Fujifilm has announced the latest addition to the Instax Mini line of instant cameras, the Mini 40. Like the Instax Mini 11, which was released last March, the Mini 40 is an entry-level instant film camera with just two settings and two buttons. . But what sets this camera apart is its vintage movie camera look, complete with a plastic leatherette body and metallic-looking plastic rails. It’s a $ 100 toy camera that instantly creates printed memories – and it’s great to play with, of course.
In addition to the vintage camera look, the Mini 40 has the same mechanics as the $ 70 Mini 11. Pressing the large silver button under the lens compartment pops out the lens and turns on the camera. Selfie mode is activated by extending the outer part of the lens about an inch further. And when you’re ready to pack it, push the lens back into the camera to turn it off. The all-plastic housing of the camera makes it very light and easy to take anywhere.
There are two shooting modes on the Instax Mini 40: normal and selfie. Selfie mode adjusts the focal length of the camera so that subjects closer to the lens can be in focus. Other than that, you have very little control. The flash fires with each press of the shutter button and an Instax Mini film sheet rolls out into a mechanical buzz. The results are unpredictable, except that the printed photo will be slightly soft with high contrast and will be bound within the Polaroid frame icon. The magic comes when you put the print on a table, forget about it, and recall a great memory no less than a minute and a half later.
When using an Instax camera, I can’t help but notice the amount of plastic used in each of the 10 photo film cartridges. Although there is a recycling logo on the cartridge, it is in Japanese, and I cannot say what number plastic it is made of. In the US, many municipalities have specific plastic numbers that they can and cannot recycle, and without this number clearly marked on these photo cartridges, I couldn’t know if I could recycle them here in Brooklyn, New York. I have contacted Fujifilm for more information and will update this article when I get it.
Play informs both my creative style and it releases me from stress – something that, as a person tasked with reviewing cameras, is hard to always satisfy when using a camera. But the Mini 40, like the Mini 11, has so few options, feels very light, and results so unpredictable at times that I can sit back and just have fun using it. Any further thought about photographic theory while using the Mini 40 has been exaggerated and rarely yielded better results.
At $ 100, the Mini 40 is slightly more expensive than the nearly identical Mini 11. Other than its new vintage look, there should be little reason to spend the extra $ 30. But if watching the film photographer is important, the Mini 40’s design will stand out. Once Fujifilm tackles the amount of plastic used in each of the 10-shot film packs, I will really be able to have a worry-free experience with this camera.
Photography by Becca Farsace / The Verge