Every family needs an instax

In my formative years, photography revolved solely around film. Following each trip or family gathering, we'd deliver the exposed rolls to our local lab, eagerly awaiting their development. After a brief wait, typically a few days or sometimes just an hour for express service, we'd receive a bundle of 24 or 36 prints, each measuring 6x4 inches. These precious memories would then find their home in a photo album.

Those photographs held a special place in our hearts, and even today, my own children frequently peruse my childhood snapshots. However, I can't help but ponder the future. Will my grandchildren have the opportunity to leaf through tangible photo albums like we did, or will they be left with the daunting task of sifting through hundreds of thousands of disorganised digital images scattered across various electronic devices?

This is a genuine concern that weighs on my mind. When digital photography emerged, it brought incredible advantages, such as the freedom to capture countless images without the constraints of limited film rolls. However, as with many technological advancements, there's often a downside, and in this case, it's the risk of losing hundreds or even thousands of photos due to device malfunctions. Additionally, the practice of printing and organising photos into enduring albums has become increasingly rare.

In reality, we now have the best of both worlds: the ability to snap hundreds of images and curate the best among them, to safeguard our photos digitally, and even to print them. Nowadays, many of us store our cherished memories in the cloud, eliminating the fear of losing them. We can easily create photo books to document our journeys, adventures, and various life stages. I am fully aware of all these opportunities, yet I find it challenging to incorporate them into my own life.

I made the decision to seek out a simple 35mm point-and-shoot camera, one that I could conveniently take along on family trips, develop film, and create physical prints. I was particularly drawn to the idea of an Olympus Trip 35 due to its timeless design, reliability, and user-friendliness. 

After an extensive search, which included a few unsuccessful attempts to secure one through eBay auctions, the initial excitement began to wane. It became evident that the practicality of the situation would differ from my idealised vision. While I would indeed capture images on film, the realisation dawned that I would likely end up developing the film myself, scanning the negatives, and ultimately storing them as digital files, with the physical negatives tucked away somewhere. In essence, it would be a lengthier process than what I was already accustomed to with digital photography.

My search eventually lead me to instant film, something I've not ever really been to sold on the idea off, small expensive low quality images, just really didn't do it for me.

A Fuji Instax Neo 90 popped up for a good price on eBay so I went for it to give it a try.

Fuji Instax film has its own set of pros and cons, making it a unique and distinct medium for photography:


1. Instant Gratification: 
One of the most significant advantages of Instax film is the instant gratification it provides. You can see your photos develop within minutes, which adds an element of surprise and excitement to the process.

2. Tangible Prints: 
Instax film produces physical, tangible prints that you can hold and share immediately. This is a refreshing departure from the digital world where most photos remain on screens.

3. Simple Operation:
Instax cameras are typically easy to use, making them accessible to photographers of all skill levels, including beginners and children.

4. Variety of Styles: 
Fuji offers a range of Instax film types, including monochrome, color, and specialty films with various frames and designs, allowing for creative experimentation.

5. Great for Parties and Events: 
Instax cameras are popular choices for parties and events, as guests can take home instant photo mementos.


1. Cost Per Shot:
Instax film can be relatively expensive on a per-shot basis compared to traditional film or digital photography. Each exposure comes at a cost, making it essential to be selective in your shots.

2. Limited Control:
Instax cameras offer limited control over exposure settings. While some models have exposure compensation, you have less flexibility compared to DSLRs or other advanced cameras.

3.Image Quality:
The image quality of Instax prints may not match the sharpness and detail of digital or traditional film photography. They have a distinct, retro look, but they may not be suitable for all photographic purposes.

4. Limited Image Size:
Instax film produces small prints (usually credit card-sized or slightly larger), which may not be ideal for those looking for larger or more detailed prints.

5. Environmental Impact:
The single-use nature of Instax film can generate waste, as the film cartridges and empty packs need to be discarded after use.

Fuji Instax film offers instant gratification and tangible prints with a unique aesthetic, but it comes with limitations in terms of cost, image quality, and creative control. It's well-suited for fun, casual photography and social events but may not be the best choice for all photographic purposes.

Over the past few years, as I've embarked on countless trips and adventures with my kids, I've discovered that there's one camera that consistently makes its way into my travel bag - my trusty Instax. This little marvel has become an inseparable companion on our family escapades, enabling us to create vibrant photo albums brimming with the colourful memories we've collected during camping trips, day excursions, leisurely strolls, and celebrations ranging from birthdays to festive New Year's parties.

Now, let's be honest; my initial concern about the Instax camera was the size of its prints. Those tiny photographs measuring 2.4 inches by 1.8 inches (3.4 inches by 2.1 inches including the border) seemed minuscule compared to the standard 6x4 prints I was accustomed to. At the time, I was aware that there were larger Instax options available, such as the Fuji Instax Wide and Square, but the thought of toting around a bulky camera during our family adventures didn't appeal to me. I craved something small, convenient, and hassle-free – and that's where the Instax Mini cameras came into the picture.

However, something magical happened during the course of my Instax journey. As I embraced the compact charm of the Instax Mini prints, I realised that it was never really about the size of the photographs. Instead, it was about the moments they encapsulated – those fleeting, irreplaceable memories that fill our family albums. These tiny prints may be petite, but they pack a punch in the nostalgia department. They may not offer the expansive canvas of a 6x4 print, but they excel at capturing the essence of a moment. 

In the end, it's not about the dimensions; it's about the depth of the memories. These small prints, with their vivid colours and distinct charm, have transformed into more than just photographs. They've become keepsakes – tokens of love, laughter, and the profound connections that define our family. These snapshots, no matter how petite, are repositories of the warmth and happiness that we've experienced together. They're about holding on to those cherished family moments, preserving them for generations to come.

So, as I continue to treasure my Instax Mini camera and the delightful albums it has helped us create, I'm reminded that it's not the size but the significance that truly matters. After all, the heartwarming memories we've captured will hopefully endure, ensuring that future generations can revel in the joy of our family adventures, one tiny yet treasured print at a time.

I have also recently brought the Fuji Instax mini Evo which I absolutely love and will be doing a review/write-up  about sometime soon.


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