The Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is the ridiculously-named latest version of Fuji’s highly successful instant print cameras. Does it have a feature list as long as its name? Is it any good? Should you buy one? Will you like the images? and is it fun to use? We asked these questions in Episode 03 of The Camera Challenge. Watch it here.
Meanwhile, here’s my written review:
The camera is light – very light – and nicely balanced. The on switch is a simple rotation of the outside of the shutter button, which is mirrored for all those selfie-takers out there to compose their shot. I took a shot of the most photographed building in the South West of England, Exeter Cathedral and it seemed a little light so I tried the ‘Dark’ setting. It worked a treat.
I then tried a photo tiled mosaic of the 600 year old West front and loved the detail, the slightly cool colours and the sharpness and definition.
In fact I love it so much I’m going to frame it and put it on my wall. It’s a great way of getting a unique view – a photograph that no-one else has taken. It also makes you concentrate on different aspects of the image; the tracery of the window; the stained glass; the carved statues. I had a trip to Lytes Carey at the weekend (a National Trust property, a medieval manor house with a beautiful Arts and Crafts garden in Somerset). Here’s the composite image I created:
Is there a lot of waste? Well, I created all these images without a single wasted shot. Sometimes you might have to set the exposure so it’s a little lighter or darker but otherwise it’s astoundingly reliable. The prints are credit card sized and develop over a couple of minutes and appear fully developed after five.
I tried the ‘macro’ mode for close-ups and was very happy with the results:
The red leaf shows how good the optics and colours in the film are at separating out objects from their background. The tulips show what the depth of field is like for isolating objects and the lost dummy shows how the small format is good for simple repetitive pattern and textures rather than complex shots. The camera is great if your aim is to tell stories through your images. Here’s another macro image which tells a story, taken from 30cm or 12 inches away:
The ‘Modes’ give you access to longer exposures, shorter exposures, infinity focus, double exposures and ‘bulb’ mode for exposures up to 10 seconds. There’s macro for close-ups, light, dark and very light as well as a self-timer and control of the flash, forced flash off, forced flash on and redeye reduction.
Is there anything wrong with it? Well, no not really, it’s great! It does everything it’s meant to and does it well. Could Fuji improve it? Well, if they made some black and white film to go with it that would be really, really appreciated by all the creative photographers out there.
If you buy one you won’t regret it – apart from trying to get it back off your friends and relatives when they borrow it. Get it here from Amazon.