What if you could bring the feel of vintage Instagram filters to life? What if you could print out your favorite Instagram photo with that artsy old-school filter and hold it in your hand or post it on your fridge or tape it to your monitor? That’s sort of what it’s like using the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Camera which prints out photos as you take them using real film. It’s the camera a real hipster would use and it’s definitely fun to use.
For my generation, cameras that aren’t digital aren’t nostalgia. We barely used them. For us, what’s old is really new. I’ve heard of Polaroid cameras; in fact, my step-dad had one when I was growing up and I know he really liked using it. But I never really used it, never got attached to it and grew up in an age where phones supplanted cameras for the average person who wasn’t a professional photographer. For me, cameras that print film are intriguing.
Actually it was my wife who said we should check out the Instax Mini 90. She was looking for something that could capture our toddler and provide some instant satisfaction in the physical world. It’s interesting because instant satisfaction is what my generation thrives on. When we post a photo to social media we can get immediate feedback from friends and strangers. So it’s actually a logical transition, I think, for us to take kindly to photos that print out instantly.
And there’s something really fun and challenging about taking a photos that you can’t edit! You’ve got to get it right the first time. You have to think about composure and lighting. Or, on the opposite side of the matter, you don’t. You can think about things less and just enjoy the lack of control and let pictures turn out how they turn out. And in that regard, using the Instax is a little bit like using Beme, the app from Casey Neistat which is meant to remove all superficiality from sharing a moment.
I also like the feeling of needing to conserve film. It costs real money to buy film for the Instax Mini 90 and each roll only gives you 10 pictures. You’ve got to be sure something is worth capturing before you pull the trigger.
Would the Instax Mini 90 be a suitable camera for everyday use? Probably not. But ...