What You Need to Know About Instant Film: The Beginner’s Guide to Polaroid Film, Fujifilm Instax, Impossible Project, and More.

When you think about instant film cameras, folks often say Polaroids, Instax, etc. But the truth is that not a lot of people truthfully know the difference between all the various options from manufacturers. Why? Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of it coming from the mainstream press. Many people just don’t understand Instant film–for years folks used it for fun and just to see what the images would look like when they got back to shooting their negative films.

So to help everyone out, here’s what you need to know.

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Vintage Camera Review: Canon EOS 33 (Canon EF Mount)

If you were to look at any of the best Canon EOS film cameras made, you probably wouldn’t think immediately about the Canon EOS 33. But indeed, it and the Canon Elan 7 are surely some of the best. These cameras incorporate features that make a whole lot of sense for most modern film shooters and don’t cater to the film shooting sports photographer–if even such a thing exists. One of the best things about the Canon EOS 33 is not only its price point but also just how reliable it is.

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Film Camera Review: Ilford XP2 Super Single Use Camera

Ilford has been making their Ilford XP2 super single use camera for a while now, but with the resurgence that the industry is seeing in using disposable cameras, I figured I’d review them. Call it a disposable camera if you will, but they’re the only black and white disposable cameras on the market with the exception of the new offerings from Lomography. Oddly enough, they were also designed to be developed C41 vs black and white. Well, that’s odd for some–Ilford XP2 can typically be shot at around ISO 50 to ISO 800 on the same roll and due to the process, the images will come out pretty well. The Ilford XP2 super single use camera makes a whole lot of sense for fun, but there’s also quite an interesting quality that would please me if it were used for concerts, documentary work, or even just weekend shenanigans.

Indeed, the Ilford XP2 super single use camera is very much the antithesis of what a lot of film photographers strive for with absolutely perfect quality and sharp lenses. Instead, this camera is a slap in the face to them–and instead it’s just about a look and getting a different reaction from your subjects.

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Film Review: Lomography Color Negative 100 (120 and 35mm Formats)

“It’s Kodak Gold,” I’m often told by Lomography reps about Lomography Color Negative 100. The film is one of the offerings from Lomography that is also a more affordable option at times in both 35mm and 120. Now, some folks may scoff at the idea of shooting Kodak Gold since for years, it was designed for being shot by just consumers. But in truth, it’s capable of delivering some seriously lovely colors. To that end, so too is Lomography Color Negative 100. At times, I genuinely feel like Lomography Color Negative 100 sometimes just intensifies whatever scene is just in front of you. But either way, if you’re looking for a low ISO alternative because you don’t like Kodak Ektar’s colors, then Lomography Color Negative 100 is a very viable option.

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Vintage Camera Review: Pentax Spotmatic (M42 Screwmount)

Pentax has has a number of great cameras over the years, but if you’re going to get something cheap and reliable, one of the best options has to be the Pentax Spotmatic. The little camera is one of the first options to offer a TTL (through the lens) light meter though otherwise is completely mechanical. With that said, it still truthfully doesn’t need a battery or the light meter to operate–which is a lot light many Leica, Zeiss and Voigtlander rangefinders. That means that even if the battery dies, you can still shoot and get perfectly usable photos if you’ve got just a bit of light metering knowledge. The Pentax Spotmatic was designed during a time when folks typically shot photos in full shutter speeds vs 1/3rd options of today. So with that said, you’ll want to pay close attention to the film that you’re loading up and your own intentions when it comes to shooting.

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When Shooting Portraits, Primarily Expose for the Skin Tones

One of the things a lot of people don’t understand about portraits is this: when you’re photographing a person they are the absolute bigger priority in the image. Even in environmental portraiture, their environment is important but the primary object is still the person you’re photographing. For that reason, a whole lot of portrait photographers will shoot in aperture priority because all they care about is the depth of field in the scene. But honestly, there’s a whole lot more to it than just that. You should be exposing your scene based on your subject’s skin tones as a priority and everything else should be secondary. Luckily, modern cameras are so good that you can do just that.

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Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan answers the prayers and wishes of almost every Fujifilm Instax Mini film user–and it’s arguably one of the absolute best cameras shooting the format on the market. Obviously, part of this appeal is the glass lens on the front of the camera. This lens is the same optic used on the company’s Lomography LCA 120–and so it is the sharpest and the fastest aperture lens available for use on any Instax camera (at the time of publishing this review.) That quality will appeal to a lot of photographers; and though there are a number of shooters who still want manual controls, you’d be shocked at how great the photos are from the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan.

And if you don’t care about any of that stuff: then this is the absolute ultimate Instax Mini camera on the market.

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Vintage Camera Review: Minolta Maxxum 7 (Minolta a7)

No, this isn’t the Sony a7, but the Minolta a7 is perhaps one of the best film Alpha mount cameras that you can still get your hands on used. While the Minolta a9 is considered the flagship, there are features built into the Minolta a7 that can make it much more appealing. For starters, it’s much lighter. And there is also a built in data back that lets you change a whole lot of parameters in a very simple way.

And to be honest, it’s one of the best autofocusing film SLR cameras I’ve ever used–completely putting a lot of what Canon and Nikon created to shame.

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