a little, gorgeous instant camera that comes with a variety of lens and filter options. The Instax Evo is the best hybrid camera Fujifilm has produced, and because of the additional digital advantages, switching back to only analogue options will be challenging.
Design and Screen The retro aesthetic is lovely.
Although the 3-inch rear display appears good, it struggles in intense light.
There are several manual dials and buttons to investigate.
It looks fantastic, the Instax Mini Evo. It mirrors the design of some of Fujifilm’s own higher-end cameras, such the X100 series, and has a retro camera feel. There are knobs and levers to explore, as well as faux-leather accents.
But when you pick it up, it feels very much like a relatively inexpensive instant camera. The construction is nearly entirely made of plastic, and it lacks the substantial finish you might anticipate from a more expensive model. Yet, the elegant black and silver color scheme and the plastic body’s low weight make it easy to tuck into a purse.
Large, circular lens, power switch, flash module, and one of two shutter buttons are all located around the front of the camera. Another shutter button, a dial that lets you quickly switch between filter presets without fumbling with menus, and — one of my personal favorite improvements to this camera — a real lever you pull to print a picture are all located on the top. The latter is such a genius addition that gives the printing process a tactile quality.
A 3-inch LCD screen for viewing images prior to printing, a directional pad for navigating, and three buttons are located around the rear of the Mini Evo. The film tucks neatly away beneath the screen because this is an instant camera.
The display is enough for the task at hand and provides a good depiction of the picture you’re about to print. It’s neither the sharpest or the most colorful, but then then, neither is the printed version of the image. On a particularly sunny day, I had trouble seeing the interface clearly, but interior lighting was much better.
Curiously, despite the fact that the camera’s design makes it attractive whether you shoot portrait or horizontally, the interface you’ll need to navigate through the display is restricted to a portrait mode. A built-in accelerometer that could intelligently change the arrangement depending on the shooting mode, or even simply a manual rotation option, would have been fantastic.
Design and features
The Evo Mini is definitely fashionable, with faux leather and a chrome appearance modeled by an old rangefinder camera. It doesn’t feel as high-end as it appears because the structure is virtually completely plastic, but it is reassuringly heavy to grasp.
The Mini Evo doesn’t expose its film directly, just as the earlier Instax Mini LiPlay. It enables a considerably smaller body than a conventional instant camera by sandwiching a digital sensor between the lens and film. Just the largest of trouser pockets will fit the lens because it hardly protrudes from the main body and is therefore easy to slip in and out of a bag.
A power switch, shutter button, and small selfie mirror surround the lens barrel, which can be rotated to adjust between lens settings. The front of the camera is relatively unadorned.
A second shutter button, settings shortcut, an effects-specific mode dial, a cold shoe attachment, and other controls are located on the top of the camera. It’s a nice touch that when you want to print a picture, you pull a lever that looks like an analog film advance. Nevertheless, only a few of these buttons have labels, making it difficult for beginners to know which one to hit.
The hybrid character of the camera is obvious from the 3in LCD screen and navigation controls on the back. They are integrated into the film door, which is secured in place by a clasp strong enough to withstand even the lightest knock.
Up to 100 photos and about 20 photo prints can be made with the built-in battery. A microSD card slot and a hidden microUSB connector are both located on the bottom of the camera, where the battery is charged. Up to 45 photos can be stored in the Mini Evo’s internal memory before you need to add external storage.
The Mini Evo takes pictures that are comparable to those from Fuji’s fully analog instant cameras when print quality is set to “Instax Rich.” Only if you closely examine the finished image will you find that images transferred from a smartphone for printing appear to be of a slightly lesser resolution than those taken with the camera itself.
Dark shadows and lighter highlights are typical, with bold colors and contrast. There is no light leakage like you would find with a lomography-style camera, unless you’ve intentionally inserted some using the effects wheel, and definition is sharper than competing film formats. In bright outdoor settings, there is a tendency for overexposure, however manually decreasing exposure by -2/3EV helps reduce blown highlights.
The digital photographs from the Mini Evo aren’t quite as striking as their printed counterparts, with a glaring loss of resolution and high levels of noise in darker environments. These may be compared to simply the most basic smartphones today, which for some people might take away some of the appeal of a hybrid camera. Although the dynamic range is clearly average and the colors aren’t quite as striking as they seem when printed, these aspects are often “good enough” for social media use.
The Instax Mini Evo is an instant camera experience that has been redesigned, and it’s the most enjoyable one of these retro cameras we’ve used thus far. We liked it because of its hybrid features, better lens, and satisfying retro controls. This is the one to acquire if you like the notion of instant film photography but don’t want some cheap equipment or a lot of prints that will end up in the trash.