Success and Failure of a Concept

Window Shopping - Austin, Texas

Window Shopping – Austin, Texas

Walking around downtown with my InstantFlex TL70, I was actively training my brain to see light. Was it too bright? Was it too dark? These are questions I hardly ever ask using a modern digital camera. New cameras do remarkably well, especially shot in RAW and with post-processing. Gone were the days when I made multiple exposures and blended them with HDR techniques. But with the TL70, these lighting limitations were back with a vengeance, and I can’t use the HDR crutch either. Welcome to the weakness of instant film.

On 2nd street, I noticed this as I walked towards the library. A store window, two layers of transparency, and reflections, what’s not to like. I immediately had doubts that the Instax instant film could properly handle this scene. But, I was here to test and learn.

The Fujifilm X-T10 succeeded as expected. With the monochrome treatment and other tweaks in post, I was able to recreate the image I envisioned. The InstantFlex TL70? Utter failure, but I wasn’t surprised. I know I was pushing the limits.

Instax Window Shopping

Notice how the shadows are even darker and the brighter areas are totally blown out. The Instax film has a truly dismal dynamic range, and this is visual proof. Furthermore, the odd black dot at the top of the print is caused by the reflection of the sun. When it gets excessively bright, the film just gives up and shows black.

The six photos I featured yesterday look like absolute technical masterpieces in comparison.

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