When you search through the various different social media channels for anything relating to the Travelers Notebook or journaling, at some point you will come across photos of heavily decorated pages. One common theme between them is the use of photos that fit perfectly into the Travelers Notebook A5 slim pages. The use of these photos had always caught my eye as I felt that were the perfect addition to the recording of memories. Shortly before having a baby I decided that I could use an instant camera to document my sons first year(s) with old fashioned photos and so began searching around for an option that would suit me. After considering several different cameras and printers I settled on the Instax Mini 70.
The reasons I chose the Instax Mini 70
Firstly the aesthetics of the Instax Mini 70 is far better that its predecessor the Instax Mini 8. I always felt that the Mini 8 looked like a toy or underwater disposable camera, the Mini 70 is much smarter and overall a better design. There are three different colours, white, blue and yellow. I went for yellow as I liked the bright and vibrant colour and I felt it added to the fun of the product.
The Mini 70 uses the Instax Mini film and gives you 10 shots per cartridge. It’s really easy to load the cartridges into the camera with the helpful yellow markers and the size of the photos once printed are perfect. They really remind me of the old polaroid photos with the distinctive section at the bottom where you can add a small written memory.
There is a small little mirror on the front of the camera which helps you to take selfies. I am not a huge selfie person but at times this sort of feature could be handy especially with a small baby and being on my own for large chunks of the day. Regardless on the number of selfies you take at some point this could be a useful feature.
There are several different settings on this camera, which again was an improvement on the Mini 8. It has a close up, landscape and a selfie shooting feature. All of these different settings are designed to give you the best possible reproduction of what you are shooting. I have played around a little with these features and they do change the look of the photo, but I am not an expert at this just yet.
The benefits of the Mini 70 for me
I mainly use this camera to capture a memory. I really like having a physical photo of a particular moment rather than just a digital version on my iPhone. In the past I had tried several photo printing apps uploading photos from my phone and receiving prints in the post. But these have never really worked well enough. There have been quality issues with some of the companies I have used and you can never seem to get the right size photos for journaling. The Instax Mini 70 just makes things simpler. I can take photos as and when I want to and straight away I can add it into my journal.
So far I have used the Mini 70 mainly to take photos that in some way relate to my son. I have given some of these photos to relatives, which they have loved, and I have used them in a journal dedicated to document his first weeks, months and year(s). It is something that we can look back at together as a family, but it also means that I am capturing memories and helping to remember big and small things.
I have used the camera at a baby shower taking photos throughout the day and given these to the mum-to-be. This was appreciated quite a lot by the mum-to-be. What I noticed with giving photos to her instantly in this way that was they were looked at more closely than those taken digitally.
What I am trying to highlight is the Instax Mini 70 has very easily found its place. It definitely doesn’t replace my iPhone to take photos, it serves a completely different purpose. My iPhone is still the first and primary tool I use when I want to take a photo, but the Instax Mini 70 makes me take a different set of photos and have physical keep sakes instantly.
The downsides of the Instax Mini 70
Despite my enjoyment of this camera there are some downsides that I have to point out. The benefits of the Mini 70 personally outweigh these negatives but for some people they could be deal breakers.
First up is the size of this camera, it’s pretty big and chunky. This seems obvious, the camera has to be bigger than the photo itself and has to hold a film cartridge which therefore means it’s going to be pretty big. On top of that, it needs to house all of the things to actually make it work. Despite these obvious points I was surprised when I opened the box at its size and initially did wonder how I would lug it around.
Then there is the issue of carrying around enough film. I have a spare cartridge with me most of the time to ensure that I’m not caught short but this adds to the bulk. Because of the restrictions with the film you are forced to think about what sort of photos you are taking a lot more. I have actually enjoyed this part as it’s made me consider what I am looking at, what the best angle for the shot would be and how it could look, but whilst obvious this had to called out.
Lastly the price may be a deal breaker for some people. When searching for an instant camera I was initially drawn to the Instax 90 for its gorgeous retro look. The Instax 90 costs just that little bit more, around the £110 mark. At the time I wasn’t sure how, or even if, I would use this camera enough to justify the outlay so I went for the simpler Mini 70. The Instax Mini 70 costs around £70 which includes one pack of film in the box. Alongside the camera cost you have to consider the cost of actually using the camera. For a single pack of film you would be looking at £10 for 10 shots, however I have found that buying packs in bulk through Amazon means you’re able to get better deals. Recently I picked up 4 cartridges (40 shots) for £26.
I can see the fascination of this modern take on an old fashioned camera. They are more than anything great fun to use. There are obvious downsides but despite all of this I really like this product and I am so glad I took the plunge and bought one.