Recently I've been packing more and more Fuji cameras into my wedding gear, a few months back I wrote an awesome blog about the Fuji Instax Mini 90 and why it never leaves my side at weddings. The awesome guys at over at Instax featured the post on their blog and in the meantime sent across a Fuji Instax Wide 300 for me to have a play with. Whilst it's going to take a serious camera to replace the Mini 90 in my camera bag, the Wide 300 offers some stiff competition and brings a different set of awesomeness to your camera bag.
Unlike the Mini 90's unique smaller film, the Wide 300 reverts back to the more traditional style of analog prints. The 99 x 62mm prints give a look that many of us associate with instant print cameras. Given it's larger film size the Wide 300 overshadows many of the Instax range with it's size, but it still has a similar feel and look to many of it's smaller Instax buddies. One thing it does bring to the table is the handy grip, similar to a DSLR camera and a familiar shutter button and focus ring we are all used to. Underneath this handy camera grip is the battery housing, the Wide 300 runs off AA batteries and you will have to work your way through many packs of film before you need to change the batteries. The lens, which extends out when you turn the camera on switches focusing between two focusing distances: 2.95 feet to 9.84 feet and 9.84 feet to infinity.
The Wide 300 doesn't boast as many shooting modes as the Mini 90, there's no party, landscape or portrait mode to choose from and if i'm honest that was a worry to begin with. I have become so accustomed to the Mini 90's awesome range of settings that give you some control over the final image that I imagined I would struggle with the lack of choice on the Wide 300. Ok so I do use the Mini 90 settings ALOT but that being said I quickly became a fan of the Wide 300's rawness and point and shoot approach. You have no control of the flash & whilst there are times you wish it didn't fire, I actually like the results and edgy contrast the prints bring. That’s the beauty about the Instax range, you have no idea how the final print will appear and that's what makes it a winner for me at weddings. The rear of the Wide 300 has a small monochrome LCD which displays your film count and also has the option to under or over expose your print, again whilst it's not as advanced with the options as the Mini 90, the brightness and darkness option is a good feature to have.
Like all the Instax range, you load the film into the back of the camera, snap the shutter and the print will instantly pop out of the top, usually to everyone’s amazement. Watching Brides & Grooms along with all their family & friends watch the Instax prints develop in front of them is a serious win for wedding photographers.
Let's be honest, if you want full control over your final image you pick up a DSLR and then throw in some post production, the Instax range isn’t made to create the perfectly exposed image and whilst the Mini 90 settings are exceptionally handy, you pick up an Instax camera to create instant memories. The character and charm of handing someone a physical print is the icing on the cake (no wedding pun intended). Creating memories and capturing stories is why I pick up a camera every day and anything that helps me implement that into my business or in this case, camera bag, I'm going to jump at. The Instax Wide 300 uses Fujifilm Instax Wide Instant colour film, a colour film, that prints instantly. This camera not only creates lasting memories, it's also a guaranteed conversation starter at weddings, guests love receiving a physical photograph that is tangible and a little bit retro.. and we have the digital age to thank for this. We are all too aware that many of us don't print enough photographs, so when someone is given something unique and personal like a polaroid, you're guaranteed they will love it. The only hard choice you will face is who you select to give the Instax prints to, but whoever you decided to snap and give them a gift they won't forget you in a hurry!
One huge advantage the Wide 300 has over the Mini 90 is the large prints allow you to capture big groups and stand a little further away from subjects, whilst you don't gain much more width in the actual photograph, having a bigger print means you can snap a few larger group shots and they won't be minuscule on the print. For that reason I would jump at the chance to throw both the Wide 300 and Mini 90 into my camera bag, they both have their positives and both are a superb addition to any wedding photographer’s camera bag. Eventually, I would love to see some of the advanced options of the Mini 90 make their way into the Wide range, but it won't stop me from picking up the Wide 300.
Here's a few final points on why I love the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300:
• The camera looks the part and the retro feel is perfect for wedding photographers.
• It's a fantastic conversation starter with wedding guests.
• People love receiving a physical print & are more likely to remember you.
• The large Instax prints give that sense of handing over a gift to wedding guests.
• It's a great camera to accompany your DSLRs.
If you want more information, take a look at the Instax Wide 300 website!
Do you shoot with the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300? Would you consider buying one for your camera bag?