Instant Film Review: Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome

We’ve waited a long time for Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome film and it’s finally here!

One of the best things to have happened in the Polaroid/Instant Film world in so many years is the arrival of Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome. Announced earlier this year, the new film is a highly needed item that shows Fujifilm’s commitment to the Fujifilm Instax Wide format. The company has Mini, Square and Wide–and for a while the Wide format hasn’t been shown very much, if any, love. Perhaps this is because the other formats are much more portable, but Fujifilm Instax Wide has an appeal to photographers on the higher end. It is the largest format of all the Instant film formats and when put into the right cameras, the images sing.

Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome could be the absolute sharpest black and white instant film emulsion I’ve seen or used in years. In my opinion, it’s capable of outdoing even the old Fujifilm 3000B. Yes, I seriously never thought I’d say that. While I miss the excitement of the peel apart process, I’ll be the first to admit Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome is a superior film. And you can get Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome on Amazon now.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Incredibly sharp with the right lenses and flash
  • Gorgeous tones
  • Beautiful, deep, inky blacks
  • Doesn’t fade unlike Polaroid Originals
  • Still develops with ease in the cold
  • Did I mention that it’s beautiful?

Cons

  • No real highlight retention

Gear Used

We tested Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome with the Lomo’Instant Wide.

Tech Specs

Description borrowed from the Urban Outfitters website

The one-and-only film for the Fuji Wide Instax 210 and 200 instant cameras, now in black + white! Comes with 2 easy-to-load cartridges delivering 10 superb wide format instant photos each, with high quality that ensures sharp, clear reproduction. Monochromatic photos develop right in front of your eyes; film should be stored and used between 41 and 104 degrees. Film is compatible with Fuji Instax 210 and 200 instant cameras only; not compatible with the Fuji Mini instant camera.

Content + Care
– Pack of 2 cartridges with 10 exposures each
– Paper
– Imported

Size
– Box dimensions: 4″w x 2″d x 5″h

Ease of Use

Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome is a wide, ISO 800 black and white instant film. While the imaging area isn’t as large as some of the options from Polaroid Originals, it’s still almost as large as the older Fujifilm Instant peel apart films. Like many of the other Instax films, they come in a cassette of 10 images per cartridge. When you’re ready to shoot with it, you load it up. In the case of Fujifilm’s cameras, it will automatically eject the dark slide. But with Lomography’s, you’ll want to fire a photo first.

With the Lomo’Instant Wide, I found that Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome can be an incredibly sharp film when shot at the right distances and with a flash. My scans aren’t doing the film justice at all; but everyone I showed the film off to was pleasantly surprised. The output is sharper than anything else I’ve seen out there. At times, I really wish I could work with a camera that had manual operations because what I found is that Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome doesn’t really handle highlights well. The tonal range isn’t that big, so you’re going to need to be careful if you set it down on a flat surface and shoot in bulb mode or something. The highlights will pretty much completely disappear and the objects in the scene that are really dark will disappear into the darkness. This is due to the beautiful inky blacks the film can output.

The absolute best thing to do is to work with this film in the studio with studio lighting and an interesting, bright background of some sort.

Image Quality

Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome is a film designed to seemingly shine when a flash is used. I’m not really surprised; as that makes so much sense in the rules of photography. It’s capable of creating really sharp photos I haven’t seen or thought possible with previous instant films. And for the most part, it’s putting to rest my ideas that instant film could never be as sharp as negative film or slide film. Indeed I’m wrong.

As stated before though, try to get an average metering and underexpose by just a tad.

Conclusions

I’m truly in love with Fujifilm Instax Wide Monochrome. I haven’t seen anything like it when you consider how sharp this film is capable of being, it’s unique look, and the total fun factor associated with using it. It gets my highest recommendations and it makes me want the Rezivot to happen and come to life even more. It is indeed a great time to be in the analog film photography world. So why is this film getting our Editor’s Choice award? I truly didn’t think any sort of instant film was capable of producing such sharp prints except when you get into the 8×10 range. But this does it and does it while giving you a portable package. Plus you get consistent color and the black and white emulsion doesn’t fade or turn sepia the way others do.

It’s a no brainer; it’s the perfect black and white instant film emulsion. Goodbye 3000B; we’ve got a suitable alternative.