I have been wanting to try out the Instax Mini 90 for a while now and when Fujifilm Canada sent me one to review, I was very excited. I was always a fan of their Instax line-up, but it seemed that they were heavily targeted toward teens and the design/look of past Instax cameras reflected this. They were still enjoyable to use but I was super excited for this one, as both the controls were more advanced, and the look reflected that of the other Fujifilm X cameras.
The Instax Mini 90 is a
$200 $179 fixed focal length camera that produces instant film images using Fujifilm's Instant Mini Film. Specs can be found here.
As I mentioned earlier, the colours and look of the camera largely reflect that of the X-series lineup of cameras, which feature a retro style. It is very light and quite small, almost too small. The camera is somewhat awkward to hold as there is no real spot for your second hand to rest, it would have almost been beneficial for Fujifilm to make the collar of the lens protrude just a little bit further from the body, allowing a more comfortable hold, but it's nothing major. The sounds are all mechanical and it allows you to connect with the process of making instant film, forcing you to slow down, think about what you're shooting and not waste film (and money). The dual shutter is a nice feature, although I never really like the look of the mini film with a landscape orientation, and so I rarely shoot that way, though I found the second shutter useful when shooting the double exposures.
The mini 90 allows you to select various shooting modes, either by the back of the camera and it's buttons, or by turning the dial on the front of the camera surrounding the lens. The dial does not rotate but rather must be turned left or right to change between modes. It's a personal preference but I would have loved to see a rotating dial in order to choose your mode (like the controls on the X-series cams).
The main reason I was so excited for this new Instax camera was the ability to have more control over the final image. Fujifilm incorporated various settings and shooting modes to help produce the image you want. The shooting modes are: high performance flash, landscape mode, party mode, kids mode, double exposure mode and bulb mode and various brightness/flash settings. I found the double exposure mode to be a wonderful new feature, as seen in the images I have been sharing.
A lot of previous reviews mentioned that they see no difference in the light, light plus, and dark settings of the camera, but I found that they actually make quite the difference for portraits, landscape modes and even double exposures.
Everyone always wants to know about image quality, and the Instax does a fair job. It's obviously not meant to compete with big DSLR or even high-end compact cameras, but is meant to be more of an artistic outlet for photographers already owning that gear and also for anyone looking for tangible prints directly out of camera, in which the Instax does a perfect job. It forced me to stop and think about the images I was creating, as opposed to it's digital counterparts that allow you to just attack the shutter in the hopes of getting home, uploading the shots, and getting a couple keeper frames.
The only annoyance, which again is personal preference, was that every time I opened the back of the camera, normally to load the film, and then close it again, the Mini 90 will automatically spit out one frame. This happens because the first frame of every pack isn't an actual image. BUT, if you wanted to expose the film slightly, mid-way through the pack, to allow for some light leaks, you will lose a shot every time and lose the count on the LCD as well (not that big of a deal, I know).
These were shot using landscape mode.
These were shot on the colour film. I also opened the back of the camera to expose the cartridge after shooting the first couple frames, causing some awesome light leaks. Only downside was the camera spit out a slide automatically when closing the back.
By far my favourite part of this Instax, the ability to make double exposures!
And lastly, an image from the Instax 210 Wide as I can't help but not post my wife in all her pregnant glory.