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May 22, 2018
Instant Photo Prints for Journalling & Scrapbooking
As much as I’m an advocate for analogue over digital living, there are exceptions where technology does a wonderful job of complimenting analogue habits—such as in the case of printing instant photographs for documenting in our analogue journals and scrapbooks.
The thriving popularity and rise of Fujifilm’s Instax business only goes to show that the world is now seeing instant film make its biggest comeback ever. Even the good old Polaroid is showing up again, not only releasing new hardware but continuing to keep its older cameras alive with rather premium-priced film.
The Resurrection of Polaroid-like Cameras & Instant Film
There are so many reasons to love instant film cameras especially when few things can beat what the whole world always wants and that which never goes out of style—you guessed it: instant gratification! Nothing like taking a selfie and getting it printed out right before your very eyes so your mate can get one and so can you, a memory of your shared moment together for keeps. As for other hardcore stationery buffs and Traveler’s Journal users who hang out regularly at cafe meet ups, the convenience of using instant film is just pretty tough to resist!
Whether you want to capture an instantly printed styled frame of that glistening chocolate donut you just had or that dark iced Vienna foamed with a dollop of whipped cream, or maybe just your thousand-watt grin selfie, there’s everything from the various Fujifilm Instax formats to the newly resurrected Polaroids, to the truly analogue Lomography or the (drool) Mint InstantFlex with its signature throwback retro design.
For me personally, I’ve found instant film worth exploring due to my diehard journalling habit and I don’t know about you but the trouble of getting the photo lab to develop my shots for me has proven to be nothing but an irksome chore to say the least!
The Fujifilm Instax & Canon Selphy 1300 for Journalling
Don’t hate me but I happen to own two of these nifty tools recently. We were gifted with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 last Christmas in lime green and that is exactly what we use it for (you guessed it): instant gratification, ha. The drawbacks for me on this one has been the cost of the film which works out to be anywhere between a dollar twenty or more per photo and the less-than-ideal print quality for the price. Well, you can’t always win. Alas, such are the costs of instant gratification!
When I examined my personal needs I realise the ultimate device which would come in handy to support my journalling and memory keeping habit may not just be an instant film camera but perhaps a designated ‘photos only’ printer in the small Polaroid-like size I prefer.
Unleashing Those Lost Photos In My Phone
I also tend to hoard too many photos in my smart phone and the idea that I would finally be able to print photos off my phone instantly or from my digital SLR camera at a click was very appealing to me. I also knew that it would work out to be more economical in the long-term provided it checked all my other boxes: high print quality, lower cost per unit of photo and the option of wireless printing as well as portability for travel.
I found my answer in the Canon Selphy 1300, the predecessor to the Selphy 1200. It’s one of the new compact instant film photo printers available in the market but one I found to be incredibly useful above many others as it’s capable of printing good quality small credit card sized or postcard-sized prints wirelessly from all my devices (computer, phone or camera). It comes with SD card slots and USB ports to enable seamless printing.
Drawbacks? I had to buy additional accessories like the small credit size printing cassette tray which is the smaller tray to hold credit card sized photo paper as the default cassette only fits the larger and typical 4 x 6” photo paper. This printer uses small or larger ink tanks (they come with your photo paper packs) which you insert through the side of the printer. They come in two different sizes to match either of the larger postcard size or smaller-sized prints. There is no need to purchase these ink tanks on their own as these come accompanied with each of your paper packs. Another drawback with these ink tanks is that you'll need to use up any existing ink tank you have previously inserted before switching to print in the alternative size, which I found inconvenient if you wanted to print between sizes on the fly.
Costs Per Photo
When compared to my Instax photo packs, the Canon Selphy 1300 was way more economical for me at about 66 cents per photo for the small credit card format and around 32 cents for the larger 4 by 6 postcard size. I found I could squeeze even more value from the post card size packs if I chose to print 2 smaller photos on the one single postcard sized paper. My main intention is to have the prints smaller anyway as I am using them mostly for scrapbooking in my journals.
The Print Process
I’m fascinated by the way it prints and find myself rather captivated watching the process of the photo paper rolling back and forth from the tray as each process colour (CMYK—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) gets printed one on top of another. I also love the LCD screen display that shows me exactly which colour layer is getting printed and a preview of each of my selections. The same screen can be tilted for easy previewing and from the display screen I was guided through the setup process. Oh, it also only took as quick as less than a minute per print.
Small credit mixed printouts bets for Traveler's Journal Use
I mostly prefer printing using the credit-sized prints as these fit perfectly into my Traveler’s Journal. I find that selecting the printing option with a white border around my photo makes it look more like a Polaroid frame, which I rather like. I only wish it were square rather than rectangular-shaped. There are also fun options to use a photo-booth strip format print using the larger 4 by 6 photo paper which I have yet to experiment with!
I’m also yet to play with creating more collage-like printouts which I will post on our Instagram Feed when I find the time to! Overall, I reckon it’s a pretty user-friendly, good quality and easy-to-use instant home printer that will suffice for me as I document my daily or travel memories. I would rate the quality of the photo prints as pretty good compared to some others I have seen.
My best tip would be to edit your pictures before printing to avoid any disappointment! I usually increase the exposure and brilliance of my photos to get a more vivid print.
To make this printer portable, you will need to purchase a separate battery pack. I am presently using it connected directly to a power point and have set it up to connect wirelessly with my Wi-Fi network. If I were to travel with it, I could also connect directly to the Canon SELPHY itself to print if I haven’t any access to my Wi-Fi router. It’s compatible with Apple AirPrint too, so as an iPhone user myself I can instantly send an image from my iPhone to be printed easily.
Whatever our reason is for wanting to shoot in film again or print instant photos from the comfort of our own space from our devices; despite living in a very digital world and age, it looks as though we’re not going to run out of options soon.
Do you use any of these instant cameras or printers to help with your memory keeping? If you do, share in the comments with others about your personal experiences and tips!
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