Hey guys, Matt Day here with a guest review on the Lomo’Instant Wide from Lomography! I’ve been shooting every day with this camera since early January 2016… Literally every day. I’m doing a 366 Project this year with Instax Wide film and this is the camera I’m shooting that project with. I’ve taken this camera everywhere and shot with it in many different scenarios, so I feel pretty comfortable in giving you guys an in-depth and non-biased review. I’ve found strengths and weaknesses with this camera and that’s what I want to share.
Before I got my hands on this camera, I shot all of my Instax Wide film with the Fujifilm Instax Wide 210 and then the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. I always had nice, sharp images from those cameras. No complaints in terms of image quality. I did find the cameras to be a bit limiting though. The minimum shutter speed was an issue when I wanted to shoot indoors without the flash. Speaking of which, I couldn’t even disable the flash when I wanted to! That was a little frustrating.. When the new of the Lomo’Instant Wide came out and I saw the specs it was boasting, I couldn’t help but be excited. It seemed like a big step for Instax Wide film.
And a big step it is. The simple things like disabling the flash and allowing the shutter to stay open just a tiny bit longer make a big difference. But that’s just the start of it. The option to do multiple exposures without doing some kind of DIY trick is a big plus. It’s just the press of a button. You’ve got your exposure compensation as well, which I was using 24/7 for the first couple of months, but more on that later… You’ve also got Bulb mode to do long exposures, which is unheard of in previous Fuji Instax Wide cameras. Not only that, but you’ve also got a fixed 1/30 of a second so that when you’re shooting with a flash, you’ll have enough time for that ambient light to come in and have a well balanced exposure.
On the lens, you have an actual focusing ring around the lens. Now, this isn’t to say you’re manually focusing the same way you would with a Polaroid SX-70, but you can adjust your focus to different zones with the turn of the lens. No more pressing buttons and waiting for the camera to adjust the focus for you. It’s quicker and silent now. I love this. You’ve got three options; 0.6m, 1m-2m, and infinity. Being able to focus at 0.6m without using any attachment is a big plus in my book. Speaking of which, you’ve also got a close-up attachment that can allow you to focus as close as 10cm! Insanity! A lot of fun for a Lego addict like myself.
One of my favorite features of the camera is the lens cap. Yes, the lens cap. This isn’t one of those lens caps that you lose within a week of opening up that new lens. This lens cap double as a remote shutter release! On the lens cap, you have two buttons. One button will trigger the shutter and use the automatic exposure. The other button will open the shutter and the shutter will stay open until you hit the button for the second time. This is perfect for long exposures where you don’t want to touch the camera at all, possibly affecting the stability of the camera when the shutter is open.
Obviously, I have a lot of great things to say about this camera, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. For the first few months of shooting this camera, I would occasionally get some heavily overexposed images. I thought maybe I just needed to use the -1 compensation when shooting outdoors. No big deal. I even picked up a 1 stop ND filter to use outdoors. But that wasn’t the case.. I would shoot several photos in the same scene and get different exposures. The light didn’t change and my position didn’t change. I was convinced the meter just couldn’t handle certain lighting scenarios and would get the exposure wrong. But even that wasn’t the case…
One complaint I had with the camera was that the film door was easily opened. A button on my shirt or even just my hands when using the camera would accidentally snag the door latch and the door would swing open. It felt very flimsy and not secure. It was then that I realized if that door wasn’t secure, I could easily be getting light creeping through and exposing my film before I ever even released the shutter. D’oh!
A simple fix for any photographer’s dilemma: gaffer’s tape! One strip of gaffer’s tape on the back of the camera to hold that film door tight and secure and now my exposures are all spot on! No more riding the exposure compensation or shooting multiple photos to get one decent result. Sure, it’s not ideal that I have to remedy something that should be good to go right out of the box, but if all it takes is gaffer’s tape to fix it, it’s not gonna stop me from shooting the camera. I still love this camera.
If you’d like to see a review and hear more thoughts on the camera, as well as see some photos I’ve made with the camera, you can see my full review on my YouTube channel right here. You can also keep up to date on my 366 Project every month when I do a monthly recap episode. You can see my latest episode on the month of March right here!
I hope you guys enjoyed this review! Big thanks to these fine folks at Snap It See It for allowing me to come back to the blog and share this with you all. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter under @MattDayPhoto.