I recently purchased a second-hand Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S instant camera.

I bought new film for the camera and have now tried several rolls. On the 2nd roll I was very careful not to expose the film to light or touch the film or cartridge.

Unfortunately, the shots are all coming out as shown below.

A wavy white region at the top, either somehow undeveloped or very overexposed.

The photos all come out with a similar splotchy pattern.

The film below this white region seems to develop normally, and in that region I have gotten some perfect exposures and colors.

Instax Mini splotchy exposure

What is wrong with the camera or the film? Is there any way to fix this?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Check out the images in my answer to this question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/106190/… Note that the color of undeveloped film is an off white while an overexposed and developed portion is near perfect white. From your samples, is the area more off white/grey looking or more perfect white? If the area is undeveloped, it's likely the rollers. If pure white and developed, it may be the film. You say that you've tried several rolls...were any successful or were they ALL like this? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Nov 13, 2019 at 21:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hueco I would say it's likely undeveloped, not overexposed. Yes, they were ALL like this with mostly the same exact pattern. Taking shots with the back open shows that the rollers seem to be functioning correctly, but not sure. \$\endgroup\$
    – pkamb
    Nov 14, 2019 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's such a weird pattern. If you spin the rollers to view all of them...is there any damage to them? Is the gap consistent? \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Nov 14, 2019 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Appears to me that the rollers that crush the developer pod and distribute the developer as the film is being ejected are either misaligned or the film pack isn't seated properly. Pull the pack and make sure all of the rollers are moving freely and that there isn't any crud on them or in the film path...

  • \$\begingroup\$ The rollers visible with the back open seem to be functioning correctly, with no apparent damage or hiccups in the movement. Agree that it seems to be the rollers / developer. \$\endgroup\$
    – pkamb
    Nov 14, 2019 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder if trying to move chemicals around after it's been ejected from the camera would have any effect on the image that's produced. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Nov 14, 2019 at 2:23
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @xiota do you mean, shake it like a Polaroid picture? \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Nov 14, 2019 at 9:39
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I might also mention (speculating because I only know Polaroid failure modes) that the rollers are often removable for cleaning. Given the examples you provided, I'd say that the roller gap is a bit too wide. Works near the pod when there's a lot of developer, but isn't pinching enough to distribute/push the developer to the far end. I don't know if the rapid use of a brayer or rolling pin would work to push the developer to the far end, but worth a try (roll from the pod to the end). \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Nov 14, 2019 at 15:56

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