The Instax and its Polaroid Predecessor


After purchasing my Instax 210, I realized I had found myself saying lots of things that were incorrect. Mainly, I was claiming Instax to be "Polaroid" pictures when technically - they're not.  So the thing is, the Instax instant pictures are sure very similar in the general concept of Polaroids. They have hand held camera bodies with cartridges that house 10 photos that you just stick in the back of the camera, take the picture, and up pops your instant photo. Having already the small knowledge that Polaroid discontinued making their instant photos, I knew I needed to be more thorough about what I was claiming was right and wrong. Obviously, when you google things you're led to Wikipedia. And despite its discredited reputation with the academic collegiate institution as a "invalid" source of information, I've found it to be a lot more helpful than me guessing - and at the very least a good starting point to some self education. First off, a little backstory in a nut shell: Edwin Land creates the first instant camera for the masses. The use of the darkroom is put to the side with the beauty of convenience. This camera created in the 1930s was widely popular and was a major product for the overall success of the Polaroid Corporation. Then the dawn of digital technology came and flash forward to 2008.  The company decides to "cease all production in favor of digital photography products". (Wikipedia) Boy, was that the worst mistake ever. Lucky for Fuji, the end of their era led to the now popular, youth favorite, Instax camera. They said, "Squares are for polaroids!" and created what I believe to be more "attractive" instant photo cameras. They're smaller, offered in several colors, and issued in the best places for it cultivate. Places like Urban Outfitters, which is considered as youthful hipster brand, have driven the Instax epidemic by bringing out the artsy cool look with all things vintage including music records, books, art, and fashion. It's no wonder people are eating it up.  PHYSICALLY let's look at the two prints: Polaroid on the Left; Instax on the Right

And for a little throwback - my bestie and I. My! How we have changed since our freshman year in college!


It's stupid how very minute the details are but for years I never paid attention. I never noticed that the branding on the back of the Instax was made so clearly. Let's be real - after Polaroid how do you follow up such a photographic legacy? You have to make sure everyone knows that its NOT a Polaroid, but an Instax - code for faster and better. But to me the back says a lot. Chemically, I'm still not fully understanding the development process. But what I have gathered is that one simple change has made all the difference.  It's all in the layers of the chemicals. Tom Harris has this great article on how instant film works which I think best displays how a Polaroid is created. READ MORE HERE


Anyways, after you've read more and understand that - the key in the Instax film is that all they did was switch the layer of the Cyan dye developer among other things and bam! the tonal range is better, no need for reflex mirrors, and etc. So what after all that did I learn? I don't call Instax prints Polaroids and vice versa. Just for kicks - here's a comparison of Polaroid and Fujifilm in scale, color, and variety. Happy Instant taking!