Fujifilm has announced the latest addition to the Instax Mini line of instant cameras, the Mini 40. Similar to the Instax Mini 11 that was released last March, the Mini 40 is an entry-level instant camera with just two settings and two buttons. But what sets this camera apart is its vintage film camera look with a plastic synthetic leather body and metallic looking plastic rails. It’s a $ 100 toy camera that instantly creates printed memories – and of course, it’s a great thing to play with.
Aside from the vintage camera look, the Mini 40 has the same mechanics as the $ 70 Mini 11. Pressing the large silver button under the lens compartment opens the lens and turns the camera on. Selfie mode is activated by pulling the outermost part of the lens out about half an inch. When you’re ready to pack it away, slide the lens back into the camera to turn it off. The plastic housing of the camera makes it very light and easy to take with you wherever you go.
The Instax Mini 40 has two recording modes: normal and selfie. In selfie mode, the focal length of the camera is adjusted so that subjects closer to the lens can be focused. In addition, you have very little control. The flash fires each time the shutter button is pressed and a sheet of Instax Mini film rolls out with a mechanical hum. The results are unpredictable if one does not know that the printed photo will be slightly soft, high in contrast and will be bound within the Polaroid symbol frame. The magic comes when you put the print on a table, forget about it and are reminded of a great memory no less than a minute and a half later.
When using an Instax camera, I can’t help but notice the amount of plastic that is 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 number of plastic it is made of. In the US, many communities have certain plastic numbers that they can and cannot recycle. Without this number, which is clearly marked on these photo cartridges, I had no way of knowing if I could recycle them here in Brooklyn, New York. I have asked Fujifilm for more information and will update this article when I get it.
Gambling affects my creative style and relieves me of stress – which is hard to please a person who is tasked with checking cameras when using a camera. But the Mini 40, much like the Mini 11, has so few options, a very light feel, and sometimes such unpredictable results that I can sit back and just have fun using it. Any further thought about photographic theory while using the Mini 40 is exaggerated and seldom has given me better results.
At $ 100, the Mini 40 is slightly more expensive than the almost identical Mini 11. Aside from its new vintage look, there’s little reason to spend the extra $ 30. However, if it is important to look at the film photographer’s part, the design of the Mini 40 will stand out. As soon as Fujifilm addresses the amount of plastic used in each of the 10-shot film packages, I can work really carefree with this camera.
Photography by Becca Farsace / The Verge