Last week we talked about the new Instax 300 and how we were disappointed and excited all at once. and you can check out the Fujifilm Instax 300 article at before mentioned link. One of our readers noticed the article and sent us over his detailed comparison of the the Instax 300 vs Instax Wide 500AF. Not only does he do a great job of comparing a new to an old camera but he talks about instant film history. So great! Thank you Mr. Cheyenne Morrison for the great write up! Fun fact : not only does the guy love instant film but he also is a Private Island broker, so you are welcome for lead on your next purchase of a private island! Keep up with him at the following links! Also if you are looking for the cheapest price on Instax Wide, check out his protip at the end of the article and make sure to click through the side bar to Mel Pierce for the cheapest price on instant film!
I’m a big fan of Polaroid, but since its demise there are three choices for Instant Photographers, the Impossible Project Film, Fujifilm FP-100C peel apart, or Fuji Instax in mini and wide format. Fujifilm announced the introduction of their latest camera the Instax Wide 300, which has updated featured not available on the model 210, their model that uses the Instax Wide film format.
Fujifilm Release of INSTAX Wide 300
Back in the heady days of Polaroid’s rise to instant film domination, Kodak decided that they’d try their hand at making their own line of instant cameras. Polaroid sued, and a patent battle that would make Samsung and Apple blush erupted. When it all shook out, Kodak was ordered to shut down instant film production, effectively bricking thousands of their cameras. Polaroid was awarded record damages and maintained a near monopoly on instant film.
Fujifilm took a bit different route than Kodak, and decided to license some of Polaroid’s patents to make their own instant film line. It never really took off in the same way Polaroid did for home consumers, but here we are, in 2014, and Polaroid is effectively dead while Fuji continues to faithfully pump out Instax cameras.
Fuji recently ceased production of their amazing Black and White instant film FP-3000B which caused outrage in the Instant Film community. While they still produce their colour peel apart film for pack cameras FP-100C, This rival Polaroid’s old 669 film, and in the final years of Polaroid a lot of their film was produced under licence to Fuji in Japan.
Impossible Project have achieved amazing success reviving integral film and I recommend all film lovers support them …
However, Fuji’s Instax film is the most widely used and commercially available instant film; so if instant film is to have a future Fujifilm’s products will have a major bearing on its survival as a film medium.
COMPARISON 300 vs 500AF
Fujifilm produced the Instax 500AF in 1999, the AF standing for Auto Focus. It was released in the UK in 2001, and there is no record of when they ceased production.
So, down to business. What’s the difference between the Instax 300 and the Instax 500AF?
Focusing: Firstly, the 500AF has a true 18 step auto-focus, but infrared and with an f/12.8 lens. That’s a very narrow aperture, and IR systems aren’t much good past 10-15 feet. In other words it’s mostly for close up and portrait work. The 300 in comparison only has two step zone focusing with focal ranges: 0.6m – 3m and 3m – infinity. The 500AF gives a much sharper image as you actually have control on what the camera is focusing on. The true autofocus of the 500AF model allows a wider aperture, more ambient light, and sharper photos, and more blurring of the background compared to the fixed focus 100/200/300 model Instax cameras.
Flash: The 500AF you can bypass the flash. The 300 only bypasses the flash when there’s enough light. So you can’t get and nice natural/low light images. Unlike the 500AF which gives good image in low light, and has a flash infill.
Instax annoyances: There are two other factors about the 210 model that really annoy most people. Firstly when you have placed a new pack of film, you have to remember to shoot a photo. Why? Well, in the 210 the first shot is the film protector which you have to manually take a photo and eject. The 500AF does this automatically once a pack of film is inserted. With the 210 you can compose and take a shot only to realise you fired off a blank. Not something you want at weddings where every shot is a precious snapshot. I don’t know if the 300 model has solved this problem. If someone buys one please tell me.
Because of its rarity, the Fujifilm Instax 500AF it is very sought after by collectors and die hard Instax users. Although long discontinued, it is still considered the ‘professional’ version of the Instax family. In recent years the price of the camera has increased in the used market due to the demise of Polaroid and dislike of the more basic features of the Instax 100 and 200 series cameras.
The 500AF was only sold in Japan and Europe. if it was ever sold in the US I haven’t found any proof. It looks like a 90’s camera, blocky and angular with a metallic like finish. There were two colours, one I guess you’d call “champagne” colour, a pale gray and black. The champagne coloured one was specifically marketed as a wedding camera, and came packaged with two packs of the Fuji Instax Wide wedding film. The wedding film has a decorative border around it, but I prefer the regular white film so people can write comments on the photos.
The Instax 500AF is hard to come by. You can see it on eBay but prepare to pay a premium price on it during different buying climates. The recent price on the Instax 500AF as of September 2014 is around $225-$350 USD depending on the quality of the camera.
INSTAX WIDE FILM
Fuji Instax Wide Format is awesome, durable, and has good colours, pretty much everything the original Polaroid was. The film measures 4.25 x 3.4 inches, very close to the Polaroid 600 film of old. However, unlike the famous square formatted Polaroid 600 film, Instax Wide has a rectangular image.
Film size: Width: 4.25” (108mm) Height: 3.4” (86mm)
Image size: Width: 3.9” (99mm) Height: 2.4” (62mm)
For wedding photographers and people who need the physical picture to not melt away, Fuji Instax film is dependable and trustworthy. It’s a serious contender and the reason why many photographers swear by it as their Polaroid replacement.
• Develops instantly – Press the shutter, capture a moment, and watch the photo slide out and the image develop in front of your eyes
• Hi-Speed ISO 800 Film – With superb grain quality, Instax film ensures vibrant colour and natural skin tones
• Wide Format – 10.6 cm x 8.4 cm (film size) – The unique super-wide format film allows you to fit more in your frame to capture large group shots, clear macro close-ups and far away landscapes
• Easy-to-Load Cartridge – Every cartridge is designed and labelled for easy loading and filled with 10 prints each
• Highly Stable – The new emulsion performs at temperatures as low as 5oC and as high as 40oCFor use in all
Best Price? Purchase is bulk from Mel Pierce Camera. They have a commercial rate of $391.50 for 30 packs of Fujifilm Instax Wide (600 shots). Even with foreign shipping it works out at less than $1USD per shot. You can find it by searching “Fujifilm Instax Wide Commercial Pack”, or the Product ID: 4902520217530x30forMPClist
Mel Pierce Camera & Digital
5645 Hollywood blvd.
Phone (323) 465-2191
History of Fuji’s Instant cameras and films
Downloadable 500AF Manual:http://issuu.com/filmmaker8.com/docs/fujifilm_instax_500af_user_manual_english2
Instax wide Flickr Group