Okay, so I managed to pick up a five pack (50 photos) of expired Fuji Instax Mini film at a Salvation Army second-hand store, for $NZ3, which was too much of a bargain to pass up. The fact that I didn't have an Instax camera wasn't even a consideration, given that a single pack of 10 cost between NZ$15 - NZ$20. I figured that what I was saving on film, I could use on a camera. Fortunately, purely by chance, a local department store was selling the 7s at about 30% off recommended retail (with batteries and a pack of film included), plus 'buy one, get one free' on film, so I also have 'fresh' film to use.
Step 1: A Fun Fuji, But...
To be honest, the camera is a bit difficult to handle... it has lots of lovely curves, but I found my shutter button finger instinctively going over the viewfinder when I grabbed the camera out of my bag. I found it a bit unbalanced and the handgrip didn't offer much in the way of grip. I thought the wrist strap provided was a bit crap too.
Whilst I was thinking about possibly ways to improve the handling of the 7s, I was also thinking of ways I could improve the fun aspect of it.
Step 2: Stopping My Finger From Obscuring the Viewfinder
ah yes, the viewfinder... something most modern cameras don't have any more, but I prefer to squint through the viewfinder than use a screen, so it is annoying when I find my finger constantly obscuring the viewfinder due to the unusual location of the shutter button and the off-centre balance of the camera.
Solution? Some sort of clever device to be a physical barrier between the top of the shutter button and the bottom of the viewfinder.
Now this clever device had to be curved (lots of curves on the 7s!), and not obscure the viewfinder (too much).
As luck would happen, a 35mm film container has a similar curved surface below the viewfinder, so I carefully cut a small piece, and used double sided tape to hold it in place (I used double sided tape,so that I could adjust/ remove as necessary, if this design works well, I'll attach it permanently with epoxy adhesive)
Conclusion: Yeah, it sort of works.
Step 3: Getting a Grip (Version One)
I found the plastic on the 7s, combined with the location of it's centre of gravity, make it quite difficult to hold (and contributes to the finger over the viewfinder problem). When shooting a landscape, I feel as if the camera will fall out of my hand.
Solution? Some sort of grippy adhesive tape, attached to the handgrip.
I had originally planned to use grip tape for bicycle handles or sports equipment, but the prices were a bit too high for what I needed it for, so the next best option available was duct tape.
Conclusion: Not particularly pretty, but it did provide a bit of extra grip.
Step 4: Strap On
Usually when I'm taking photographs, I'm doing other things which necessitate the use of both hands. The crappy little wrist-strap just didn't cut the mustard, and having a camera of this size and weight hanging off the wrist is not ideal.
Solution? Add a strap (duh!)
I have a few extra camera straps sitting in my photographic bits box, but decided to use a spare lanyard instead. Easily attached to the existing strap.
Conclusion: Works well, doesn't get in the way. easier to attach than a standard camera strap.
Step 5: Getting Grippy With It (Version Two)
So I wasn't too happy with the duct tape solution to the slippery grip problem, but I wasn't going to pay NZ$16 for a role of tennis racket grip tape.
Solution? Browsing through a local $2 Shop, I came across this packet of anti-slip tape for steps. Good Quality 100% for $2.
I cut a few pieces to fit the handgrip - front and back, and also a small piece for the shutter button - hopefully this will make it easier for my finger to stay there, and not cover the viewfinder.
Conclusion: Better than the duct tape. The curved surfaces don't exactly make it easy to stick this stuff one smoothly. May be a bit rough on the hands. Looks a bit more professional than duct tape.
Step 6: Add a Writing Instrument.
Of course you can't shoot instant photos and not write the date or a small message on the border of the photo.
Solution? A 'Sharpie' Mini attached to the lanyard.
Conclusion: Gets in the way a little, but easiest place to put it.
Step 7: Next Steps
I want to integrate a flash filter holder, but I haven't quite figured out the best and simplest was to do it. Any suggestions, folks?