Instax

Discussion in 'Extreme, Retro, Instant and More' started by glen_h, Feb 20, 2020.

  1. I posted this to the Facebook "Vintage Film Shooters" group, but thought
    it could also go here.

    This is with 8 year old Instax wide film. The pattern of white bars seems
    to not depend on the film pack, as it had a similar pattern with the last
    (and only by the time I got it) shot from the previous pack.

    It looks like bad rollers. As far as I can tell, they have a black
    coating on them that might have worn off on spots. Unless
    they aren't supposed to have a black coating on them. instax000.jpeg
     
  2. To clarify, was the film shot 8 years ago and this problem was noticed recently (not on the print originally) or is the film 8 years old and this is a defect of a print exposed recently?

    The two bars on the right may be a roller issue, but with the size of instax wide film and the size of the rollers I would expect to see more repeating defects over the height of the print. On the left, it seems like a plain case of opacification failure, the irregularity gives it away. The white titanium dioxide layer did not spread evenly and light was able to expose the negative while it was developing. While this could be a roller issue, I would suspect it more likely to be a chemistry issue, especially if the film is indeed 8 years old. In my experience, Fuji instant films have very good longevity (especially compared to Polaroid Originals) but I think close to a decade is pushing it a bit.

    If you had another instax wide camera to try, that would clear up any uncertainty as to whether it is a chemistry or roller issue.
     
  3. I should say that all instant film rollers I have seen (Fuji or Polaroid) are made of machined stainless steel. If yours do indeed have a coating, and it has some thickness to it (in other words not just paint) and this layer is no longer even, then this could indeed cause the issues you are seeing.
     
  4. The two white spots on the right easily can be seen to have the roller circumference spacing.

    The part on the left is harder to see, but it is repeatable (between shots), and also has the
    same repeating pattern.

    Also, the pattern is visible on the back while (and after) they develop.

    I don't know yet how to get the rollers out, maybe to clean them.
    They look like they are coated with a black rubbery material.
    This is an Instax 210 camera. I might get a different one to try.
     
  5. If it's visible on the back then it is definitely opacification failure, as the instax films are exposed from the back and then have a black carbon opacification layer that is spread from the rollers. If the back isn't completely black after coming through the rollers, then the opacification layer is letting light through. If the rollers are not even, the opacification layer won't be spread consistently.

    I have used a couple of instax backs to do conversions of Polaroid cameras. On the cameras I have seen, not a 210 specifically, the rollers are accessible but not easily. Normally part of the body housing needs to be removed and then the rollers themselves are retained in part of the molded plastic body by spring clips. I would guess the assumption is that the average user won't be cleaning them regularly.
     
  6. The Polaroid pack films would often enough leak chemicals onto the rollers,
    which then dry and cause problems.

    The integral films of Polaroid and Fuji normally don't leak.

    Still, I will have to see if I can get a better idea of what it is doing.
     
  7. OK, so try to clean the black stuff off. It looked like it was so well distributed, but now that
    I look closer, maybe not. Using isopropanol, some starts to come off!

    At first I thought it was a rubbery friction increasing material, but it seems not.
    It comes off with isopropanol, but pretty slowly. After some time, though, I get:

    instax002.jpeg

    The white spots on the right are still there, but most of the left is clear!
     
    steve_gallimore|1 likes this.
  8. I also tried acetone last night, after the isopropanol, but that didn't do anything at all.

    Thinking about it later, many things are more soluble in acetone, but the things that aren't
    are often water soluble. So today I try water on it! That is what works. It is still
    amazingly black as it comes off. Yesterday, I was using paper towels, which got black,
    but not super black, but with water they get very black.

    After not so long, they look pretty clean. Note that I didn't figure out how to get them out,
    but there is a little plastic protector with a slot that comes off, and then you get pretty
    good access.

    instax003.jpeg

    The black spots aren't on the picture, but seem to be on the scanner. I should clean them off.

    As above, this is almost 8 year old film.

    It does look a little blue on the left, maybe that is where I touched it while developing.
    Or maybe the real effect of old film. One pack down, though.

    Also, the chemicals don't get all the way to the upper corners, but pretty close.
     
  9. Good work!

    I think that the shots on expired film look less saturated / lower contrast than I'd expect for Instax, no?

    Also, white cat on a black piano = nightmare metering scenario
     
  10. I haven't used Instax before, so I don't have much to compare it with.

    The cat is with flash, but yes not easy to meter.
    The 210 has only two choices for focus, and I don't know how it meters flash.
     
  11. Nor do I, I'd be very interested to find out though.

    My understanding currently is that the aperture is fixed, so exposure is controlled by varying the shutter duration. The 'lighten/darken' control on my Instax Wide 300 presumably biases the shutter speed 1/2 a stop or so faster or slower. So far so good...

    But how does the lighten/darken control work with the flash? Or is the flash simply balanced for a subject at around 2 metres distance and 'lighten' is equivalent to dragging the shutter / slow sync?

    I find this camera an intriguing puzzle.

    I've calculated a guide table to allow the instax to be easily used with a speedlight, not extensively tested it, but early results suggest it's not far off. I can send a copy if you like.

    Somewhere online I also found the actual focal distances for the two focus settings.
     
  12. Theory says that it should be the harmonic mean of the two distances.
     
  13. OK, now I have an Instax 300 with, again, 8 year old film.
    The rollers seem clean, and the prints come out fine:

    instax007.jpeg
     

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