The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is one of the simplest yet fun instant film cameras available. The success of the Instax Mini 8 series brought updates to this model. But these updates deliver little changes in the base features.
This article dives into the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8. And you’ll find out everything you need to know about it. If you’re looking for a fun, instant camera, this should be one you consider! For the latest version, pop over to our post on the best instant cameras.
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What Is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8?
Fujifilm’s short description reads, “Shoot and see the results printed right away.” And it says everything about the main idea for this instant Fujifilm camera.
In 2009, Fujifilm dropped the Instax series, which changed the instant camera market. Their uniqueness is that they print what you shoot immediately. And this also means that you cannot replicate the images.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini series is the most popular lineup among instant cameras. These instant cameras are compact and do not need anything besides film and two batteries. Plus, it comes with a hand strap the same color as your camera.
Fujifilm did everything to create a stylish and iconic camera with the Instax Mini 8.
Who Is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 For?
The short answer is literally everyone. It’s most popular among young people and children. But my parents and grandparents also enjoy using mine. And sometimes couples buy it for weddings, making long-lasting memories on the spot!
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a portable, light, and fun camera that is easy to use. And it’s relatively inexpensive. Plus, it does not require any specific equipment or previous experience in photography.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Key Features
Let’s see why the Instax Mini 8 is an excellent choice among instant cameras.
It’s a compact camera, so you cannot change the lens. The lens is a 60mm prime lens.
You press the button next to the lens, and it pops out. This is also how you turn on your camera. To turn it off, you push back the lens.
It’s nice that you don’t need a lens cap. When turned off, the camera’s body protects the lens, and a cover closes over it.
It’s fun that you must physically move to frame the scene perfectly. It enhances the experience of only using one frame for one shot. You have to invest some time in shooting with the Instax Mini 8.
Film and Shooting
The Fujifilm Instax Mini series use a special film size. The image size is 2.4 x 1.8 inches (6.2 x 4.6 cm). And with the frame, it’s 3.4 x 2.1 inches (8.6 x 5.4 cm).
You can put the Instax Mini Instant film into any Instax Mini camera. And the basic Fujifilm Instax Mini film has a sensitivity of ISO 800.
These films are also easy to use, but they are expensive. They come in packages of 10 sheets. The film loading is easy and user-friendly. You have to open the door on the back of your Instax Mini 8 and put it in.
You will see a yellow mark on your camera when you open the door. You will see the same on the film. Just place the two signs together, and your film is in its place. Then close the door and start shooting.
When you shoot, the film comes out from the top of the camera. It takes about 1.5 to 2 minutes to develop. Sometimes I find that the colors get deeper after a little extra time.
The film feed out of the Instax Mini 8 is automatic. So you don’t have to worry about advancing film. And there is an exposure counter window on the back of the camera. So you can see how many shots you have left.
And you can buy film with different kinds of frames. Some of them are colorful or even patterned.
The frames don’t just look nice. You can label the images by writing or drawing on them. You can even buy monochrome film to take stunning black-and-white images.
It’s good to avoid using your film at extremely high or low temperatures. It’s best to use it at room temperature. But it works between 41 and 14 F (5 and 40 C).
Focusing and Framing
The Instax Mini 8 has a minimum focusing distance of 2 ft (60 cm). It means the camera won’t focus on subjects closer to the lens than 2 ft (60 cm).
It is a rangefinder camera. That means that it allows zone focusing. You can’t set your focus automatically. You have to move the camera to find focus.
Also, you have to rely more or less on the distances suggested by your camera’s lens. Remember, it won’t be able to focus closer than 60 cm.
Using a rangefinder means that the viewed image is not exactly what will be exposed in your picture. A viewfinder is offset from the view through the lens, as they are a few centimeters from each other.
As you look “through the camera,” you will not see exactly what the lens sees. This makes composing the image harder with the Instax Mini 8.
Light Metering and Shooting
When you turn on the Instax Mini 8, you will see a little red-and-orange light on the exposure setting dial.
You can see two holes above the lens. This light meter automatically measures the amount of light and suggests a setting to use. It does so by turning on that little light.
You can choose from five options. And the light is next to the one you should use.
The first option is for indoor photos, primarily for low-light conditions. The “cloudy” option is for outdoor photos with ambient light but low-light conditions. The “sunny” and the “very sunny” options are also for outdoors and scenes with a lot of light.
With the high-key mode, you can have a brighter image so that it will overexpose it. But the image quality is fluctuant. And the light metering doesn’t always seem to be precise.
In bright lighting conditions, my images usually came out overexposed. And darker light conditions resulted in underexposed images.
So sometimes it isn’t easy to catch the perfect lighting. This can be because Fujifilm releases films with 800 ISO sensitivity to favor users who prefer to shoot in low light.
You will know when the Instax Mini 8‘s choice isn’t the best after you practice enough. When this happens, you can easily choose another setting.
It’s best to have your subjects close to the camera. And shooting more visible subjects is better because the images will not contain too many details.
There is a built-in flash. It is on and flashes every time, no matter how much light the light meter senses. So it’s important to pay attention and not cover the light meter or the flash.
Make sure to also rotate the ring and set the proper metering. Otherwise, you won’t understand why you didn’t get the correct exposure. Besides these details, it’s quite easy to learn how to use the Instax Mini 8.
Body and Handling
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is a relatively small camera. It’s 4.6 x 4.6 x 3.5 inches (116 x 118 x 88 mm) and 0.68 lb (307 g) without batteries.
It comes in seven fun colors. So everyone can find the one that fits them. The colorful ones look a little bit like toys. But the black and the white ones are more elegant.
It’s a bit hard to hold it in one hand, as there isn’t much to hold on to. And the matte plastic makes you feel like you can drop it anytime. Luckily it’s easy to attach straps.
One of the things I’m satisfied with is the placement of the viewfinder. Usually, it’s on the camera’s left side, as most of us use the right eye to look into it.
Being on the right of the Instax Mini 8, my nose always hits the back of the camera. So it’s not too comfortable. Of course, we usually don’t spend a whole day shooting with these. But still, it can be bothersome.
Also, it feels a bit odd that the shutter button is on the front of the camera. This makes sense, as the film comes out on top. So there is no place for the button, too. It’s just something I needed to get used to.
Overall, being made of solid plastic, it seems to be a fairly durable camera. And it doesn’t have many moving elements. I’ve been using my Instax Mini 8 for four years and haven’t had any problems.
The Instax Mini 8 has a hand strap, which is not the best quality. If you use it often, it can get worn out. But it does its job.
Not only is the appearance of these cameras fun. But you can buy cases in any color you can imagine.
You can also buy little albums you can collect your photos in. These are quite cheap. And it feels so great to flip through them.
Other instant cameras (including the Instax Mini 12) compete with the Instax Mini 8.
The Instax Mini 11 comes with interchangeable shutter button stickers. Also, it has a closer focusing distance of 11.8 inches (30 cm.)
But the manual switch is missing because the 11 has a fully automatic exposure system. This won’t let you override the camera’s suggestions and decide which mode you want to choose.
The Instax Mini 9 comes with a little mirror next to the lens and a close-up lens. You can attach this to the lens and make images of subjects closer than 2 ft (60cm).
You can also choose a camera with other film formats. For example, the Instax Wide 300. This works with bigger film sizes, which is better for showing more detail.
If you prefer a square format, you can buy, for example, an Instax Square SQ1. These cameras come with a more cornered design. The main difference is in the shape of the film they use.
Conclusion: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Review
I’m quite satisfied with the Instax Mini 8. It is a long-lasting camera you can buy to use yourself or gift to others as a present. And you and others will grow fond of using it.
The camera is cheap, but it has some disadvantages. For example, instant film is quite expensive. You cannot avoid this if you shoot with an instant film camera. But you can buy Instax film in bulk, which makes it more affordable.
And there are quality issues regarding the images. But they have not significantly changed in the newer models. So I don’t feel I missed out on anything by using this one for years instead of always buying new ones.
Instant film cameras give you great freedom because you don’t expect to get the perfect shot. They are primarily meant to be fun. So I recommend buying one to experience the magic of instant photography. And the Instax Mini 8 is a great choice.
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