Buying Guide: The best instant cameras
Published Jul 9, 2018 | Dan Bracaglia
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
Instax Mini format | 35mm equiv. F12.7 lens | Auto exposure control with exposure compensation
What we like:
- Very stylish
- Small and reasonably light
- Positive and negative exp. comp. modes
- Motor-driven focus
- Creative modes like double exposure
- Ability to completely disable flash
- Tripod socket
What we don't:
- On the pricey side
- Somewhat complicated to use
- Difficult to frame closeups
The Mini 90 is Fujifilm's top tier Instax Mini model complete with classic-styling, tons of creative modes and a rechargeable battery. Of Fujifilm's Instax Mini models, it offers the most manual exposure control.
There's no doubt that the Mini 90 is a looker, and it's also reasonably light-weight and compact for its class. The body is constructed of plastic, with a faux leather wrap: we didn't find it all that comfortable to hold or shoot with, though. However, one bit of the body design we did appreciate is the on/off switch wraps around the shutter (located on the front) which makes it easy to switch the camera on and catch a fleeting moment. It's powered by a supplied NP-45A rechargeable battery which should provide 100 shots per charge (that's ~10 film packs).
The level of manual control and sheer number of features might overwhelm some prospective buyers
There are plenty of cool creative modes to choose from including: Double Exposure, Bulb, Landscape and Macro mode (focus as close as 30cm / 1ft). There's also a 'Kid' mode for fast-moving subjects and a Party mode for balancing flash with ambient light. Two small LCDs on the back indicate which mode is selected as well as the number of shots remaining.
The Instax Mini 90 is one of only a few Instax Mini cameras with the ability to disable the flash completely in normal shooting mode. Even better, there are three exposure compensation settings: Dark (-2/3rd EV), Bright (+2/3rd EV) and Brighter (+1 EV). The camera uses an electronic variable speed shutter (1.8-1/400 sec) and a flash with a 2.7 m / 8.9 ft max range. There are three motor-driven focus positions: One for normal shooting, one for Macro mode and one for Landscape mode. Image quality is good, but the sheer number of options may require trial-and-error shooting which can burn through a lot of film until you've learned your way around the camera.
The level of manual control and sheer number of features the Instax Mini 90 offers might overwhelm some prospective buyers, and the same goes for the price. For the true artist or for those who want to experiment, film cost be damned, the Instax Mini 90 is a great option. For everyone else seeking a painless instant camera experience, a lesser model will do nicely.
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