Professional wedding and lifestyle photographer Antony Hands is an avid instax user who recently took the new instax mini LiPlay on a weekend away in Sydney. Here’s how he got on with the latest instax family member!
I received my new instax mini LiPlay just in time for a planned trip to Sydney so I decided to put it through its paces. I am a professional photographer and use the Fujifilm X Series range of digital cameras for work, but decided to challenge myself by capturing the whole day on the LiPlay.
One of the huge advantages of the mini LiPlay over most of the other instax cameras is the ability to shoot away and print your images later - or print multiple copies of an image if you wish. This was great as it enabled me to just enjoy taking images without having to worry about running out of film or managing my images as the day progressed.
My day started at Milson’s Point, just across the Harbour from the famous Sydney Opera House, where you can capture one of the most iconic views of Sydney, with the city framed by the span of the Harbour Bridge. I found that the wide angle lens of the Mini LiPlay was ideal for capturing the full span of the Harbour Bridge.
From there I walked across the bridge taking images as I crossed. The live view LCD screen on the back of the mini LiPlay meant I could frame the images while holding the camera through the safety mesh on the bridge, something that wasn’t possible to do with the other instax mini cameras.
Halfway across the bridge I came across some ‘love locks’ where people had placed padlocks on the safety mesh, commemorating their visit to Sydney. The amazing ability of the LiPlay to focus on very close subjects, and that advantage of seeing my exact framing before shooting, helped me perfectly frame the Opera House alongside these locks to achieve the exact composition I wanted.
As I got towards the City end of the bridge I passed the Sirius building, a famous building designed in the Brutalist style. The play of the light on the side of the building really caught my eye and the high contrast scene looked great captured on the LiPlay.
As I spent the day wandering around the City, I took dozens of photos and the mini LiPlay never skipped a beat. The ability to adjust exposure by up to 2 stops in either + or - direction meant that I could get the exact look I wanted when shooting, and the image colour and detail captured was fantastic. Best of all, the autofocus meant I didn’t need to remember to set my camera to landscape mode before taking a picture. The compact size of the LiPlay meant that I could just carry it in my hand, capturing images as I went, trying different angles to get the best shot and having fun with it.
After a brief visit by ferry to Luna Park for some twilight images it was back to Circular Quay for the evening. In my opinion the LiPlay handles lower light levels considerably better than my other instax mini cameras, due to its fast f/2.4 lens and high maximum ISO of 1600. Low light images and handheld nighttime cityscapes were a breeze, and I was genuinely surprised by how great the prints looked!
The final image of the day was taken on my phone, as I took the elevator at Macquarie Park Station. I loved the symmetry of the escalators, and snapped the shot as the elevator quickly rose. Later I used the LiPlay app to print the image straight from my phone through the camera, and I love the printed result.
In an exciting new development, the instax mini LiPlay also has the ability to record sound as the image is being taken, or even afterwards to use as photo notes, or to send someone a greeting. You can listen to the sound, and if you wish you can have the camera upload the sound using the mini LiPlay app and print a QR code on the film, enabling people to scan the code, and hear the recording. It’s a unique feature and will be a lot of fun to use! (Scan the QR code on the image below)
I really enjoyed the experience of using the instax mini LiPlay and I was pleased by the way I felt able to explore my creativity, without having to worry about wasting or running out of film. Overall I feel that the LiPlay is a fabulous instax camera to keep with you as a daily carry. The combination of its compact size, good image quality and the ability to view your images before printing all means you are more free than ever before to capture your life on film. If that wasn’t enough, the ability to print images directly from your phone takes the LiPlay to a whole new level.
Antony Hands is a professional photographer and avid instant film user. You can see more of his instant photography on Instagram @myinstantimages.
Download the instax mini LiPlay app to add sound to your images, use the remote shooting feature, create frame shortcuts and print directly from your smartphone.