Two New Instax Backs on Kickstarter
There may be some debate over the future of roll film and sheet film, but there is no debate over the meteoric rise of instant film, and in particular FujiFilm’s super accessible, kid-friendly Instax line up
No other film system has seen so ny new releases in recent memory (although that might be changing), including new film (Instax mini and wide Monochrome), an entirely new system (Instax Square), new cameras (Instax Mini 90, 70, 8, 9, Instax Wide 300, Lomo’Instant, Leica Sofort, Lomo’Instant Automat, Instax Square SQ-1, etc) and even printers (Instax SP-2 and SP-3). And all of this has been met with something not commonly seen in the world of film – mainstream success.
However, you may have noticed a theme with these products – most of these are very much “amateur” or “consumer” products. Sure, there’s nothing stopping an enthusiast or professional using an Instax mini 90, or an SP-2 printer to quickly run off some “Polaroid Style” prints, but none of these products are actively courting or targetted towards the professional or enthusiast market. Even the Lomo’Instant series of cameras, which goes halfway towards offering some degree of manual controls and interchangeable lenses, is really just a toy camera at heart.
Enter the “Hasselblad Square Format Film Back” by Alexander Dobbie, and Rezivot who are making both an Instax Square back, as well as an Instax Wide back. These backs, if they come to fruition, will allow the use of Instax film on a number of classic cameras, which will be the first seriously professional-grade instant film option since the demise of FP-100C.
The “Hasselblad Square Instant Film Back” is a hand-cranked, fully manual Instax Square back for Hasselblad V-series medium format cameras. As the Kickstarter says, Peel-Apart may be gone, but this is the next best thing. Instax Square film, at 6.2x6.2cm, also happens to very closely match the hasselblad’s approximately 5.6x5.6cm image size. Because of the slight size mis-match, and the fact that the Hasselblad’s body shape stops the image being centred, this means all of your images will feature a black bar on two sides.
Sadly I think this will drastically limit the appeal of this product to either test-shoots or people who can look past the “ugly black bars”. I just can’t see too many people using this to create their “final product”; their art. It won’t matter in some circumstances, but for many the black bars will be nothing but a distraction.
Unfortunately the same goes for Rezivot’s Instax Square back, the difference being that Rezivot’s will be a motorized model. What I believe looks more interesting is Rezivot’s Instax Wide option, which will allow the use of Instax Wide film (with a 99x62mm image size) on Polaroid 600 SE/Mamiya Universal cameras, or 4x5″ large format cameras, which will be very close to FP-100C’s image size of 95x73mm (61 vs 69 square cm). Like Rezivot’s Instax Square back this back is also motorized.
I can see real potential for this product, not just for the traditional role of Peel-Apart Polaroid film – as a test material – but also as a medium and a tool to create your film product; your artwork. The instax wide format, particularly when coupled with a nice portable camera like the Polaroid 900 conversions for example, would make a great alternative for the traditional Polaroid Peel-Apart user.
Now, whether or not either of these projects will reach their Kickstarter goals is a different question.