I love to shoot instant film. I love the old peel-apart film, I love Polaroid and I also love Fuji INSTAX. What I didn’t like so much was their bulky plastic camera so I bought the Lomography Belair Instax back and managed to DIY cut, glue and tape it to a Mamiya Universal. For flash work I use the rare Fuji Instax 500AF, the only Instax camera ever build with autofocus which they only made for 1 or 2 years. (God knows why, its way better then what they sell now, Fuji if you read this, please bring it back)
When EMULSIVE teased a picture of a Monochrome Wide pack I immediately became enthusiastic. The Monochrome film in mini version was nice but I wanted to shoot it with the medium format Mamiya to see what a good glass lens would do with it, and I was finally able to do so. The Dutch advertising department for INSTAX did sent me a few packs to try as soon as it came out, and I also shot one photo with FP-100b film that I had laying around to see what the differences where.
I saw no difference in sharpness but the INSTAX has way more contrast and consequently, the peel-apart film had more gradation of mid tone grays. Then again the FP100b film is old, and has a little marble effect of the development fluid being a bit treacly.
The images follow below. To view them in full screen, click or tap to zoom.
The third photograph with Amartey making a phone call with a stack of fake money bills was taken with the plastic 500AF at a party to see how the film works with flash – I loved the result. We are used to the same deep contrast with INSTAX color film and quite a lot of sharpness. All the other photos are shot with studio light and the custom Mamiya Universal with a 100mm Seiko lens around f/4.
Just yesterday (at the time of writing), I went to see Tijn who has been fixing Mamiya Lenses and camera’s since the beginning of the 1980s. He showed me around his workshop – which is a camera nerd heaven – and I managed to take the final sheet above and have his magnification add-ons sharp in focus!
~ Raymond van Mil
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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