I have a Polaroid SX70 camera and although it is a wonderful iconic camera, every time I push the button, I’m committed to producing a print. I can’t tell you how many times I knew the print would be a throwaway just after pushing that button! And I had to wait for it.
In February 2022 I got a Fuji Instax Mini Evo – a camera that can take digital pictures and allows me to selectively print the ones I want. Like the ad on TV, it does more. I can move a copy of a print to my iPhone or print off a previously stored photo.
When I want to print, I just use the film advance lever like a 35mm camera. You flick the lever and a preview graphic of the print shows on the screen. This preview feature blows people’s minds and when you give them the physical print they are delighted. It’s a friendship camera.
So, when I first started going out with my Evo, I just took pictures to evaluate its camera feel and function without prejudice. It doesn’t hold a candle to my X Pro 1. The metering is a bit sluggish and there is no exposure compensation dial, that is a button pushing process. It’s a snapshot camera, but that’s OK. I can control the exposure by half -clicking the shutter. After I test-shot several pictures and printed them, I found the color quality is quite good.
Then I looked at the instruction manual. This camera has built-in filters! Rotating the lens ring gives 10 filters and a knurled knob on top of the camera gives 10 more, for a total of 100 combinations. I decided Light Leak and Canvas are unimpressive, and the Fisheye and color filters are just basically ok. Then I found the mirror filter. This filter takes half of the image, flips it, and puts it next to the original so you get a mirror image. I can do the same thing in Photoshop, except it take about 5 steps and previsualizing the effect is beyond me.
The fantastic thing about this filter is how I see the effect in real-time! It stretches my imagination! I can move the camera around until I have what I want. The symmetry of the images creates a visual harmony that can make the most mundane subject interesting. Patterns become psychedelic. Cactus plants can be turned into monsters, or landscapes can extend to infinity.
My photo walks have always brought me some visual surprises, but now I can’t even imagine what this camera is going to show me.