Instax: Full Colour vs. Monochrome

Undoubtedly, one of the best things about using an instant camera is waiting for each exposure to develop.

Will it be a good one?

Will it be blurry? Overexposed? Underexposed?

Will it be better than I hoped?

When using the Lomo’Instant Wide for the first time, I was completely blown away by the detail in each photograph given that this Lomography camera uses the same film as the Instax Wide 300 and the Mini 8 + 9 cameras (in half the size) which is produced and sold by Fujifilm. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to try out other kinds of film, so I rushed to Amazon to buy my old favourite: Monochrome.


My first instant camera was a baby pink Instax Mini 8. I used it to death and continue to use it still.

However, each exposure, regardless of the time of day and volume of light in the space being photographed, would usually turn out to be hellishly over-exposed. In particular, people’s faces to the point where my future children will likely look at my old portfolio and ask how old we were when our noses finally started to grow.

To begin with, the brightness didn’t bother me too much as I was attracted to the novelty of the camera more than anything, and a little overexposure seemed to be “the look” famously synonymous with the original Polaroids.

That saying, it did start to get rather frustrating when I got over the novelty of photographing friends and family at parties and wanted to start capturing some scenic shots outside and close up. The only sort of film that was guaranteed to have the right level of contrast was the mini monochrome film by Instax. The Mini monochrome film is particularly good at capturing peoples’ faces and smiles.

Within no time I found myself treasuring each shot as every exposure developed to reveal attractive, chemical greatness.

I wish I could say the same for the Wide alternative.



I photographed the same outdoor location using the same lighting settings and lens with both the monochrome film and the full-colour film less than an hour apart. The difference is immediately apparent between the two.



Perhaps the Lomo’Instant Wide isn’t suited to black and white film but having now finally trudged through the 10 exposures in the cassette I won’t be rushing to buy it again for this camera. After the first two shots turned out a little off-focus, I began to wonder whether it actually was my incompetency or the film not agreeing with the device at hand. Every photograph I took seemed a little dull, a little too overexposed, and lacked in focus and sharpness even whilst shooting with a closer lens and the flash on.


The one good thing about the monochrome film was the silhouette effects it produced. It made for some spooky shots which were quite nice. Again, though, they did lack that level of sharpness that I like most about using the camera.



I won’t rule out buying monochrome film completely as I didn’t do any sort of head shot using this camera but I would definitely be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.