The Fuji Instax Mini Evo instant camera is as fun as it is impractical
If you’re like most of us, you probably haven’t touched a point-and-shoot camera in years – they’ve long been overtaken by smartphones except for some high-end models. and novelty. The Fuji Instax Mini Evo is one of them: it’s a retro-style digital camera and instant photo printer in one. It doesn’t take great photos and costs more than expected, but the thing is so cute you might want one anyway.
The camera looks great. It’s a big little rectangle meant to look like it’s finished in metal and leather, with fun details like knurled function dials and a clickable faux film feed lever that you pull to print pictures. There’s a tripod mount on one side of the camera, and a MicroSD slot and micro USB port concealed under a flap at the bottom. The back has a three-inch LCD screen and a few buttons for adjusting settings, and there’s even an accessory shoe on top.
I just wish it was a little nicer. Despite appearances, the Mini Evo is entirely made of plastic, which gives it the look of a toy. I don’t think that’s entirely a bad thing – it’s kind of a toy, after all, and the low-rent feel is lovely. It would be much more charming in cheaper packaging, however; I expect more polished hardware for $200. There’s no viewfinder either; you’ll need to use the LCD screen to compose all of your shots. It’s bright enough to see outdoors most of the time, at least, but direct sunlight can be a problem.
It’s also, to be frank, not a very capable camera. It has a 1/5-inch, 2,560 x 1,920 sensor (that’s about five megapixels) at f/2.0, and photos are what you’d expect. They are looking Okay with enough light, but dynamic range is universally poor and the small sensor struggles indoors without the help of the built-in flash. Instant cameras have never been appreciated for their image quality, and the lo-fi shots are part of the appeal here – the tiny instant prints the camera throws out are going to look charming and charming anyway. blur, regardless of the quality of the source file. Just know that your phone definitely takes better photos.
To that end, you can connect your phone using Fuji’s Instax Mini Link app to print instant wallet-sized copies of any digital photos. However, the film can be expensive. Even the basic movie costs around $0.50-0.70 per shot. This is by no means a cheap way to get wallet-sized prints.
Filming with the Mini Evo is more entertaining than using your phone, thanks in part to its lens and film effects. It has 10 of each, and browsing through them is as easy as turning the camera dials. The dial around the lens controls lens effects while the one above cycles through different films. Basically, the effects are just filters, but some of them, like double exposure and fish-eye, can be a lot of fun. Being able to combine lens and film filters means you also have plenty of options to fine-tune the look of your shots – 100 options, to be exact.
Photos taken with various lens and film effects.
You’ll have to shell out for a MicroSD card if you plan on filming for more than a few minutes; the Instax Mini Evo only has room for about 45 photos in its internal memory. You’ll also need to dig up a micro USB cable to charge it. Fuji’s high-end cameras have switched to USB-C; the Instax Mini Evo is obviously not courting the same consumer, but it’s still a shame to see him using an obsolete charger.
There’s nothing practical about the Instax Mini Evo, but it’s not meant to be – it’s new. If all you’re looking for is a way to get instant photo prints from your phone, Fujifilm sells standalone printers that will do just that for half the price of the Evo Mini. But the camera is cute and getting around its limitations can be a fun challenge. If this is right for you and your budget can support it, go ahead and grab one – just make sure you know what you’re getting into.
Fuji Instax Mini Evo Store
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