For the past few years all of us have certainly noticed that instant cameras have become increasingly popular and experienced a complete revival. Everyone loves the little square or rectangular images with pale colors and white margins. Just add the date or some words with a black pen, wait for a few minutes and you’ve created the perfect memory. The images are stuck on the fridge or on a pin-wall and won’t hide in the depths of our smartphones or hard-disks.
At the Photokina 2018 instant images were also a big topic, and at the Fujifilm stand, in particular, a fascinated crowd with mainly young people was gathering.
Market leader Fujifilm sold about eight million cameras last year, whereas about one million was purchased in Germany. According to the company’s information, each camera was sold with ten camera films. Leica, Lomography or Rollei also present their instant cameras at the Photokina. However, these aren’t as big as Fujifilm when it comes to sales numbers. (They mainly expose on Instax Mini film as well.)
Fujifilm instax SQ20
The instax SQ20 instant camera is one of the innovations Fujifilm presents at the Photokina. This device is a hybrid as the camera takes pictures digitally even though it exposes on Instax Square film. This camera is able to record 15-second videos from which the user can select the best image afterwards. This image can be saved and printed.
Lomography Diana Instant Square
Lomography’s new plastic camera, which has been inspired by a model from the 1960s, is called Diana. Lomography already sells it as an analogue camera for medium format, 35mm and roll films. There are a lot of accessories for this camera (ranging from interchangeable lenses to color filters to accessory flashes in matching designs). Here an Instax Square film is used. You can adjust everything manually and the aperture varies between three levels between f/11 and f/150, which comes close to a pinhole camera. These possibilities and the sharpness configurations allow users to expose photos in different ways, which guarantees a lot of creativity.
Rolleiflex, the two-eyed instant camera
The Rolleiflex instant is a model all retro fans and nostalgics will be happy about. It has been inspired by a model of this label from the 1930s. The camera has two lenses with a folding box finder and operates semi-automatically. Users configure the aperture and then the camera calculates the exposure time with the help of a light quantity meter. The finder has an integrated flap magnifier to focus manually.
Speaking for myself, I’m also a big fan of instant cameras. I simply love the small images of special moments which I can happily hang up in my apartment or pass on to good friends who appreciate the nostalgic photos as much as I do. With so many choices we almost don’t know anymore which decision to make. That’s why I think I’ll stick to my really antique Polaroid 636 from the 1990s.