Fujifilm is one of the last standing camera makers that still sells instant cameras. The company’s latest Instax Mini 11 is an improvement over its predecessor, though it looks and works in similar fashion. You might wonder why go for an instant camera when one can capture better still photographs from smartphones. Well, the reel-based point-and-shoot cameras might have become a thing of the past but the paperback photos still hold relevance, and what could be better than instant cameras to capture and print photos almost instantly. That said, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a niche product aimed at shutterbugs who still appreciate paperback photos over digital.
Successor to the Instax Mini 9, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 looks like a toy but not a cheap one. It is a portable device with lightweight design that is easy to carry around. Using the camera is easy too. On the right side, it has a thumb grip, which is slightly better than the Instax Mini 9. On the front, it has the camera lens and the power button next to it. The shutter button, flash and viewfinder is at the top right side, and there is a tiny mirror for selfies just above the lens.
On its back, there is a removable panel to insert photo films and there is a tiny ticker that tells you about the remaining photo sheets in the slot. On the right side, the camera has space for two AA size batteries.
Design details aside, the camera is simple to use — point the lens towards the subject and click the capture button to record and print the frame on a paper sheet. The Instax Mini 11 takes a few seconds to print a picture and the process takes about two minutes to complete.
As for the quality, the photos lack details and the output looks nothing like real. The printing ink darkens the photo and most photos appear darker than their original exposure value. Unfortunately, there are no settings to manually control exposure value. The camera has ‘Automatic Exposure’, which senses ambient light and sets the shutter speed and flash accordingly. You can’t disable flash in the Instax Mini 11 and with the auto exposure feature, it results in overexposed images. Focus is another weak area and the camera takes some time to focus appropriately.
The image quality may not be good, but it fares just fine, given the ambient light is just enough for it to work well. Basically, images we took indoors came out well but the camera may not click good pictures outdoors due to excessive light. The images don’t come out too sharp but that was never promised either. The images from the camera are mostly soft with the subject appearing too bright where the flash reaches it the most.
We tried taking selfies but didn’t get good shots, it takes a bit of time to understand how the camera performs under different light conditions. After one or two attempts, we could take good pictures.
At Rs 5,999, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a cute little memory box that makes you fall in love with it at first look. It has a touch of nostalgia and the Polaroids it take have a classic vintage look that makes you fall in love with it all over again. However, one must take note that this instant camera is not a full-fledged camera alternative. It neither claims to be one. It is like a childhood toy camera that turned out to be real.