The Instax Mini 90 camera from Fujifilm is a compact, advanced instant camera featuring a classic retro body design. With a wide variety of shooting modes, rechargeable battery and polished design, this is Fuji’s top of the line instant film camera.
- Retro design
- Compact size
- Consistent performance
- Multiple shooting modes
- Long lasting battery
- Small viewfinder
- Family photos
- Travel and holiday snaps
- Artistic shots
Key Features of the Instax Mini 90
- Retractable 60mm All-Purpose Lens
- Built-In Flash
- Six Shooting Modes
- Exposure Brightness Control
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Camera is Fujifilm’s attempt to appeal to the serious photographer. While the Instax line of cameras have all shared the same fun, intuitive system – they have also been designed to look more like a toy than a serious camera. The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is here to put a stop to that and give consumers a higher-end instant camera option. Cased in a retro-inspired design with clear inspiration from Fujifilm’s premium line of X-series cameras, the camera is relatively small and lightweight weighing just under 300 grams (without film and battery), but still has an excellent build quality and finish. It’s a well constructed all plastic build, however it doesn’t feel cheap at all. In fact the body has a textured pleather and metallic feeling finish meaning it feels premium but is still very sturdy and will survive most bumps and small drops.
I can’t say it enough that the best part of the camera is it’s size.
It’s one of the first instant film cameras that is close to being truly portable and can easily fit in a larger jacket pocket. If you are looking for the most compact instant film camera then look no further, in fact it is worth considering upgrading to the Instax Mini 90 for the size alone. Fujifilm has perfected the aesthetics of the Instax Mini 90, with an charming combination of the toylike Instax line and the professional polish of the X-series cameras. It actually comes with the same leather strap as Fujifilm’s X-series cameras, a clear indication of the target market for the camera.
The Instax Mini 90 promises to give enthusiasts a higher degree of control over their shots, with a raft of features and shooting modes to chose from. Coupled with an all purpose 60mm lens that delivers great results, this is clearly the most powerful Instax camera yet. Fuji clearly want you to get the best results when using this camera, and and out of the box the camera automatically detects the brightness of your subject matter and tweaks the amount of flash and the shutter speed to optimize photo quality.
You can help the camera along a bit by using one of the added shooting modes on the Instax Mini 90, which give you greater control over your shot when needed. The various modes are described below.
Longer exposure allows more light to enter, brightening the backgrounds if the foreground is lit by the flash.
Kids mode is useful to capture fast moving subjects, similar to a sports mode. This can be used when fast shutter speeds are needed.
Landscape mode optimises the focusing distance and should be used for shooting subjects that are more than 9 feet from your camera.
Possible the most useful mode, the Instax Mini 90 can focus as close as 11.8″ when in macro mode. This allows you to shoot close up portraits and traditional macro shots.
Bulb Exposure Mode
The shutter will stay open for as long as you hold the shutter release button up to a maximum 10 seconds. Useful for low light, night time and light painting photos.
Double Exposure Mode
Double exposure mode enables you to expose the same frame of film with two different shots, giving you a layered looking photo which opens up plenty of creative opportunities.
Note: When taking multiple exposures, you can’t turn the camera off between the first and second shot or the film will eject – so remember to finish your composition!
There are four brightness levels (normal, bright, brighter, and dark) which allow you to manually alter the brightness of a photo much like an exposure compensation dial. I recommend using the dark mode in bright outdoor settings to achieve a better toned result.
The Instax Mini 90 is powered by a rechargeable li-ion battery, a drastic change from the previous standard of using consumable CR2 or AA batteries. I personally hope to see this change applied to other prosumer models like the Instax Share SP-1 in future. The new NP-45A lithium-ion battery holds a single charge for approximately 10 packs of instant film. Whilst Instax film is reasonably light-sensitive at an ISO of 800, the Instax Mini 90’s lens has a small fixed f/12.7 aperture. A built-in flash provides additional light for exposures in low-light conditions, but also allows you to isolate your subject from the surroundings to achieve that low-fi look. When using the flash, try setting the camera to ‘darken’ as this can result in nicer looking skin tones. One of the great things about this camera is the ability to turn off flash completely. Not only does this make you slightly more discreet at times, but is also allows you to use the bulb exposure mode and take amazing long exposure shots using a tripod or steady hand.
Speaking of tripods, the Instax Mini 90 has a single tripod socket on the bottom of the camera which opens up plenty of creative opportunities. It is also a little annoying at times as it orientates your camera in portrait position and can only be used landscape if your tripod has the ability to turn the full 90 degrees. This is a small oversight, but it seems like an odd one as a large majority of tripod shots are landscapes, or self timer group shots which would require landscape orientation.
This leads me to the only other minor negative about this camera – the optical viewfinder. The viewfinder is quite small and hard to use for anyone with bad eyesight or reading glasses. Whilst it is bright and clear for those of us with good eyesight, and features a targeting spot, it is at times rather useless. Framing through the viewfinder is generally pretty accurate, although not perfect. Luckily with a bit of intuition you don’t even really need to use the viewfinder at all to compose your photos, and like most Instax cameras, the Mini 90 has a small mirror on the front face to help compose that all important selfie.
There are a few other little quirks to be aware of, such as not being able to combine certain function/modes. For instance using multiple exposure and macro together. Fortunately the manual comes with a table that shows all the possible mode combinations for reference.
Another odd usability hiccup is with the mode dial around the lens. It turn outs to be more cosmetic than functional, as you need to first press the mode button on the back to activate it before switching to the dial, at which point you may as well keep hitting the mode button to scroll through to the mode you need. It’s easy enough to see what mode you are currently in by using the small screen on the back of the camera, really negating the need for the dial at all apart from including a bit of classic camera mechanics into the overall package. The screen is also a great reminder that you need to select your settings again every time you turn the camera on and off, something to be aware of if you expect to take a quick shot on the fly in a particular shooting mode.
Ease of Use
Like most cameras in the Instax range, using the Instax Mini 90 couldn’t be easier to use. The instant film comes in cartridges of 10, and it’s a case of simply slotting a pack inside the camera and closing the door. The camera will automatically eject the film cover for you and away you go. You can get great results just by letting the camera figure out your exposures on auto, the only learning curve with the camera is getting used to the different modes and functions.
The LCD screen helps you in this regard by showing various icons for the currently selected settings, including the remaining shots. Located on the back of the camera are five buttons that allow you to dial in your setting. There is a macro button, a Lighten/Darken (L/D) button that means, a self-timer button, flash mode button, and a shooting mode also you to toggle through the various preset functions.
This is another Instax camera that is a breeze to use out of the box, unlike the others in the range though, the Instax Mini 90 also gives you greater control over your settings if this is something you are interested in.
A bonus that is easy to overlook with the Instax Mini 90 is the beautiful leather camera strap it comes with. The Instax strap is perfect for throwing over the shoulder or around the next and completes the retro look perfectly. The strap mounts suit using the camera in portrait and the ergonomics of the camera certainly feel better in portrait as well. It’s clear that Fuji feel you should be shooting Instax in portrait most of the time, however they have again included a second button for landscape orientation which makes for easy shooting.
Fujifilm have placed themselves firmly as the leader in modern instant film cameras with the Instax Mini 90. This is a premium high end camera and the results speak for themselves. The included functions of the Mini 90 make it superior than any other instant camera on the market with the added flexibility it provides. Whilst it may be a little bit more expensive than other models, it is well worth the extra money if you need full control of your shots. If you really don’t need the added control and are looking for something a bit simpler, then perhaps try the Instax Mini 70. Otherwise this is one of the best instant cameras out there right now.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Camera
- Fujifilm leather shoulder strap
- NP-45A Rechargeable Battery
- BC-45C Battery Charger
- Power Supply NP-45A Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
- Charge Capacity: 10 Film Packs
- Tripod Mount Thread Size Female, 1/4″-20
- Dimensions (LxHxD) 3.6 x 4.5 x 2.3″ (91.9 x 113.4 x 57.2 mm)
- Weight 10.4 oz (296.0 g) excluding battery, strap, and film