Fujifilm has announced the latest addition to the Instax Mini line of instant cameras, the Mini 40. Like the Instax Mini 11, which launched last March, the Mini 40 is an entry-level instant film camera with just two settings and two buttons. . But what sets this camera apart is its vintage film camera look, complete with a plastic faux leather body and metallic-looking 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 old-fashioned camera look, the Mini 40 has the same mechanics as the $ 70 Mini 11. Pressing the large silver button under the lens compartment will open the lens and turn on the camera. Selfie mode is activated by pulling the outermost part of the lens about half an inch more. And when you’re ready to put it away, put the lens back on the camera to turn it off. The camera’s all-plastic housing makes it very light and easy to take anywhere.
There are two shooting modes on the Instax Mini 40: normal and selfie. Selfie mode adjusts the focal length of the camera to allow subjects closest to the lens to be in focus. Beyond that, you have very little control. The flash will fire with each press of the shutter, and a sheet of Instax Mini film will unfold with a mechanical buzz. The results are unpredictable beyond knowing that the printed photo will be a bit soft with high contrast and will be bound within the frame of the Polaroid icon. The magic comes when you place the print on a table, forget about it, and remember a great memory no less than a minute and a half later.
When I use any Instax camera, I can’t help but notice the amount of plastic used in each of the 10-photo film cartridges. Although there is a recycling logo on the cartridge, it is in Japanese and I cannot tell what plastic number it is made with. In the US, many municipalities have specific plastic numbers that they can and cannot recycle, and without this number clearly labeled on these photo cartridges, you wouldn’t be able to know if you could recycle them here in Brooklyn, New York. I contacted Fujifilm for more information and will update this article if I get it.
Playing informs my creative style and relieves me of stress, which, as a person tasked with checking cameras, is difficult to always satisfy when using a camera. But the Mini 40, like the Mini 11, has so few options, a very light feel, and sometimes such unpredictable results that I can sit back and have fun using it. Any further thought on photo theory while using the Mini 40 is overkill and rarely gave me better results.
At $ 100, the Mini 40 is slightly more expensive than the nearly identical Mini 11. Aside from its new vintage look, there would be little reason to spend the extra $ 30. But if looking at the film photographer side is important, the Mini 40’s design will stand out. Once Fujifilm addresses the amount of plastic used in each of the 10 shot film packs, I will really be able to have a carefree experience with this camera.
Photograph by Becca Farsace / The Verge