Review of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera
The Problem of Modern Photography
Photography has a long and fascinating history. We have evidence that society has been attempting to capture images of itself as far back as Ancient Greece. It wasn’t until Louis Daguerre in 19th century France, however, that our modern notion of photography was born. Since then, the art form has gone through much iteration—black and white film, color film, digital, and now mobile smart phone cameras. Historically, the camera industry has boomed alongside the development of photography. They were constantly coming out with new and better models, and consumers felt pressured to keep up the pace. The recent technological revolution, however, has started to turn the tide; the camera industry is now a buyers market, and Instagram filters are making camera quality and photographer skill obsolete. Everyone is a photographer now. The camera industry has enormously suffered from the smart phone generation, as there is now essentially no need to buy a separate camera when your phone is equally capable. The camera industry is at something of a crossroads—will they continue to try and develop new camera products, or cede that the phone industry has made them obsolete? It seems that with Fujifilm’s development of the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera, they have chosen another route—play the nostalgia card.
What it Does
The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film camera pulls at the heartstrings of millennials, bringing them back to that iconic part of their collective childhood, the Polaroid camera. Do you remember the Polaroid camera? Outkast even made a song about it. It was a klunky film camera that allowed you to take a picture, wait a few minutes, and then receive a film copy immediately afterwards. The machine itself would print the image on the film, and you would eagerly wait as the image gradually came into focus. This novelty awarded many children in the 1980s and 1990s afternoons filled with entertainment. Fujifilm is bringing this trend back in a big way. Just like with the Polaroid, this Fujifilm camera prints the images on immediate film, a retro move for the selfie generation, and a nostalgic one for millennials.
Pros and Cons
It’s pretty amazing that Fujifilm has found a niche here, as these are not the kind of photos you can easily post on Instagram—they are prints, for goodness sake! However, this camera is the top of the line model for the modern Instax industry. These cameras come in a variety of sizes, and this model is pretty average, about 4.5 inches by 3.5 inches. In terms of price, this model is definitely on the high-end, while some of the smaller models are a bit more affordable. However, the increase in price also correlates with an increase in quality, as the Mini 90 Neo Classic model is renowned for its image quality, particularly at night. Fujifilm is taking a gamble on this quality for price ratio, as the market has demonstrated that image quality is no longer enough of a reason to buy a camera. Still, Fujifilm seems to be garnering a respectable return from that bet. They offer a one-year warranty, and overall, it seems to be a very high quality product. In fact, on Amazon.com, 79% of people give it 5 stars, and only 6% give it fewer than 3.
At its essence, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic Instant Film Camera is a novelty item, a cutesy idea for a wedding reception or a scrapbooking party. It will always lose the battle against Instagram, and Fujifilm knows it. Even though they have been able to sell it for three years, they have also diversified their corporation, as now only about 8% of Fujifilm is dedicated to selling cameras. They have seen which way the wind is turning and know that pure camera production is a dying industry, hence why they are relying on nostalgia to keep themselves in the market. This model is not industry changing or industry defining, but if you have a millennial that used to love his or her afternoons playing with the Polaroid, it could be an excellent retro gift.