New Instax Mini captures an old look

Fujifulm's Instax cameras are among the modern inheritors of Polaroid's evaporated mantle: snap a photo, get a print right there on the spot. In an age of instant social sharing, though, the instant physical copy is a curious thing to want, and folks are often given to assuming a certain cynicism about it all. Will the new Neo Classic model, with its rangefinder-like looks, better lens and enhanced features make a difference? I rather like it--but would find it hard to go back to the old ways. After all, there's no real truth to the uneditable moment it supposedly offers: if you can afford a $200 instant camera, you can afford to take as many shots as you like.

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  1. Their X10/100 series shot off the shelves like crazy, so I'm glad to see the stylings are moving along the rest of their lines.

    Not so glad to see the higher prices come with it however, no matter how much I enjoy the double exposure. Guess I'll just stick with the Spectra line...

  2. Agree with the placement of the power switch: very awkward. Interestingly, the new Polaroid 300 apes the Instax Mini's design, though the parts are plastic and the price is ~$70. The power switch is the lens telescope: pull it out, the camera warms up for a few seconds like the 600, a dial allows one to choose between 4 poorly, calibrated exposure settings (I admit I haven't yet experimented much with fooling the flash) & the camera is ready to shoot.

    As a long-term Polaroid lover who became enamored of their essential singularity and fetishistic quality in reaction to the faked perfection of pixel swatches, at 6400%x, of the infintely-reproduceable Photoshop documents I was more frequently swimming in as part of my professional duties, I snatched up the 300 when I saw it. I was simply pleased that a consumer-grade instant camera was once again being produced, even if the market is driven by people attracted by the kitsch value (and who probably determined the frustratingly small business card-size of the 300 film.)

    After a brief and bitter phase of experimentation with Impossible film (destiny lives in a name), I was happy to see instant cameras return. I will probably shell out $200 for this one and hope that higher-quality film in more formats will become increasingly available and less expensive.

    One can dream. I still have a medical Polaroid (five separate boxed components, that, when assembled, are designed to shoot wounds) that I used to shoot macro & what are best described as strange images. My art work isn't calling for that right now, but I'd love to have the option of using it again. What a strange & marvelous beast it is.

  3. shades says:

    The power switch is in the same general area on the other instax minis, the camera (or the photo) appears to be on it's side? Yes it can still be a bit awkward, I have a 50s and numerous are the times I have turned it off instead of taking the photo, then turned it back on again and taken the photo.

    The whole back of the camera opens to put the film in so I guess it had to go somewhere.

    If you're looking for a Instax mini camera with a proper lens check this project out
    http://suwenchee.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/instax-mini-professionally.html

  4. I'd urge you to give Impossible 600 color film a try again if you haven't used it in over a year. Their new color film is actually pretty good stuff.

    They are coming out with new monochrome as well, probably around the holidays.

  5. I have one. I had an old Mini 10 which was nice enough but noisy, limited in terms of functions and - importantly - looked quite Fisher-Price. (Newer Instaxes, like the Mini 7s, were even more childish in appearance.)

    The look isn't a trivial thing. This is a social camera - it's best used in an environment where there are other people around, and you can share the pictures. If you don't want to take it out in a social environment because it looks childish, that's a design flaw. I've heard several people say "this is a really great idea but I don't want to buy one because it looks like a kid's toy".

    It has a number of improvements over other Instaxes - it's smaller, lighter, can do double exposures, has more control over exposure, a B mode etc - but the main plus is that it looks many times cooler. People who previously would have been turned off by the kiddie look and marketing of Instax may now not be.

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