Fuji has made a great camera for all those who love instant photography but still like to keep creative control. It gives you several possibilities and settings that you won’t find in the classic Polaroid 600 cameras or the previous Instax models. The Instax Mini 90 is in most ways still a simple, instant point-and-shoot camera but it gives the control back to you.
The Instax Mini 90’s first surprise comes in the form of its serious looks. Completely different to the bright pastel colors and chunky plastic look of the 7 and 8 series: the Instax Mini 90 pays tribute to the golden days of analogue photography, with its steel gray and black exterior. And it only gets better from here!
Although the 8 series is still popular, its lack of control options has been a source of frustration for some, and completely ruled the camera out as an option for others. With the Instax Mini 90, however, the format and idea have been given a complete overhaul, and the camera holds some quite exciting new features:
- Multiple settings for the flash, including an option to turn it off
- Exposure compensation settings
- Rechargeable battery – no more late night AA runs
- Shiny mirror-like front release button, which helps you frame up your selfies (don’t lie, we all take them)
- Self-timer (which also holds a x2 setting, allowing you and a friend to get a photo each)
- Macro mode, with a acceptable viewfinder compensation
- Bulb mode, for long exposures.
- Double exposures
- Two release buttons, one in front, and one on top to make landscape shots easier to do
Double exposures on instant film is great fun to play with, and the results are exciting, detailed, and with a little bit of practice they get quite predictable and easy to plan. The pre-programmed “Party Mode” has a slightly longer shutter speed and releases the flash right at the end, making both your friends and the background stand out in your night-out pictures.
The small film format might seem too small before you get your first picture out. But at least for me, the high quality of the shots, the fun range of colored and patterned frames, and the oddly practical point of being able to capture the moment in a format that fits easily in your pocket, has made me an Instax Mini convert.
The camera still holds room for a few improvements: you can attach a tripod when using the portrait format, but a centered option for landscape shots would be great. The time-limit on the bulb mode can be annoying, as it would be fun to do super long exposures of night scenes, and the parallax between the viewfinder and the lens is still a bit hard to compensate for with close-up objects.
But all-in-all, this is an Instax Mini that takes a gigantic leap from toy-camera towards creative tool, and offers a fun new (and instantly gratifying) way of capturing the moment.