First, product intros were news. Then, they became events. Some product introductions are now so important, so epochal, so popular with the public, so deeply meaningful to the culture, that they carry everything before them: they become the talk of the day, the marker buoys in the sailboat race, the sun shining in our shared sky. You know what I'm talking about.
...I'm talking, of course, about Fuji Instax Mini Monochrome film. Be still, my heart—is black-and-white coming back?
The biggest sea change in photography in my lifetime is the wholesale change from B&W to color. B&W is fast becoming dated as the marker of a certain time period in history. Like old cartes-de-visite stacked in antiques-slash-junk stores or old ferrotyped 8x10s with hard lighting. Robert Frank said "black and white are the colors of photography," but color is the color of now.
Now I just have to go figure out what the hell an "Instax" is...that is, what kind of camera it is that can use Fuji Instax Mini Monochrome film. Because right now I have no idea. I don't pay attention. But then, I haven't heard of a lot of things—I don't exactly have my thumb on the pulse of pop culture. For instance, the only up-and-coming star under age twenty I've ever heard of is Ansel Elgort, and that's only because he's the son of fashion photographer Arthur Elgort, who, obviously, named his kid after a photographer.
Oh, and by the way, one more thing...the Apple iPhone 7 was introduced yesterday. The significance of that refresh is almost wholly photographic—the iPhone 7 Plus marks the first time an Apple smartphone has had multiple camera modules on the back. It has two 12-MP cameras, one with a 28mm-equivalent lens like earlier iPhones and another with a 56mm-e lens. I just heard about this too, so I'm no expert, but it looks like this allows you to do two things: first, you can switch between the two lenses with a screen tap, and second, when you pinch-zoom on a wide picture, the software changes to the 56mm-e capture when you zoom past 2X, giving you better quality in the zoomed image.
Quite neat, and a significant development for mainstream smartphone photography. This is only going to continue, so watch this space.
(Thanks to Oren Grad)
[UPDATE: I might also point out that this was the first day that the Fuji X-T2 was in stock at vendors...for about 17 seconds, which was how long it took for the available stock to sell out. (I exaggerate, but not by much.) The camera will be back in stock in a month or two. Meanwhile, if you want one, you can get in line here. —Mike (thanks to Stephen Scharf)]
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Phil Service: "For what it's worth, Phil Schiller did manage to reveal (without fanfare) the fact that the iPhone will also be able to save images in raw (DNG) format. This is actually a feature of the forthcoming iOS 10. Apparently raw capture will also be possible with the iPhones 6s, 6s Plus, and SE, according to this page from Apple."
Bill C: "Fuji Instax cameras have been around for quite some time now, but recently have really surged in popularity. My 13-year-old daughter and her friends delight in shooting through packs of instant film, which of course I encourage with a smile. She is as excited as anyone with the B&W film announcement. Favorite Instax cameras are the Fuji Instax 70 and the Lomo'Instant [sic] Camera."
John Krumm: "I bought my daughter a Fuji wide Instax, and even with mandatory auto flash and no exposure control it's a lot of fun. I hope they make a wide version of the new film. I saw one of these Fuji based Lomography cameras in a store and it offers a little more control."
Dennis: "By the way, coming round full circle, have you ever read anything about the Huawei P9 phone? It came out earlier this year and features dual cameras—both lenses are the same, but one of the sensors is monochrome. Robin Wong has a nice article about it about in which he compares high-res crops of shots taken in monochrome mode versus color shots converted to monochrome. I didn't see any news that it will be available in the U.S., though."
Peter Wright: "My suggestion for the best camera to use with Fuji Instax Monochrome film would be the (available from B&H) MiNT InstantFlex TL70 2.0, which is a true TLR with a full range of shutter speeds and apertures. According to the overview, 'the twin lens reflex design avails a waist-level optical viewfinder for composing and focusing'—Even the language is retro. But I don't have one (yet)."
Eamon Hickey: "Funny, I've long dreamed of making a compact dual-range fixed lens camera with exactly two available focal lengths: 28mm and 55mm equivalent. I was not smart enough to imagine attaching a phone/computer to it. Dang."
karamanoğlu: "Well-known (if Instagram follower count means anything) [6-year-old] Instax practitioner. Dad is a NatGeo shooter, which might have some bearing."
Mike replies: Good find! That's Aaron Huey's kid. I've written about and linked to Aaron several times on TOP.