Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

Instant film cameras in the digital age are nothing new, but no new product has yet captured our hearts like the good ol' Polaroid did back in the day. Can Fujifilm's revamped Instax camera lure people in with the Mini 90 Neo Classic? We clamored for a chance to take this thing for a spin. Here are some initial impressions.

The new camera is designed with a vintage look that matches the digital X series cameras. While it definitely looks loads better than the old absurdly shaped Instax, the Mini 90 is still an odd device.

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

It is more or less square, and it isn't immediately evident how to hold it. We realized after taking a couple of shots that we were actually holding it sideways. Oops. It seems like the design team behind the Mini 90 didn't consult photographers, because there is very little continuity in terms of of symbols and settings.

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

The Mini 90 features a number of modes to make it more versatile. There is a very useful macro mode, a bulb mode for long exposures, kids & pets mode for high shutter speed, double-exposure mode, and a couple of others. The idea is to make this version of the Instax more attractive to actual photographers, rather than teenagers, which was their previous target market.

When you see the little framed picture dispense from the side of the camera, it's quite a nostalgic thrill. The image is just as you would imagine, Polaroid-like, with faded colors. There is definitely a market for instant film out there. The real question is whether people are willing to carry around a large, clunky, strange looking device for the privilege of one-off prints. We will see when it drops in early 2014 for $200.

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera

Fuji Instax Mini 90 Hands-on: A Glorious and Weird Instant Film Camera