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instantphoto.eu              ESCURA INSTANT 60s
 
 

The ESCURA INSTANT 60s is a simple, but stylish Instant camera for Fuji Instax Mini film. It was a Kickstarter project. Launched end October 2018 it was financed in only 4 days and should have been delivered in Spring 2019. During the campaign they added an extra finder for free and proposed add-ons as a matching flash. Until mid January 2018 all seemed fine.

Production test end February showed that all was fine...except the lens. Sharpness wasn't too good and it had heavy vignetting, so they had to look for a solution which meant a delay. By the month of May update some backers were disappointed, but the makers continued and proposed a 2-element lens instead of the initial single lens with no extra costs, however it would be a major delay. During Summer an additional rollers problem surfaced, but they still continued. By September the first final camera was assembled, the rollers were re-worked another time. Finally in  November shipment started, because of the Hong Kong protests with some more delay. Early december my camera was shipped. French customs kept it for nearly a month. It was delivered early January 2020. Most of the backers were very supportive, the perseverance of the makers and their information policy were adorable. I have known Kickstarter projects that were abandoned, but these people kept their promise.

But in the end I got a faulty camera. They had promised customer service. Let's face it: there is none. There were some lame excuses and weeks of waiting. I am left with a broken camera and no solution in sight. Let's have a look at the camera.

Technical Specifications:

Film Format: Fujifilm Instax Mini Film
Exposure Area: 62mm x 46mm
Lens Focal Length: 60mm
Aperture: f/12.7 or f/16
Shutter Speed: Bulb Mode, 1/100s
Film Ejection Mechanism: Hand powered
Multiple Exposures: Unlimited
External Flash: 4 (m)
Tripod Mount: Yes
Film Counter: mechanical indication, counting down
Size: 12 x 16 x 10 cm including finder
Weight: 285 gr.

Accessories:
Flash, colour filters for flash.

Some pictures of the camera:

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The pledge from Kickstarter in nice stylish boxes, the camera, the flash and color filters for the flash.

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What's in the box. The camera, the flash and instructions.

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Camera with cap and extra finder. Initially there was no finder planned. The finder is not even a frame, it's only an aiming help.

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The camera front.

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Left side with shutter lever on the lens barrel. Ejection wind knob.

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Back side with frame counter.

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Right side, sunny/cloudy setting on the lens barrel.

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Back open.

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When the cartridge is installed, the counter moves with every ejection.
The counter doesn't work properly on mine, it moves to 9 and then back to 10. The back flap has uneven gaps, this causes light leaks in the sun on mine.

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The flash, instructions and cable.

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Takes 2 simple AA batteries.

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Flash control panel.

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Camera and flash connected. Both have tripod mounts and can be fixed to a rail. On the lens barrel: shutter setting 1/100s or bulb.


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The colour filters for the flash are heavily protected.

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Protections peeled off. The neodyne magnets keep them fixed if you put them on the screws of the flash reflector.

Just to give you an idea, some photos, taken with this camera:

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First shots on a dull day.

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The results are better than expected. I have scanned some of the photos below.
Lower row from left: 1. ~2m, flash, cloudy setting. 2.+ 3. outside in dull weather, cloudy setting.
Upper row from left: 1. ~1.2m, outside in the shade, cloudy setting. 2.
~2m, flash, sunny setting. 3. ~1.5m, flash, sunny setting.

Some scans:

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Outside in dull weather, cloudy setting. Not exactly sharp, but o.k.

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Outside in dull weather, cloudy setting. Same as above.

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~2m, flash, sunny setting.

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1.5m, flash, sunny setting
with shaded flash by the white opaque filter.

So far the pictures are fine for a cheap camera. But when I took the camera out into the sun the next day, there were heavy light leaks.

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Outside in the sun, sunny setting, heavy light leaks.

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Outside in the sun, sunny setting, heavy light leaks.

If you tape the back flap, you get rid of the leaks. But this is a bit of work every time and ruins the design.

The Escura Instant 60s is a Lomo style lightweight camera, easy to handle. It has a stylish design, build quality seems very good, the plastic seems to be solid. The flash styling matches the camera.

The finder is only an aiming device with no frame, but it helps well. The picture results were better than expected in dull weather. The lens is o.k and has no vignetting and little distorsion. The flash works well. Multiple exposure is easy. The manual ejection is easy and reliable, I can't see any flaws. I have a faulty back flap, so there are light leaks in the sun. My counter doesn't work. The absense of customer service is a major problem. So I would not recommend to buy it until they get sorted this out.

If the other cameras have no leaks, this is a well conceived fun camera which could certainly find its public. But with no warranty and no customer service, this is a risky buy.

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