[Hack] Connect and Control Fuji Instax to Arduino

This post is about how to Connect and control your Fuji Instax to your Arduino or microcontroller. The Fuji Instax models this should work with are the Fuji Instax (Wide) 100, 200, 210. I used this setup in a “polaroids from space project”, google this website for the corresponding project page. I found that Fuji Instax film is highly reliable and developed fairly well in the stratosphere even at zero pressure and sub zero temperature. In all ways except the cultural, Fuji instax film is superior to that of Polaroid (especially the new impossible film, which in my opinion looks cool but it’s still in development).

Anyhow, here we go. Because, yes it is possible, and yes it’s kinda easy.

How to hook it up to your Arduino/microcontroller

Generally there are three ways:

1) Relay, super simple but asks a lot of power and do not often work with 3.3v if you happen to use that
2) opto-coupler, super easy but polarity is important
3) Transistor, a bit more difficult. this is what i used and i got good results although you have to tune your resistor values a bit, I ended up using 10k Ohm with a simple npn transistor i had in a drawer somewhere.

Connections

When you break the thing open, you can generally do three things that are important:
1) Take a picture
2) change focus (from close to tele)
3) turn the thing on/off

What you want to attempt to do, it follow the leads comming from the “button” back-side, and try to control them with either your relay, opto-coupler or transistor. See below image for that flat connector ribbon.


Connector cable comming from the “button back” to the microcontroller on the camera’s bottom.


Then you can either follow the leads or connect/solder it as follows:


Soldered connections.


Then if you connect the ground to either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd connector, you can focus it, turn it on/off, or take an image.

Tim Zaman

MSc Biorobotics. Specialization in computer vision and deep learning. Works at NVIDIA.

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3 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    great job Tim! Did you find ta way to turn off the flash?

  2. Evan says:

    You posted this a while ago, but this is exactly what I want to do with a Fujifilm Instax Camera – to hack it so I can take pictures with a remote, wired button. I’m not familiar with arduino yet, but I’m going to try to figure it out to accomplish this. In the meantime, would you have more detailed instructions on what you did here? It’s difficult to tell from the pictures where you connected the wires (are all 4 wires necessary for controlling picture taking?). And what did you for the arduino commands did you use for snapping pictures?

    Thanks for any help!

    • Tim says:

      One wire is the ground, the other three are (1) Turn on/off, (2) Take picture, (3) Change zoom.
      Then you connect the Arduino’s ground to the ground of the camera. Then you connect any three pins to the above three connections through an transistor to that ground i talked about. Short circuiting any (1,2,3) to the ground of the camera (through a relay, transistor or opto coupler or whatever) will control their respective functions. Just play around with that short circuiting with the bottom image i had attached.