Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo, half instant camera, half connected printer

Review: Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo, half instant camera, half connected printer

At Instax, there were instant film cameras, digital cameras, and printers. The Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo combines these two categories into one, presenting itself as the first digital camera capable of not only printing the images it captures through its lens and sensor, but also any image present on your phone. An important side two in one, because it reinforces its versatility.

We do know – and we love it! – Instax films, it didn’t matter if the new Fujifilm box is worth the €199 requested.

Retro and mechanical look, plastic touch.

The Instax Mini Evo embraces the retro codes of photography, which Fujifilm is almost the only one to perpetuate! – and offers a truly successful aesthetic score. The device is very “vintage” from all angles, the wheels are certainly “old-fashioned”. And the detail that kills: it is with the 24×36 silver cocking arm that we validate the impression.

Besides the charming side of the act, the mechanical operation is perfect for this device as it prevents unwanted impressions (at €1 an image, it can quickly hurt). There is no risk of automatic printing after missing a shot or pressing a button by mistake. Fujifilm has admirably combined a retro mechanism with relevant ergonomics.

However, the charm is not total, because as beautiful as it is, the device is 100% plastic, while one expects a “metal and leather in the hand” device. It’s a shame for the touch and probably a bit for the durability, beware of falls.

Built-in camera: good for printing, fair for storage

In “Instax Mini instant camera” mode, the Mini Evo does a good job: the built-in sensor performs well, if not better than the film versions. The images are sharp, the colors beautiful (quality of Instax chemicals), and if the dynamic range is still limited, it’s worse with film. Compared to these classic boxes, the digital sensor offers more creative freedom with built-in filters (Normal, Vignette, Blur, Blur, Fisheye, Color Var, Leakage, Mirror, Double Exposure, Half Frame).

If we can set certain effects by varying the type of film (wheel near the flash shoe) we are often content to juggle pre-recorded modes that can be selected by turning the optical axis ring. It’s simple, fun, and devilishly effective. And the photos look nice when printed directly.

Because once downloaded to the computer, the quality of the 5 Mpix sensors is poor compared to today’s smartphone standards. Which doesn’t matter since it’s ALSO a printer for your phone. But a better photographic score would have made its use on digital compacts more relevant.

90° ergonomics, isolated memories

With its white border on one small side, Instax Mini photos are designed rather vertically and this is also how the grip of all silver Instax Mini cameras is presented. Just not the same for this Mini Evo. Not only the looks, but also the ergonomic elements: positioning of the buttons, knobs, and the reset arm (for printing), the overall balance of the case, etc. clearly encourage him to take it horizontally.

This isn’t a problem until you navigate through the menus, which are cropped to be used vertically. And unlike smartphones, the electronics and embedded systems are not designed to allow horizontal <> vertical screen switching. Don’t worry, it’s not chaos, gymnastics is easy to do, but at first, it’s not very intuitive… Just like memory management.

Because the device integrates a few megabytes to be able to shoot and store about forty images… but recovering them is, how to say… a bit annoying. Unable to recover the original file: Through the app, you can only find a picture around which an Instax Mini frame is automatically added. There are no partitions that work on Windows or macOS (hackers might be able to do this, but I have other things to do, it’s the weekend and the weather is nice).

No problem with a Micro SD card: once inserted, all photos captured by the device are stored therein in raw Jpeg format, with no added borders. And we can extract them easily. I see you coming, smart reader! Did you think you could copy photos from internal memory to a memory card? Well played but… Lost. The internal software has no way of seeing both memories simultaneously.

Efficient app and printer, “Instax” print quality

If you have photography skills, the Mini Evo is also a Bluetooth smartphone printer. An efficient and easy-to-operate printer. That you can print both photos from your gallery and images taken from the network, photomontages made with your mobile, etc.

The app itself has image editing tools, with functions for text, colors, etc. As well as photo filter functions. In this area, neophytes will appreciate the simple and fast side, but the most demanding photographers will prefer, however, to develop/enhance their photos through an application like Snapseed.

In terms of print quality and especially against the competition, its fatal weapon is in its name: Instax. The quality of Fujifilm’s chemistry is superior to all other direct print technologies (sublimation, Zink, and others). The colors are rich, beautiful, and intense.

Scarcity deprives you of USB-C

As with the Instax Link, Wide tested last year, we put a little yellow card on the charging connector – that is, an ugly Micro USB socket. But as with its older sister, the reason for the absence of USB-C is not due to sclerosis of engineers, but the collateral damage of scarcity. This point of sale has become the norm in smartphones, tablets, and PCs, as well as in all other connected objects, stocks are collapsing and prices are skyrocketing.

Could Fujifilm have integrated a USB-C socket? Perhaps perversely cutting their margins, and even then, that’s not even certain. But the result is there: in order not to exploit a price that is already, in our opinion, at the limit of what the general public is willing to put on this type of machine, Fujifilm has resorted to the old connectors. Therefore, you will need to remember to bring a compatible cable, especially when you go on vacation.

the same width?

Among the accepted biases, I gladly assume my (great) preference for the Instax Wide format, whose usable surface is almost three times larger than the Instax Mini. While wide-film cameras are physically constrained to be large (a grim history of the picture circle), a digital system would be an obvious pirouette to reduce their size. By grafting the same photographic brick as this Mini Evo (or better quality, if possible!) onto a Link Wide printer, we would have the best of both worlds: a compact device, capable of saving images, printing large format instantly, or via smartphone.

The next step for Fujifilm?

#Review #Fujifilm #Instax #Mini #Evo #instant #camera #connected #printer

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