Photographer Nick Luna Reviews the Jollylook Instant Camera
I waited patiently for several years to get my hands on the Jollylook camera. I missed the Kickstarter campaign by only a couple weeks but I did my best to stay informed, from the failings with the Chinese factory to the final relocation to Ukraine and ultimately my own Jollylook arriving 3 weeks ago via Amazon.
Getting the Jollylook
The camera arrived, along with 2 cassettes containing a total of 20 shots of Fuji Instax mini film and I’ve never been more in love with a camera. The camera itself is extremely easy to use due to its simplicity but at the same time extremely difficult. It touts itself as a toy but after firing 20 shots in color and 20 in black and white I disagree.
It’s made from recycled paper and cardboard and has a very unique look and feel. The camera operation is a lot like an old Kodak pocket camera but is more limited in use. The instant film comes in 800 ISO (the film’s sensitivity to light) and with only two shutter speeds (1/150 and 1/250) the camera requires a certain knowledge of F-stop to expose your photos properly.
The Good and The Bad
Now to the bad. The cost of the camera is anywhere between 60.00 and 70.00 dollars USD depending on where you purchase it from and the film itself is almost 1.00 dollar a shot (though that price goes down when you buy in bulk) The other issue I had was with the shutter system. The actual shutter works fine, it’s the light curtain that fails here. It’s a simple five-minute fix but it’s worth noting. I did a video on my YouTube channel explaining the fix as well as a video on how to use the Jollylook camera.
How Does it Stack Up?
Personally, as a professional photographer and someone that loves analog cameras and the wonder of something odd but beautiful I will give the camera an 8/10. Its performance is what I expected when I bought the camera, and the challenge it gives me is something I completely love and enjoy. But that’s my personal feelings, as a consumer, I would rate it 7/10. The difference in rating comes from the cost to buy, cost to use and the fault with the light curtain (which is extremely common) and the difficulty with using a camera that requires moderate exposure knowledge to get the most out of it.
Overall, the camera gives you a unique way to learn exposure and the basics of how Photography works. It requires a lot of discipline and patience to get great shots which makes the ones you get all that much more rewarding. compared to the other instant cameras on the market it’s on the lower end price-wise but other than the one issue I’ve had and fixed, it’s quality is very good. So let’s average it all down to a good solid 7.5/10.