Because the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo lets you review and select images before printing, you don’t waste any instant film. Instant film die-hards may reject this idea, but it’s more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly to only print the images you really like. It also doubles as a printer for your smartphone and you still have the pleasure of seeing the print emerge from the camera and develop before your eyes.
Digital camera with the ability to print instantly
Easy to use
10 camera and 10 lens effects combined to give 100 variations
Poor on-screen image outdoors
Lightweight, plastic build
Print format best-suited to portrait orientation
What is the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo?
The Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo is an instant camera with a twist. Instead of printing every image that you capture, the images are save to the internal memory or a microSD card so you can select which of them you want to print.
As you might guess from the name, the Instax Mini Evo is compatible with Fujifilm’s Instax Mini film.
Camera type: Hybrid instant
Sensor: 1/5-inch type CMOS with primary colour filter
Image size: 4.9Mp (2560 x 1920 pixels)
Storage: 45-shot internal memory, MicroSD
File format: Jpeg
Lens: 28mm (equivalent) f/2.0
Autofocus: Single AF
Sensitivity: ISO 100-1600 (automatically selected)
Exposure control: Program with exposure compensation to +/-2EV in 1/3EV steps
Metering: TTL 256 split image, multi metering
Flash: Auto flash, Forced flash, Flash off. Shooting range with flash: Approximately 50 cm to 1.5 m
Image effects: 10 lens effects, 10 film effects
Film compatibility: Fujifilm Instax Mini
Print resolution: 1600 x 600 dots, 800 x 600 dots when printed from smartphone app
Screen: 3-inch 460,000-dot TFT colour LCD
Power: Internal Li-ion battery charged via micro USB
Dimensions: 87 x 122.9 x 36mm
The Instax Mini Evo is a very simple camera that’s designed for fun and creativity rather than high-end technical photography. Exposure is handled automatically but there’s the option to apply exposure compensation to make images brighter or darker by up to 2EV. There are also 10 film effects and 10 lens effects available, which means it’s possible to create 100 different variations of the same scene.
As the aim is to print on Instax Mini film, the Instax Mini doesn’t need a huge, high-resolution sensor. Accordingly, it has a 4.9Mp 1/5-inch type sensor and it captures Jpegs.
This sensor is paired with a lens that has an effective focal length of 28mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.0.
Around the back of the camera, there’s a 3-inch 460,000-dot LCD screen for composing and reviewing images.
The camera has an internal battery that can’t be removed and is charged via a micro USB connection. It takes around 2-3 hours to charge the battery depending upon the ambient temperature and you can expect to print up to 100 images from a single charge.
Thanks to the on-board Bluetooth connectivity, the Instax Mini Evo can pair with a smartphone and print images from it via the Instax Mini Evo Direct Print app.
Build and handling
Fujifilm has given the Instax Mini Evo and attractively retro design. As soon as you pick it up, you realise that it’s made from plastic rather than metal, but it looks nice. The plastic build also means that the camera is light, so you can slip it your bag or large pocket to take with you everywhere, but the downside is that it doesn’t feel very robust.
While the physical controls indicate that the Instax Mini Evo is designed for use in landscape orientation, its on-screen interface is shown in portrait orientation. In addition, the tripod mount is in the right side of the camera, again suggesting it should be used in portrait orientation. Of course, you can shoot in whichever orientation you like but there will be a broad edge on the right of landscape prints and the bottom of portrait prints.
It doesn’t take long to get a handle on how to use the Instax Mini Evo. There’s a power switch on the front and the dial on the top of the camera is used to toggle through the 10 film modes (Normal, Vivid, Pale, Canvas, Monochrome, Sepia, Yellow, Red, Blue and Retro. Meanwhile, the ring around the lens is used to scroll through film effects (Normal, Vignette, Soft Focus, Blur, Fisheye, Color Shift, Light Leak, Mirror, Double Exposure and Half-frame. You can use any combination of those settings to give up to 100 effects.
As well as the shutter release button on the top of the camera, there’s a second on the front which is easy to press with your right thumb when you’re shooting a selfie. Conveniently, there’s a small mirror next to the front shutter release to help with framing selfies.
When a pack of film is loaded in the camera, the lever on the top right corner sends the selected image to print.
Pressing the Menu/OK button reveals a very simple menu while the up and down navigation keys (when the camera is in landscape orientation) are used to access the function menu where you’ll find the exposure compensation, self-timer, flash, macro and white balance controls.
Pressing the left and right navigation keys activates the digital zoom.
Indoors the screen on the back of the camera gives a reliable preview of the image that will be captured. Outdoors, it’s a different story – especially if the sun is shining. The problem is that the image looks very bright and pale so it’s hard to assess the exposure and it’s easy to be fooled into reducing the exposure using the exposure compensation control when it’s unnecessary. This where the ability to shoot without printing is helpful because you can capture a tricky scene at different exposures and print the one that works best.
I found that quite a few scenes benefit from a 1/3 or 2/3EV reduction in the exposure, especially if there are dark areas in the frame.
On the whole, images captured by the Instax Mini Evo are attractive and vibrant when they are viewed at their intended printing size or on a ‘phone screen. If they’re sized to fill a computer screen, however, they lack detail and look over-sharpened.
The prints are nice but it’s best to select the brighter images for printing.
Some of the effects look a little extreme for my taste, but they may suit the odd shooting situation. Generally, I used the ‘Normal’ settings combined with the Instax-Rich print mode, but I also like the Vignette and Retro treatments.
The screen’s performance is disappointing when you’re outside and it would be good to have quicker access to the exposure compensation control, but overall the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo is a fun camera to use. It delivers the instant camera feeling without the anxiety of wasted film and it can act as a printer for a connected smartphone. However, with a 4Mp sensor, it doesn’t compete with the average smartphone or compact camera as a digital camera. Ultimately, it’s an instant camera that gives you some choice over the images you print and not a replacement for a digital camera.
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