Use Instax Mini Film in an Old Sheet Film Camera

Looking to do something fun, different, and creative with Fuji Instax Mini film? Have an old sheet film camera you want to play around with? Think that 2.25" x 3.25" is an obsolete film format? Well then... let's explore the possibilities of using Instax film in old cameras.


  • Camera that uses sheet film (I used a Graflex Miniature Speed Graphic).
  • Film holder for said camera (For 2.25" x 3.25" sheet film)
  • One pack of Fuji Instax Mini film
  • Fuji Instax Mini Camera (any model should work
  • A film changing bag, darkroom, or a plastic bag in an interior room (find something that works to keep your film out of the light.)
  • Optional - A light meter, or a camera that will help you determine exposure.

Note that while I have used a 2x3 camera and Fuji Instax Mini, other size cameras (4x5) and the larger Fuji Instax or Polaroid films could also work (perhaps with a bit of tape and ingenuity).

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Step 1: Loading the Film and Taking a Photo

First, you'll need to load some film into your sheet film holder. The video shows it pretty clearly, but here are the basic steps:

  1. Put your Instax film container and your sheet film holder in a darkroom or changing bag.
  2. Open the Instax film container by forcing off the protective plastic sheet through the film slot.
  3. Gently remove two sheets of unexposed Instax film and set them aside. Keep the film facing the correct direction so you know which side needs to be exposed
  4. Prepare your sheet film holder by removing the dark slide, and opening the slot where film is inserted.
  5. Insert the Fuji Instax film with the black or "negative" side facing up. Be sure to keep the film beneath the guide rails which are meant to hold the traditional sheet film in place. Also make sure you have the film rotated the correct way so that the Instax frame is where you want it to be. Don't forget to account for image reversal through a lens.
  6. Reinsert the dark slide, and repeat on the other side of the film holder.
  7. You're ready to go, but remember your pack of Instax film? Keep it handy and keep it in the dark to keep from ruining the other 8 pieces of film in there.

Now lets take some photos:

  1. Determine what you want to take a picture of, and set up your camera on a tripod.
  2. Compose the picture, and focus using the ground glass (or rangefinder if your camera is so equipped).
  3. If you have a light meter, or another camera to help gauge your exposure, set the ISO rating to 800. This is the ISO rating of Fuji Instax film. Determine what aperture and shutter speed you need to get the exposure you want.
  4. Set your camera to those settings.
  5. Insert the film holder in the camera, remove the dark slide, and take the photo.
  6. Reinsert the darkslide and repeat using the other side of the sheet film holder.

Step 2: Developing the Film

Again, the video describes how I develop the film. Basic steps are as follows.

  1. Put your sheet film holder (with exposed film), your Fuji Instax film container from before, and your Fuji Instax Camera in your changing bag or darkroom.
  2. Remove the exposed film from the sheet film holder.
  3. Reinsert the exposed film into the Fuji Instax film container by moving the thin plastic layer out of the way, and sliding the film back into the top of the container. Make sure you have the correct orientation.
  4. Repeat with the second piece of exposed film.
  5. Insert the Fuji Instax film container into your Fuji Instax camera. The camera will "think" that it needs to remove the protective plastic layer that you've already removed, and thus will automatically force the film through the rollers, causing the self-development to start.
  6. To develop and eject the second piece, simply open the door of the Fuji Instax Camera and close it again.
  7. Wait for your film to develop, and view your photos!

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    8 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Your grandfather's camera looks very much like a Century Graphic. Does it have a Bakelite body?


    1 year ago

    Great! Am about to check the dimensions of Instax wide.


    1 year ago

    If you want to use your grandfathers classic film camera with actual film do what I do--buy surplus/expired Xray film--depending on the type you can work under red or green safelight. Make a cardboard template of 6x9cm (2x3) and cut the xray film to fit under safelight. It's usually 100-200 ISO and develops normal looking negs using standard developers like D76 etc

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks dkeating! I've heard of using X ray film before but never tried it. Does the image quality compare pretty well with "normal" black and white film? And where do you get it?

    Also, since I made this, I've also discovered that freestyle photographic sells black and white 2.25 X 3.25 film under the Arista EDU brand. Haven't bought some yet, but hoping to do so and try my hand at tray-developing some film.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Hi Edward,

    I get the xray film from ebay or if good deals cannot be found there CSXonline has new stock, Blue or Green sensitive film works

    $32 for a 100 sheet box of 8x10 --you have a red safelight and do the trimming under that and you can develop it visually under the safelight like you would a print. They also have xray developer for about $20 a gallon--I dilute that 1:40 to get normal contrast--extract out 5ml from the gallon & add to 8oz water. Xray film has emulsion on both sides so it does scratch easily--warning there. 100 8x10 sheets would cut down to 400 4x5 or close to 700 2x3's . That puts your cost at about .04 cents a frame. Here are some samples of Xray film from a 4x5 view camera. One is a scan from a negative and the other is a cell phone snap of a contact print made from an xray neg and a pic of an actual neg from a 9x12 russian Photokor camera from the 30's

    halfsize.pngtoyo_d23fixed.jpgxray film.jpg

    Reply 1 year ago

    PS.. as you cut the film put it in a dark bag--keep the exposure to the safelight under 10 minutes or cut as you need & put the rest away. A red safelight is OK for blue or green sensitive xray film . A green safelight is needed for newspaper recording film. For safelights I use a short strand of red LED's a few feet away


    1 year ago

    I would imagine that optionally you would not need the instaxx camera. You could probably take the exposed sheets back in the darkroom and use a steel roller or kitchen rolling pin to do the trick of busting the membrane and start development