Ask Adrian: Our tech editor tackles your trickiest technology problems
Q: I am getting married soon and - as well as official photographs - we'd like to have my brother take pictures of us and our guests with an instant camera on the day.
It would be nice to have 20 or 30 pictures to look at when the day is at an end. We know there are new kinds of Polaroid, but are these the best option? The pictures need to be of a decent size (not too tiny) and of course the cost is a factor.
A You have two main choices. The first is an instant camera like Fuji's Instax Wide 300 (€135).
It takes slightly bigger photos than the standard instant camera photos - something close to a 5x3 photo. However, there's a price to be paid. Because the prints are bigger, the film is over twice as expensive, around €25 for 10 shots.
By comparison, paper for the bestselling instant camera on the market - Fuji's Instax Mini 9 (€79) - typically costs around €12 for 10 shots. Then again, those shots are half the size.
There is another option: an instant mini-printer. This is about the same size as a smartphone and prints out the best shots from your phone.
One that I've become attached to is Fuji's new Instax SP-3 (€199). It prints square photos (2.5 x 2.5 inches) on Polaroid-style paper (3.5 x3 inches) with large white borders around the actual picture. I know this may be a little smaller than you were hoping, but you gain in the quality of the prints and your ability to blow up the photo before printing.
Colours are comparatively well treated, even if there's a certain amount of 'washed-outness', meaning that the system defaults to a brightly exposed standard. But you'll get that from any instant camera print.
The square framing looks terrific and the overall finish is superb.
It takes between 10 and 15 seconds from when you tap 'print' on your phone to when you have the print in your hand (plus around another 60 to 90 seconds until it's fully developed).
The replacement paper-cartridge combinations are €11 for 10 sheets or €20 for 20 sheets. But because you're printing from carefully selected shots (maybe already edited), you're unlikely to waste much of it. Your money will arguably go further. This is doubly so as you might use the printer another time soon, such as on your honeymoon.
Another advantages to this mini-printer is that it can take shots directly from your social feeds (via the free Instax app for your phone) if you want to print the photos out that way.
Of course, there is a big basic difference in using a mini-printer like this. On one hand, you're getting a much more deliberate, edited photo, one that's probably of higher overall quality. That's good, right?
However, an instant camera is much more ephemeral and spontaneous: there's no filtering or editing. You get one shot and then you have a print.
While those like to have maximum control may not prefer it, there's a certain magic to this that you don't quite get with pre-approved photos from your social feed or your phone. So it's really up to you as to how you want your photos to emerge on the big day.
RECOMMENDATION: Fuji Instax SP-3 (€199, pictured)
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