From the perspective of a photographer
The moment I printed out my first film photograph, I was stunned. It is surreal how easy it is to take a moment so sacred, preserve it and live out its divinity again and again. We photograph the places (and people) where we leave bits of ourselves. We are nostalgic creatures who need to be reminded of life’s transience. This is why I choose to be a photographer.
Instax Mini LiPlay
The Instax Mini LiPlay (Live, Life, Play) is the latest addition to the roster of film cameras in the Fujifilm family. It is a digital-analog hybrid, which also doubles as a printer—justifying the steep price tag (P9,999.) It has no optical viewfinder; instead, it features an LCD screen to help compose and edit the shot. Connect to your phone and print photos which you already have; use it as a souvenir or a keepsake! It is the most compact and lightweight Instax available, best for both capturing everyday scenery and for travel. It uses the Instax Mini Film, which also happens to be the most affordable one in the market. Choose from three stylish colors and finishes: Elegant Black (black with rose gold highlights), Blush Gold (blush pink) and Stone White (grey with white speckles.)
It comes with built-in memory (40 captures) but may be replaced with a MicroSD card for larger memory storage. Gone are the days of AA batteries; it comes with a built-in rechargeable port (100 prints, 2-3 hours charging time.) A note: The light from the flash function will go on when it’s charging and will turn off when done. In addition, it features remote shooting for group and self-portraits.
Below the LCD screen are back, review and print buttons. The multi-function wheel navigates the menu settings, which gives access to the collection of built-in filters and frames, more of which you can unlock through the Instax app (available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.)
Capture more than just an image with the groundbreaking (but complicated) sound feature. Through the microphone, the user can record sound while the photo is being taken. Easily play it back using a QR code (to be printed on to the photo.) This can be accessed via the app. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but I can imagine how it can pique the interest of others—like couples in long-distance relationships. (A proposal perhaps?)
For a few days, I tested out the Instax Mini LiPlay and used three styles of photography: portrait, product and street. (This may be the most fun assignment I’ve received, as of date.) With my ample supply of film, my willing subjects and light, I was invincible.
As with the quality of photos, I immediately noticed that it looked less “film-like” for my taste. They looked exactly like they were produced by an old point-and-shoot from the early 2010s. (I’m assuming this is the look the brand is trying to replicate.) This makes the photo very sharp. Some also appear to be overexposed but brightness can be adjusted on the settings. To add, it focuses as close as 10cm, recreating a 35mm film camera.
Pros and Cons
Let’s discuss the elephant in the room: A film camera is, without a doubt, appealing because of the “element of surprise.” The fact that you can review and edit photos—again with the analog-digital quality—may be concerning to some. On the flip side, printing film is expensive. Many times, it is wasted because we don’t necessarily have control over the results. With the Instax Mini LiPlay, you don’t have to burn through film.
With the built-in port, battery dwindles down quickly. You can’t bring along an extra battery pack to, unlike other Instax cameras. I actually encountered losing battery as I was shooting. It’s also quite difficult to load film in through the film door, which from reviews online, other people also encountered. (I thought I was the only one!)
Print film refuses to die—and that’s a good thing. There’s no magic like a tangible print. Fujifilm’s attempt at revolutionizing film cameras for this generation is worthy of applause—but is it worth the splurge? We believe it is!
#LiveLifePlay and capture special moments with the first mini hybrid camera. The Instax Mini LiPlay retails for P9,999 and is now available in all Fujifilm authorized stores nationwide. Get 10 sheets of film and a 16GB microSD card with each purchase. For more details, visit instax.ph and follow them on Instagram. Happy snapping!
Photography Elisa Aquino
Art Alexandra Lara