Fujifilm: From Ultimate Quality to Character-filled Prints

Portrait, Dia de los Muertos 2022 - Austin, Texas

Portrait, Dia de los Muertos 2022 – Austin, Texas

I have one more Dia de los Muertos portrait that I wanted to showcase separately from yesterday’s post. The Day of the Dead parade has always been a hotbed of experimentation for me. In 2018, I used a vintage 40+-year-old Polaroid SX-70 to make three portraits. (here, here, here). I’ve compared dedicated cameras to the iPhone’s portrait mode. I even made a true analog silver gelatin print of the event.

This year, I experimented with a new camera I recently bought — the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo. It’s a hybrid camera that captures digital pictures and develops them on instant film. It’s essentially a modest 5MP digital camera grafted onto an analog printer.

Fujifilm is in a unique position in the industry. On one end, they make some of the highest-quality digital cameras. The picture above is from the Fujifilm GFX 50S II, a 51MP medium format camera. Nothing out there makes a high-quality image other than Fuji’s 102MP version and a few other esoteric cameras.

Instax Mini Evo Rich Mode
Instax Mini Evo Natural Mode

Rich and Natural Mode Standard Brightness

Instax Mini Evo Rich Mode x1.5
Instax Mini Evo Rich Mode x2

Rich Mode 1.5x and 2x Brightness

We have Fuji’s Instax cameras on the other end of the spectrum. The hybrid cameras are more versatile and of higher quality than the pure analog versions. However, the image quality is not fantastic. They do create character-filled prints that people seem to love. And by character-filled, I’m euphemistically referring to crappy quality.

But crappy technical quality does not mean bad photos. Conversely, the best high-resolution image does not necessarily make for a great picture. Thus, I enjoy both types of photography. Under the right conditions, the Instax prints can be compelling. People also love getting these keepsakes. It’s a fun way to share photography with others.

I’ll talk more about the Mini Evo in future posts. As you can see, since you capture the image digitally, you can reprint as many pictures as you like. There are also settings for a Rich vs. Natural mode. Also, you have three levels of brightness, standard (1x), semi-bright (1.5x), and bright (2x).

None of these prints exactly matches the rear LCD, though the Rich Mode in 1.5x might be the closest. But the results vary with the image. The Instax film has limited dynamic range and color, producing its unique look.

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