Field Test: Fujifilm Instax Wide 300

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. 

Where to buy: You can buy the Instax Wide 300 over on Amazon, you can also purchase the film from Amazon.

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? 


Field Test: Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Camera

Wedding Photography is all about creating amazing photographs for couples, sure images with gorgeous light, tones, composition and mood certainly help along with a good DSLR or even a mirrorless camera. But ignoring all that good stuff for a minute, the most important thing comes down to creating awesome memories for the couple and their guests. My job as a wedding photographer isn't being good with my camera settings, although that is kind of needed, it's capturing those moments, moods and delivering that emotion through image making. 

So getting back to the field test, as a wedding photographer this is why I love the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 and why it never leaves my side during weddings. It allows me to create instant memories that couples and their guests will cherish. Scroll on to read more about why I love this polaroid camera and how I use it! 

What actually is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90? Well if you're not aware of these super awesome cameras, then you've probably been living under a rock the last couple of years. The Fujifilm Instax Camera is a spin on the old Polaroid cameras, providing instant prints from the camera body, let's be honest who doesn't love vintage & retro polaroids? The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is a premium, fully-fledged camera design that sets itself apart from the "cute" image projected by its predecessors. Designed for a vintage look, it features a variety of photography modes allowing more freedom, control and creativity in your photography.

The camera also has a host of shooting modes, this is much more than a point & shoot camera, settings such Landscape, Macro, Party & Portrait modes allow you to take back some of that control the old school Polaroid cameras lacked. You actually have some control over what image the camera creates and prints, with the added bonus of being able to under/over expose and choose whether the flash (which is brilliant) fires or not. 

Furthermore, the Mini 90 actually looks the part, it's vintage look and black and chrome finish means it can sit in your camera bag or around your neck with a DSLR and not look out of place. I take the Mini 90 to 99% of the weddings I capture and I feel comfortable having it with me and I'm always conscious about looking proffesional at weddings! 

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 Mini 90 uses Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant colour film, a credit-card sized 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. 

Aside from the prints being mega cool and retro, they're surprisingly good quality. I was expecting from a camera that costs around £100 to produce average photographs but they're actually really good quality. That being said, the exposure can sometimes be a little hit and miss but you can have some say over the exposure with the Lighter & Darker modes in the menus. The L, L+ and D modes allow you to adjust the brightness of your photo. It is possible to add a soft touch to the photo by making the colour tone brighter. In the L mode, you can make the skin look more beautiful in a portrait photo. There's also some more cool menu settings, the Instax Mini 90 can capture beautiful images in the normal mode, but by changing the shooting mode, you can add more attractive effects to your photos. 

  • Macro mode brings a subject 30 to 60 cm away from the lens into focus, yielding a beautiful close-up photo. If the subject is at a distance shorter than the minimum focusing distance from the lens, it may be out of focus.
  • Kids mode is suitable for taking a photo of a child or animal quickly moving around in a room or under cloudy skies. The shutter speed is increased, reducing blurring of images.

  • Party mode is perfect for capturing party shots at weddings & when using the flash in a darkened room, the background in a photo may look completely black. In the party mode, the light amount of the flash is adjusted according to the brightness in the room, making the background in the photo brighter.

  • Landscape mode makes a scenic photo more impressive, It shows a subject 3 meters or more away from the camera sharply.

  • Double Exposure mode of Instax Mini 90 is a new feature previous models do not have. In this mode, by releasing the shutter once for one scene and again for another, you can superimpose two different images to create a single creative photo. Perfect for getting creative with your wedding portraits! 

The Instax Mini 90 is a perfect addition to any wedding photographer's camera bag, solely for it being a conversation starter and bringing a smile to peoples faces, it's worth carrying with you. The only negative I can draw from the field test is the Polaroid film can become costly if you're going through it quickly, but I doubt anyone would have thought this would be cheap? It works out around £0.75 per print so you have to limit how many you take and give out during weddings, I usually shoot 10 to 20 shots per wedding. 

Here's a few final points on why I love the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90: 

  • 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 are more likely to remember you. 
  • The range of shooting modes make the Instax more than a basic polaroid camera. 
  • It's a great camera to throw in your bag on your travels. 

Where to buy: You can buy the Instax Mini 90 over on Amazon  you can also purchase the film from Amazon.

If you want more information, take a look at the Instax Mini 90 website! 


Do you shoot with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90? Would you consider buying one for your camera bag? 

Field Test: Hold Fast MoneyMaker Multi Camera Strap

The regular readers of the Creative Resources & Advice Blog have been asking me to review some of my favourite photography products & tools and field test equipment that is useful for Photographers & Wedding Photographers alike. To get the ball rolling, I'm starting with the really awesome multi camera straps by Hold Fast. If you haven't heard of these guys before, they create the awesome MoneyMaker camera straps made from high grade leather complete with metal d-rings, safety straps and a superb versatile design. Most importantly, the straps look the business, keep your cameras secure and feel comfortable even when you're shooting a 12-hour wedding. 

What actually is the MoneyMaker? Well it's a harness-like camera strap that goes over your shoulders and allows you to carry 2 camera bodies with lenses or you can even carry three camera bodies with some other attachments.  It's so much more than just an alternative to your standard DLSR camera strap and it certainly is a big contender when you compare the MoneyMaker to the range of Black Rapid straps or Camera Belts on offer. 

The Hold Fast MoneyMaker allows you to attach any camera and lens with a tripod mount to either side of the harness, what's more, the way the MoneyMaker holds the camera means they hang by your side and keep out of your way. I shot my last wedding using the strap from Hold Fast with two Nikon DSLR's with a 24-70mm lens and a 70-200mm lens with no problems at all.  You can walk around freely and the cameras stay tucked into your side and they're ready for you when you need them, you never have to worry about picking up and putting down your cameras when you're on a shoot. 

Aside from the comfort and ease of using the MoneyMaker it's also very safe, the strap comes with two HoldFast screws that screw straight into your camera or lens tripod mount. Then you simply connect your camera onto your MoneyMaker and use the sailboat clips for extra safety. Seriously, I shot an 11 hour wedding using the MoneyMaker and didn't need to adjust or tighten anything the whole day, it's just perfect! 

You've probably heard me mention this before but I love honesty, I implement trust and honesty into every aspect of my businesses  so it's certainly something I look for when I'm the consumer. The MoneyMaker straps are made of premium leather and they look and feel durable. I've only field tested the MoneyMaker on a few occasions so I can't say it will last a lifetime but it feels like it would. But if it doesn't last a lifetime, the guys at Hold Fast give you a lifetime guarantee with every MoneyMaker, they're that confident in their products! 

Speaking just solely wedding photography for a second, I seriously couldn't shoot a wedding without a MoneyMaker camera strap after using it on a few occasions. I no longer have to worry about leaving my second camera body around and I can easily swap between the two bodies and lenses within seconds. Secondly, it's comfy. In a nutshell I didn't feel like I was carrying  two huge Nikon DSLR plus lenses around all day, perfect if you suffer with aches and pains. Thirdly, you would not believe how many wedding guests come up to you and compliment the MoneyMaker, not that I thrive on compliments but it's a fantastic conversation starter.

With a lifetime guarantee, the MoneyMaker is something you can look at as an investment, you're paying for a quality product, so yes the price is going to appear steeper than the most camera straps. The price varies dependant on your selection, there is a vast range of options and leathers Hold Fast offer but on average you're looking at $300. UPDATE: If you're a UK photographer, you can now purchase Holdfast gear from Rigu.co.uk

All in all, I would highly recommend the Hold Fast MoneyMaker and I'm chuffed that I got to test one for my first Field Test on the Creative Resources & Advice Blog. Here's a few points to take away:

  • You don't have to worry about keeping your second camera body insight as it's always right by your side.
  • You look the business and it's a great conversation starter. 
  • Comfortable to wear all day.
  • Easily swap between camera bodies and lenses.
  • Be prepared to spend a little for a great investment and product.  
  • Your MoneyMaker has a lifetime guarantee so there's no need to worry - not that it will ever break! 

Where to buy:  B&H have a huge stock of MoneyMakers, follow the link to have a look. For UK Photographers head over to Rigu.co.uk for a huge range. 


Do you use a Hold Fast MoneyMaker? Would you consider investing in one?