The Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 is one of my very favorite cameras. Sure it's a big ol' tank of a thing, and a pain to lug around, but it's utterly unique and an absolute joy to use… so why hasn't Fujifilm updated it?
I'm an absolute slut for instant cameras. I own the gimmicky Instax Mini Hello Kitty, for heaven's sake. But the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 isn't just a gimmick; in fact, I would put it in the same category with the Olympus PEN-F, Hasselblad X2D and Fujifilm X-Pro3 as cameras that are just plain fun to take photographs with.
Unlike most other instant cameras, it uses the unique 'medium format equivalent' Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 film – which is double the size of, for example, Instax Mini film. So the prints you get are large, and great quality. In some ways, the 300 makes me feel like I'm using a Polaroid Land camera from back in the day.
So then, given how great it is, how come this camera hasn't been updated in eight years? Okay, there was a new (and rather fetching) Toffee colorway released in 2020, but aside from the cosmetic upgrade the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 hasn't changed since its release back in 2015.
Now, admittedly, the 300 is a pretty evolved version of the Instax Wide series, so it's not like the wheel is going to be reinvented. However, there are some changes that could be experimented with.
I miss the central placement of the flash, last seen in the Instax 100 back in 1999. Heck, even moving the viewfinder more to the middle would help with composition. The 95mm f/14 lens is the same one that debuted in 1999, so I wouldn't mind a faster option.
The f/12.8 variant seen in the Instax 500 AF would be interesting – as would that camera's autofocus system, to be fair. And with the likes of the Mint Instantkon RF70 featuring a 93mm f/5.6, I'm sure it's not beyond Fujifilm to invest in a much brighter lens.
The main thing, though, would be an integrated close-up lens. This is something that has been implemented since the Instax Mini 11, and is sorely needed here – I'm sick of fiddling with the finicky close-up attachment!
And while there are plenty of advantages to using old-school batteries, I think it's time to replace those four bulky AAs with an integrated rechargeable one now – which should enable Fujifilm to shave size and weight off the camera, too.
Come on, Fujifilm – I'd love to see more than just a fresh coat of paint for this workhorse of yours. Give us a new one with a couple more bells and whistles… I'll be right there in line to buy one!
If you're a fan of the best instant cameras, you might be asking "What type of instant film do I need?" And don't forget to check out the best digital instant cameras, too, along with the best portable printers – some of which "print" onto real Instax film.