary

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 01:30:34 PM »
And no skid marks

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clagom

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 03:30:43 PM »
Nice review! Thanks for sharing. I probably will be disappointed by the results, but of course I'm going to use it :)

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2016, 03:34:40 PM »
In my defence, the whities were washed and bleached. ::)

But film wise, I have the feeling that the film is probably geared towards portraits with possibly lower red sensitivity. I'll have to check this out.
Francois

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Francois

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2016, 06:27:46 PM »
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.

Francois

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Re: Instax Mini Monochrome first test
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2016, 09:03:27 PM »
I did get a second print out and scanned it.
This one was chosen for the amount of colors available in it. And like they said on Emulsive, this isn't a B&W print even though it's called monochrome.
In the image, I'm wearing a dark green sweater with some lighter (about middle colored) stripes. I'm holding the blue side of a Rubik's cube to the camera.
In the background there is  bee hive clock with some yellow, green, black, gray and white on it.
Like I originally suspected, this is definitely a portrait film. Yesterday I have been to the barber and I have some reddish blemishes around the sideburns but these are not visible in the photo.

Also the hexagons that are supposed to be yellow on the clock still are when you look at them closely with photoshop.
Also, this film is definitely not good with white on white details! The fireplace is covered with textured stucco and it barely shows in the photo. Granted it's an easy way to get rid of stucco...  ;)

So, all in all, I don't think it would be wise to say this is a B&W film. I think of it more of an extreme low saturation film.
Contrast is good in the middle grays but not evenly distributed across the board.

The only thing I wonder about now is how it compares to the offerings by the Impossible project?
Francois

Film is the vinyl record of photography.