How to use Hi Key function on the Instax Mini 8/9

It’s pretty common for people to have devices with buttons or functions they either don’t use or know how to use. The Hi-Key on the Instax Mini 8 or 9 is one of these cases. If you want to know more about this function, stick around, as we’ll explore it as much as we can, including its historical use along with when and why you should use it today.

What is the Hi Key function?

This button or function allows the user to add more light to the picture they took, especially in situations when the surrounding available light is not sufficient, and the photos turn out a bit too dark.

This function has been used since the early years of films and TV productions to produce a very light and homogenous image that could be seen on early screens that couldn’t properly reproduce a good contrast.

Since today’s technology is far more advanced, the need to use this photography style is limited, but we’ll talk about this aspect later on. Do know that High Key is an alternate spelling for this option.

How to select the Hi-Key function on the Instax Mini 8 or 9

To use this style of photography, all you have to do is to turn the camera on, and just change the modes until you reach this option. Your camera will usually suggest any other shooting mode, but this specific style. Once this step is complete, you’re ready to take your photo.

When to use this function?

As mentioned, if there’s not enough light surrounding your subject, you should select the Hi-Key function. This can be in any of the following situations:

  • Indoors
  • In the shade
  • At dusk
  • At night

These are also situations when you’ll want to use the flash. Remember that the flash can only reach so far – some 2.7 meters, or 8.8 feet. You should remember that if your camera suggests you use the indoor mode for the conditions, it means that the image could look good or even better with the Hi-Key on as well.

When not to use the Hi-Key

There are situations when you should avoid using this feature or taking a photography altogether because the photo will either be overexposed, completely white or completely black. One such occasion is in a bright sunny day, with no shadows – the image will turn out white. This is because the Hi-Key is the brightest setting on a camera.

Landscapes or cityscapes at night are another bad idea for using the High Key function. This is because the shutter speed of the Mini 8 or 9 is fixed at 1/60 of a second, and their maximum aperture is of f/12.7. With a lower shutter speed, photos of nighttime landscapes or cityscapes would have almost been possible.

Reasons to use the Hi-Key feature

As mentioned before, the primary reason to turn on the Hi-Key function is to provide the pictures with more light, in poor light conditions. However, there are a few other reasons for which you could use it.

  • Fashion and beauty related photographs could need a brighter skin, and this is a good opportunity to use the Hi-Key.
  • Artistry: if you want an ethereal, whimsical atmosphere in your photos, the Hi-Key feature can help you out.

Some last thoughts

It’s clear that at first the Hi-Key feature was used because it was needed, but as technology advanced, the need for it decreased. These days it still a relevant function especially when the user wants to experiment and be creative while taking pictures.

Diana Watson
Diana Watson

Diana is the founder and Editor of the Instant Camera Laboratory. She's had a lifelong love affair with photographing and a fascination with film cameras.

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