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Instant success

You pronounce it ree-RA koo-MA

I’ve been commenting it in both instagram and twitter these days, and maybe there’s not that much to it than what it is, but I keep perplexed at the fact that, according to data provided by them, the most sold camera at Amazon this Xmas was the Fuji Instax Mini, and at the moment of writing this post, still is. If this is true, this is mindblowing.

Before you guys go three hoorays for the analog revival and crack open your Dom Perignon bottles, please take into account that this is no hard data (because Amazon doesn’t provide these) and that, if it is true, there might be a number of factors influencing it besides a surge of interest on instant photography. This said, it is undeniable that them guys at Fujifilm have been doing their homework extra hard. They really trusted in a breed of photography that its own creators, Polaroid, thought as good as extinct and made a ton of cash out of it. Good for them and for us, analog afficionadoes.

I would really love seeing that raw data from Amazon because I’m totally sure that if you made a graphic of compact digital cameras over ten years, we would see the line sinking steadily since a few years ago and more steeply since 2015. Since mobile phone cameras are getting better and better there are fewer and fewer reasons to buy a low end digital compact camera, which would more or less be in the same price range of the Instax Mini. Speaking of what: at less than $60 in 2017 are a total steal. I mean, look at how much a used Polaroid from the 80s costs: for more or less the same you can have a new Instax that, to the average Joe, looks infinitely cooler under the Christmas tree than a refurbished piece of junk from the black plastic era. The Instax mini is really aggressively priced.

Coolness, we said. If we think about low end digital compacts as the main competitor of the Instax Mini, the coolness factor is totally on the side of the Instax. I mean, not like as in “it won for a few inches” but as in “Instax wins, FATALITY”. The fact that by picking a dumb camera, loading it with a foolproof cartridge of film, and with totally no photography knowledge, you can point, shoot and have a physical picture in your hands is totally unbeatable by anything digital. “Just press the button, we do the rest”: with this slogan Kodak sold cameras by the millions, but Polaroid was the first to make it true with integral film cameras.

As for the cameras themselves, I won’t lie: I find them rather dull. They’re quite foolproof in the sense that you can’t get it wrong: point, shoot, picture. They’re not exciting cameras in the sense that a Polaroid SX-70 was, but hey, what is? They do the job, I guess. To be true: this Instax Mini fad really is something I didn’t think could happen and here’s for my market prediction abilities.

In the picture above, you can see Baron I’s very own Instax mini. As, like I said before, I find Instaxes quite boring, I had to get one with something extra. Extra in the way that a transvestite is a woman with something extra. A macho edition with macho stickers, because you have to be real alpha, with a thick moustache and a hairy chest like Tom Selleck to take pictures with it not losing one iota of manliness. Baron I is a man like this.

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