Buying Guide: The best instant cameras
Published Jul 9, 2018 | Dan Bracaglia
Mint InstantFlex TL70 2.0
Instax Mini Format | 35mm equiv. F5.6 lens | Full manual exposure control
What we like:
- Fast max aperture
- Full manual control
- Manual focusing
- Cool classic styling
- Creative modes like double exposure
- Tripod socket
What we don't:
- Build quality
- Intimidating to casual users
The Mint InstantFlex TL70 2.0 is a retro-styled twin lens reflex camera that uses the Instax Mini format. One of the priciest instant camera on the market, it also offers the most manual exposure control as well as true manual focus (as oppose to fixed or zone).
It's beautiful to look at, but the TL70’s plastic construction feels slightly under-built: buttons are creaky and the leatherette seems like it will peel. It's lighter than it looks too, though it is still larger and heavier than most other Instax Mini cameras. This updated version 2.0 offers a brighter viewfinder than version 1.0, and there’s also a flip out focus magnifier. The shutter button is located on the front which takes getting use to. It’s powered by AA batteries, which should provide juice for at least five packs of film, from our experience (~50 shots).
For those wanting a fully manual instant camera, the TL70 2.0 is basically the only option
The most notable feature of the TL7 is its manual controls and focusing. There are however a few creative features like bulb mode and the ability to shoot double exposures. It doesn't ship with any cool accessories, though an additional lens set can be purchased for the price of an additional mid-level Instax Mini camera.
The TL70 offers the fastest max aperture available in an instant camera, F5.6. Full manual controls and a built-in light meter mean users can dial-in exact settings. There's an auto mode too, which offers ± 1EV compensation options. The TL70 has a built-in flash (max output not specified), but no way to control its output. Focusing is done through the viewfinder with the minimum focus distance being 0.48 m / 1.6 ft. Image quality-wise, this camera has the most potential due to its full manual nature. The manual focus in particular gives it a leg up on the competition.
For those wanting a fully manual instant camera, the TL70 2.0 is basically the only option on the market. But it’s pricey and its build quality doesn't inspire confidence. For casual users, the sheer number of controls could be intimidating, too.
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