Tag: instax

Wall Street Journal on instax boom

Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal has published a surprising movie on the Fujifilm instax boom.  “Fujifilm’s instax camera is back in the spotlight after nearly two decades, thanks to a growing taste for analog, especially among young buyers. Fujifilm Holdings Corp. said it expects to sell a record 5 million units of the instant-film camera in the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with 1.4 million of its digital cameras. And it sees strong growth for the instax next year.” the Wall Street Journal writes. “We aim to sell at least 6.5 million instax cameras next fiscal year,” Go Miyazaki, director in charge of Fujifilm’s photo imaging-products division, said in a recent interview.”
See the video here.

Celebrating the power of photography – The Lesotho Photo Project

Working alongside Sentebale, the Lesotho Photo Project developed from an idea to bring photography to the vulnerable children of Lesotho, through the medium of workshops, lessons and classes ran by Getty Images photographer, Chris Jackson, using Fujifilm instax cameras and instant film.

Chris tells us about how the project got started.

“For the last eight years or so I’ve been regularly travelling out to the remote South African Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho to document the work of Sentabale, a Charity that was founded over 10 years ago by Prince Harry alongside Prince Seeiso of Lesotho.

“Sentebale simply means ‘forget me not’ in the the local Sesotho language. The charity focuses its work on the vulnerable children of what can be a harsh and unforgiving country – Lesotho has been ravaged by HIV/ AIDS, suffering from the second highest rate in the world. This has left an orphaned generation in desperate need of support, education and medicine.”

“Documenting numerous visits by Prince Harry over the years has been a real privilege. I’ve also spent time capturing the work of the charity, their partners and umbrella projects.

“Over the years I have grown to know the children and staff in Lesotho well and it made me keen to get involved in more depth. I’ve always noticed the positive effect that the process of taking a photo has on the children. It’s almost therapeutic, the universal language of the still image has always been a means by which I am able to break down boundaries and create and immediate connection with the children I am photographing. On previous visits I have also noticed in many of the orphanages the children love creating montages on the wall of their friends and staff.”

“As in many of the counties I’ve been to around the world, the kids love looking at the digital image on the back of the camera and the pleasure I get from taking it becomes a shared joy with many of the subjects I captured. It was to this end that I contacted Fuji who kindly gave me some brightly coloured Instax 8 cameras as well as a set of digital bridge cameras to take out to Lesotho with a view to giving the children an opportunity to get involved in photography sessions. I was sure that photography was a tool that would enable the children to, not only be creative, but strengthen many of the important messages Sentebale are keen to reinforce.”

The children took part in photography lessons, with their images printing and developing instantly on Fujifilm instax cameras. A large photography wall was created in the shape of the official Sentebale flower, using the children‘s instax prints and they were encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings through their images.

“Much of the money raised by Sentebale over the last few years has gone towards an incredible, multi-functional facility – The Mamohato Children’s Centre, designed to provide emotional, psychological and medical support to the children. Based on sacred land donated by the King outside the capital, Maseru, the centre is used to run week-long ‘Network Camps’ for vulnerable and HIV positive children. Education, health awareness and above all fun are key for the children who visit. It was here that I was lucky enough to be given permission to start running photography sessions for the children. With over 10 camps a year and up to 100 children in each camp it was a chance for many of this disadvantaged children of Lesotho to get involved in the magic of photography.”

“I headed out to Lesotho to begin the project armed with sacks of dressing up gear, a number of massively overweight bags containing the cameras and a huge amount of AA batteries! The thing that concerned me the most was getting the film to Africa safely and it took a lot of negotiating to get the packs of instant film around the numerous X-ray machines (which can affect it). One bag went AWOL in Dubai en-route and it was a huge sense of relief that I arrived at the Mamohato Centre 28 hours after leaving Heathrow jelagged, stressed but with all the cameras in one piece!”

“In Lesotho I was able to not only give training to the staff (who use digital cameras to document the weekly Mamohato Network Camps, images of which are used to create a slideshow for the children at the end of the week) but also to introduce the cameras to volunteers (who run the camps), explain how they worked and discuss concepts for sessions with the children.

“As we suspected the cameras were an instant hit with the children, many came into sessions very shy and reserved but left smiling and with a previously unseen level of confidence. Each group of children took part in an hour long ‘fun’ introductory session, creating a collage on the wall. Knowing that the children in Lesotho love to dance and sing I was keen to make the lessons quite physical and with a real sense of fun. I played music in each class and, along with the volunteers, we encouraged the children to ‘shake it’ ‘shake it’ with the instant photos, most of the sessions involved a real sense of fun as the kids danced round shaking their photos in time to the music. I know that the instant-film aficionados will tell me it’s not essential to develop the film in this way but it was a great way of making the lessons less static and the kids loved it! Every time my whistle blew the children would gather the images they had created to build a montage on the wall around a logo of the charity. Towards the end of the session the children dived into the dressing up box and created images of each other gear in everything from pink wigs to father Christmas hats – great fun!”

“In addition to this throughout the week the children created a ‘Mamohato Times’ newspaper using their photos and text they had written. This was a more cerebral activity that the introduction sessions and the instant cameras were perfect for this as they enabled the children to conceptualize and image, create it and immediately write about it. This idea developed from something the children had done previously. For me it was incredibly satisfying to see them using the cameras so creatively and thoughtfully to create something that reinforced many of the important messages they were being taught as well as remind them of many of the great friends they had made. At the end of a week-long camp the children were able to take away the images they had created, a lasting memory of the camp and something to show their family – invaluable.”

“After my initial visit to Lesotho to initiate and run the project I headed back a few weeks later for the official opening of the Mamohato Centre. This was to be a huge event, attended by various local dignitaries as well as the King and Queen of Lesotho and Prince Harry. It was a showcase for many of the activities that children would take part at in the centre including HIV awareness, sports games and yes, photography! I was able to explain the project to many of the visiting guests, the King and Queen as well as Prince Harry (who was totally on-board). Prince Harry is a keen photographer and immediately got stuck into the sessions taking a photo of the King and Queen – not the more formal royal portrait I have been used to but great fun!

“The legacy of this project has always been integral to me, seeing the positive effect it had on the children made it important to me that it wasn’t a flash in the pan. Getty Images and Fuji have been fantastically supportive of the whole venture with Fuji even funding the project with film for the next year. Beyond this we are exploring ways to keen the children snapping well into the future!”

Supporting both the Corporate Philosophy of Fujifilm to enhance the quality of life of people worldwide and the overall goals of the Sentebale charity, the project provided the children with a unique and special opportunity to express themselves through photography. The instant nature of the cameras empowered the children with a sense of creativity, and gave them the chance to see their photos instantly.

The Lesotho Photo Project was launched during the first camp held at the Sentebale‚ Mamahoto Children’s Centre (the flagship facility that supports all of Sentebale’s work with vulnerable children) in October 2015. The Centre has continued to run the project at camps throughout the winter, including a session at the official opening in November 2015.  The children take part in photography lessons and use their instax prints to produce the Mamohato Times; a newspaper documenting their experiences at camp. This fantastic project provides a chance for the children to develop their creativity, communication and interpersonal skills, but most importantly have fun and express themselves in a unique and empowering way.

More info

Sentebale Official Website
Sentebale Pictures and Images on Getty Images
Follow Chris Jackson, Getty Images Royal Photographer, on Twitter and Instagram

Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer – Review by Kevin Mullins

A little while back someone showed me the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer.  At first, I though…meh!  I could see it’s uses, but I couldn’t see it’s uses for me.


Instax Share SP-1 next to an X100S for size comparison

This changed once I received it last week.

Let me tell you a little anecdote;  My daughter has one of the Instax Mini 8 cameras.  It’s pink (she’s five years old).  She adores it and she snaps away at anybody who will allow her.  She has a little album and it’s been a wonderful way for her to enter into the world of photography.

So, when I received the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer I was intrigued, more than anything, to see how I could utilise it in my day to day work.

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer is nicely designed, and rounded.  The buttons are tactile and well positioned.  There is a neat battery indicator and also an exposures remaining LED.

It looks good and is really quite discrete too.  I have a white one, and I’m not sure if other colours will be offered.

Battery indicator and exposures remaining LED are very useful

A very handy reprint button will duplicate your last exposure. Good thinking Fuji!

The device simply looks good and the branding is discrete.

As you probably know, by day, I’m a professional documentary wedding photographer, and my other passion is Street Photography.

Street Photographers I think will simply love this device.  If you shoot portraits on the street, as I do occasionally, I usually end up offering the subject a business card and asking them to email me (I always send them a small print in the post if they do email).  This is a laborious task right? and an even more pain if you are shooting abroad.

I can see me taking the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer with me when ever I shoot street now.  It’s small enough (101.6mm x 42mm x 122.5mm / 253g ) to slip into a bag and the two CR2 batteries will last for around a hundred exposures.  Plenty for a few shooting trips for me.

So; engage with subject, shoot, print…..away you go.  Very cool.

I was a bit reticent about using it at a wedding.  My style is totally candid.  I don’t really do bridal portraits etc.  However, I gladly took the SP-1 with me to a wedding I shot in the South of France last weekend.

This is what I did – and this is where I think it will be amazingly powerful for wedding photographers:

  • Shot the wedding all day using my X-T1 and X100S
  • During the down time I WiFi’ed (is that a real word?) over an image from the X-T1 to my iPad.  If you don’t have a wifi enabled camera you can of course simply ingest the card to the device.
  • I used Snapseed to edit the image sightly.  A bit of contrast and conversion to black and white.
  • I printed on the Instax Share SP-1
  • I gave it to the bride and groom as I left
  • They cried….said it was wonderful….and showed it to everyone else.
  • Boom!  Added value for wedding photographers right there.


 Connecting the printer, editing and printing the image took around one minute in total.
Connecting the printer, editing and printing the image took around one minute in total.

I can see wedding shooters who offer a more formal type of photography benefiting from this as well.  Being able to take a portrait of Aunty Mabel and print it there and then is going to make you the good guy (or girl).

Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer Print Quality

The print quality is fine.  You are not going to lose print sales post event by handing these out.  They are very much aimed at resembling the Poloroids of past and that, they do very well.  According to Fuji the print resolution is 10 dots/mm (254 dpi) with 256 levels per color (RGB).  It’s not hi-res printing but the images that do come out are snappy and certainly of a high enough quality to make people go “Ooooo” and even, perhaps “Aaaaah”.

The physical size of the images are 62mm x 46mm, so not huge….but perfect for street shooters and wedding photographers a like I think.

Cool things I like about the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer:

  • Very quick to connect.
  • The App Software is very easy to use.
  • The printer itself tells you via the green LED lights how many exposures are left on the roll.
  • The App Software tells you which images you’ve already printed, or if an image is not usable.
  • Print time is around 9 seconds in total.
  • Didn’t have a miss communication once.
  • It’s a pretty small device.
  • Comes with batteries and two cassettes of film in the box.

A couple of things I’d like to see with the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer in the future:

  • The ability to print direct from a WiFi enabled camera (X-T1 for example) would be awesome.
  • A better set of templates and editing options in the App
  • It would be cool to have a strap too.  I know, I know, you aren’t going to walk around all day with this around your neck but if you are doing a run of portraits, at a wedding perhaps, it would be useful.

Using the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer:

  • You need the Instax Share App.  I believe this is available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.  I just used the iPad version.
  • Simply hold the power button the printer down for about a second and it comes to life.
  • At the same time, it creates and ad hoc wi-fi network (you can change the name, password etc if you are security conscience).
  • Go into your device settings and connect to that network.
  • Launch the Insax Share App.
  • Select the image.
  • Edit, add text, rotate the image etc as you see fit.
  • Press PRINT.
  • Then wait around 9-15 seconds for the emulation to be exposed in front of your eyes.
  • Stand back and admire your work.

The application comes with some themes and basic editing functionality (though I suspect any serious photographer will edit the images first in another image editing app on their device).  There are some neat uses of the themes where I can see it being useful to put your name or your website address on the image via the software.  All very cool stuff.   You can make the image Sepia or black and white too but, as mentioned, something like Snapseed is far better positioned for this type of editing.

In summary – I think this is a great device.  I know there are similar things on the market but for me this is a well rounded all in one solution for printing your phone photos or from a wi-fi enabled camera.

I really, really, really, really want to be able to print directly from the X-T1 and other wifi enabled cameras though.  I think that would make this device go from seriously useful, to absolutely necessary for travel photographers, street photographers and wedding photographers who want to give their clients that little extra.

Enjoy it.  I did.

Written by Kevin Mullins