Fujifilm has announced the latest addition to the Instax Mini series of instant cameras, the Mini 40. Like the Instax Mini 11, which was released in March last year, the Mini 40 is an instant movie camera with only two settings and two buttons. But what sets this camera apart is the vintage film camera look, complete with a plastic faux leather and metal-shiny plastic rails. It’s a $ 100 toy camera that instantly creates printed memories – and of course it’s a blast to play with.
Beyond the vintage camera look, the Mini 40 has the same mechanics as the $ 70 Mini 11. By pressing the large silver button under the lens compartment, the lens explodes and strikes the camera. Selfie mode is activated by pulling out the outer part of the lens about half an inch more. And when you are ready to unpack it, slide the lens back into the camera to turn it off. The camera̵
There are two shooting modes on the Instax Mini 40: normal and selfie. Selfie mode adjusts the camera’s focal length so that the subjects closer to the lens can be in focus. Beyond that, you have very little control. The flash fires for each shutter pressure, and an Instax Mini film field will roll out to a mechanic hum. The results are unpredictable beyond knowing that the printed image will be a little soft with high contrast and be bound within the Polaroid frame icon. The magic comes when you put the printout on a table, forget it and are reminded of a great memory no less than a minute and a half later.
When I use an Instax camera, I can not help but notice the amount of plastic used in each of the 10 photo cartridges. Although there is a recycling logo on the cartridge, it is in Japanese, and I can not tell you how many plastics it is made of. In the US, many municipalities have specific plastic numbers they can and cannot recycle, and without this number being clearly marked on these photo cartridges, I could not know if I would be able to recycle them here in Brooklyn, New York. I reached out to Fujifilm for more information and will update this article if I get it.
Games both inform about my creative style and relieve me of stress – as as a person tasked with reviewing cameras, it is difficult to always satisfy when using the camera. But the Mini 40, much like the Mini 11, has so few options, a very light feel, and at times such unpredictable results that I can sit back and just have fun when I use it. Any further thought of photographic theory when using the Mini 40 is excessive and rarely gives me better results.
At $ 100, the Mini 40 is a little more expensive than the almost identical Mini 11. Besides the new vintage look, there would be little reason to spend the extra $ 30. But if it’s important to see the cinematographer, the design of the Mini 40 will stand out. When Fujifilm addresses the amount of plastic used in each of the 10-shot film packages, I will truly be able to have a carefree experience with this camera.
Photograph by Becca Farsace / The Verge