The Instax 300 is the latest in the Instax Wide format.
Instax Wide is about the size of 2 Instax Mini films, so it's for those who would like a larger photo. Being a big fan of the Instax Mini's, I wanted to try the Wide format also.
The Instax 300 looks lot like a larger version of the Instax Neo 90 camera (Mini film) but unfortunately it's not up to par with it.
Considered to be an upgrade to the Instax 200, there are only a few new features:
The design is much nicer and more modern looking. No more rounded corners and funky design.. it's still incredibly bulky (about twice the size of a Mini instax camera) but that large film needs some space.
Besides the paint job and re-design, the Instax 300 also has a small LCD (used to give a count of film remaining) - note that this is a calculator-type screen and not one like you'd expect on a digital camera.
There are also 2 buttons on the back: Fill-Flash (which will always use the flash, regardless of brightness -- great for backlit subjects) and Darker/Lighter, allowing you to control override the cameras own settings on what it "thinks" the shot should be exposed at.
Unfortunately,thats where the control stops. While the Neo 90 has features like Multiple Exposure, Flash control (on/off) and a timer, the Instax 300 wide has none of these.
One big gripe with the 300 is that the power is turned on by slightly touching/turning the ring around the shutter. This is a problem as its very sensitive and will turn on by itself a LOT, causing the lens to extend. If this camera is in your bag, I recommend using a case or removing 1 battery to prevent it from extending the lens as it will break the camera.
Next gripe is the viewfinder. it's a few inches off from the actual lens, so its a challenge to frame shots properly.
While the Instax Mini cameras have a focusing distance as close as 1 foot (using Macro mode) the Instax wide has 2 settings: 3 feet to 10 feet and 10 feet to infinity. The 300 has a clip-on close-up adapter but it seems very last minute and is hard to frame (and easy to lose!)
So why is this rated 4 stars?
It's basically the best option out there for Wide film.
The Instax 210 is cheaper and works almost similarly but lacks the tripod mount and looks quite ugly.
While the Mini series has a variety of options (Mini8, Mini25, Mini70, Mini90, SP-1, SP-2), for the Wide you're pretty much limited to 210 or 300.
Note that the camera uses 4x AA batteries (included) and only works with the WIDE instax film (about 15 bucks for 20 shots), it does not use the Instax Mini film.