Sorry I haven't been posting much this year, just dealing with writing weekly papers for a master's program. Makes it tough to want to write something else! But, here, now, I am. Previously I chatted up the Konica Instant Press, one of the few professional alternatives to the Polaroid 180/185/190/195 (I can't believe that was over a year ago). I have since sold the Konica, as I found it a bit too finicky and somewhat fragile for my tastes. There is one other camera to offer some competition for these cameras...the Fuji Fotorama FP-1 Professional. This camera has more information on the front of the camera than any other camera I've seen, I think. Throughout this article, I will occasionally compare the FP-1 to the Konica, as they are the two main alternatives to the Polaroid cameras, and more similar to each other than other instant cameras. And many who are looking for a somewhat rare alternative to a 180 or 195 will most likely look at these two cameras. There is also an excellent review of the FP-1 on filmwasters.com.
The camera is opened from a button on the top.
When looking through the viewfinder, you see guidelines, one for infinity and one for the closest setting.
As far as size goes, it isn't small, but no peel-apart camera is.
So the Konica does have some advantages over the Fuji, but which do I prefer after using both? I'd have to say the FP-1. It has a more solid feel than the Konica. The Konica bellows were paper thin, and while no bellows are free from the risk of leaks (I actually am pretty sure there is a leak somewhere in the FP-1 bellows), the Konica bellows were particularly weak. And I never really felt like I was enjoying using the Konica...it was always doing something weird and it was awkward to shoot. The FP-1 feels natural in my hands, and has very comfortable grips on both sides of the camera. I was worried about the focusing dial, but it's really quite easy to use. I shot more packs through the FP-1 in one day than I did the entire year I owned the Konica. Price is similar, expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $1500 for either camera. The Fuji FP-1 is a bit easier to find than the Konica. It is newer and there were probably more of them made. You can find an FP-1 in like new condition, as I did, with very little trouble.
So, after all that, how does it shoot? I ran three kinds of film through it. First I did three packs of 664. Because I wasn't using a filter on it, I didn't want to waste my ID-UV and 669, so I wanted films that work well without the ND filter and were easy to control exposure-wise. I love 664 and it shot very well in the camera with its low contrast ways. Sharp yet soft at the same time. This was around 250 and f11.