Updated: May 1, 2018
After a good deal of research and with some hesitation, I purchased the Fugifilm Instax Wide 300 Camera and several packs of film. The camera is large and ruggedly built but not bulky or clunky. With a limited set of features and controls, it pales in comparison to all the state of the art whiz bang gizmos in your iPhone. But isn't that why I was drawn to the instant film experience, the lack of control-to again introduce an element of randomness and chance back into my photo art!
The film loads easily and the controls are fairly straightforward. A button to turn the flash to "always on", a button to lighten or darken the image, along with a tiny LED screen that indicates if the flash is ready and the number of exposures remaining. There are two focus distances (3 meters to Infinity) and (0.9 meters to 3 meters) Setting them is fairly intuitive. One hiccup is the viewfinder. What you see is not what you get. The wide picture format actually delivers a frame that is wider than what you see in the viewfinder. This takes a little getting used to to deliver a precisely framed image.
The first thing I noticed was how the experience reminded me of the "old days" of shooting film, when your goal was to execute a "perfect" exposure, which has become fairly pointless with the advent of digital raw and Lightroom. The Fugifilm Instax Wide film develops in about two minutes and reminds one of the saturated but soft focus of SX-70 films from 1970s. The shoot was confined to mostly outside landscape subjects in bright sun. In these conditions the film and camera handled well and much better than I expected from my research. The old tried and true rules, "How to Take Better Pictures." applies with is camera. Contrasty scenes will not be properly exposed. Backlit subjects will be dark. These things can't edited away in photoshop. But if you observe these rules The Fugifilm Instax 300 Wide and produce excellent results. (Continued)
In the future, I want to tryout some low light situations and closeups. That will be for another day. So far the results are such that the camera may get some use as a fine art tool.