Fujifilm's New Retro Instant Camera and Film Take Us Back to Simpler Times

Illustration for article titled Fujifilm's New Retro Instant Camera and Film Take Us Back to Simpler Times
Image: Fujifilm

For anyone who has been looking for an instant film camera that produces nostalgic prints and has the retro styling to match, Fujifilm’s new Instax Mini 40 might be right up your alley.

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At its core, the $100 Instax Mini 40 is essentially an Instax Mini 11, but with an updated design that harkens back to the days when social media meant passing around a stack of Polaroid pictures.

Its design is quite simple, featuring a retractable 35mm lens and an automatic exposure function that dials in the camera settings so you don’t have to. Aside from the shutter button and a built-in flash, the Mini 40's only other major feature is the ability to pull out the camera lens, which shortens the camera’s focal distance so you can flip the camera around and take selfies with ease. Fujifilm even includes a small mirror on the front of camera so you can compose selfies without the need for a screen.

Illustration for article titled Fujifilm's New Retro Instant Camera and Film Take Us Back to Simpler Times
Image: Fujifilm

After snapping a shot, the camera spits out a photo that will develop in about 90 seconds, and the camera is capable of holding up to 10 shots at a time. However, you might not want to get too shutter-happy, because Instax Mini film costs about $15 for a 20-pack of film, and it’s pretty easy for an extended photo shoot to get expensive fast. Additionally, Fujifilm said the two AA batteries that power the Instax Mini 40 should last about 100 shots before needing to be replaced.

Alongside the new Instax Mini 40, Fujifilm is also releasing some new retro-inspired “Contact Sheet” instant film (seen below), which features a black border (instead of white) with orange lettering to really deliver that ‘70s and ‘80s aesthetic.

Illustration for article titled Fujifilm's New Retro Instant Camera and Film Take Us Back to Simpler Times
Image: Fujifilm
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So while it might not be the most efficient or most advanced way to snap a photo, Fujifilm’s new Instax Mini 40 seems like a fun and relatively affordable way to recapture the magic of instant cameras from yesterday. The Mini 40 goes on sale sometime this month.

Senior reporter at Gizmodo, formerly Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag. Was an archery instructor and a penguin trainer before that.

DISCUSSION

ryubot4000
Ryuthrowsstuff

“because Instax Mini film costs about $15 for a 20-pack of film,”

The counter point to that is that Instax Mini is currently the cheapest instant film on the market. It’s most expensive in individual 10 shot carts at aroun $.90 a shot. Polaroid’s films run around $1.25-$1.50 at retail for a single pack. Fuji’s larger films are closer to Polaroid in cost.

And those are surprisingly inline with what they cost back in the day. Instant photography has never been the cheap route.

It’s very easy to get that price down. Fuji sells 60 and 100 shot multi packs. And they’re frequently available cheaper than retail online. They can bring the cost down to $.50-$.75 a shot. Polaroid films generally don’t come in big multi packs. And Fuji’s larger films are harder to come by than Polaroid’s, even if they are slightly cheaper.

If memory serves the printer based/non film spins out there like from Canon are generally inline with Mini at it’s cheapest. But are basically particularly expensive portable printers. But they’re only about as cheap as Mini in bulk. And are mostly meant to print your smart phone pictures. 

I think the biggest problem with Instax Mini is just the size. The frame is so restricted you won’t be shooting distance, groups, landscapes or anything of the sort. The results are just too tiny, often being difficult to make out. They’re very fun, but fairly limited.