Appareil Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic de Fujifilm

Review: Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic (Fujifilm)



The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic holds the top spot in the Instax Mini range. It is the best equipped instant camera among all the little Polaroid devices in the Fujifilm cosmos. What is better about it compared to other Instax cameras? What are its weaknesses? Here is my opinion on the Instax Mini 90.

Design

The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is covered with a leather-like coating. You can choose between two colors for this device: brown or black. A key advantage is that the camera body is very compact and relatively flat. It can fit in a coat pocket, even if it seems wise to pamper it with a carrying bag.

With its grey structure and black or brown coating, the 90 Neo Classic borrows some of the visual characteristics of the vintage design of analog cameras—a trend that Fujifilm has taken up and applied to its range of digital cameras in recent years.

How it works

All the functions of the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic are grouped on the back of the camera.

All the functions of the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic are grouped on the back of the camera.

This device is also the only one in the Mini range that uses a rechargeable battery. The camera is switched on and off with a circular switch located on the front panel above the lens.

The Mini 90 Neo Classic is the most versatile camera in the Instax Mini range. It provides a wide range of tools for your shots.

The functions of the device are positioned on a line of buttons accessible on the back, as follows:

  • macro mode for short distance shots,
  • exposure compensation,
  • self-timer,
  • the Mode button (which we will go over in detail below)
  • flash control
  • and finally a digital screen which displays the number of shots remaining in the photo cartridge, in addition to reminding us of the current setting

Macro mode

If you want to take close-up photos, you should activate the Macro mode. It will provide you with optimal sharpness for subjects at distances ranging from 30 to 60 cm. When this mode is activated, the viewfinder adjusts to take into account the parallax effect. This mode is very useful to precisely visualize the final framing. Few instant devices offer this function.

Self-timer

The self-timer lets you choose between two settings: one shot photo, or two consecutive shots. In both cases, the timer triggers the camera after ten seconds. A similar system can be found on the Instax Mini 70.

The instax Mini 90 lets you work with a wide range of tools to compose your images.

The instax Mini 90 lets you work with a wide range of tools to compose your images.

High-performance flash

The flash of the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic is the most advanced of the Instax series. It can be adjusted in three different positions: auto flash, red-eye reduction and flash off. As such, the Instax Mini 90 is the only device in the range to offer you complete flash disablement. This is again an essential function, and one of the device’s greatest strengths. By turning off the flash, you can avoid an accidental trigger of the flash that could burn your subject. This function is very useful, especially when you photograph subjects at a close distance using the macro mode.

Exposure compensation

Another feature of the Instax Mini 90 is the exposure compensation with the L key. You can juggle between three positions to adjust the brightness of your image: light, lighter (available in some modes only), and dark. This function is very practical to correct a shot after a first attempt that didn’t meet your expectations.

Modes: make your choice!

The Mode button is the one you should use most regularly. With it, you can select the shooting mode best suited to your subject. The different modes you can choose from are:

  • Party
  • Landscape
  • Children
  • Double exposure
  • Bulb (long exposure)

To select a mode, you can press the Mode button several times. You can also activate it by pressing it once and then switching from one mode to another using the ring around the lens, which is a little more convenient and faster.

The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic used with an unusual film, NYC Edition

The Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic used with an unusual film, NYC Edition

Party

With this mode, the exposure time is relatively long and is accompanied by a good flash. This mode is based on the slow sync, a well-known technique in photography. When shooting indoors where lighting is insufficient and artificial, this mode allows you to freeze your subject on a blurry background.

Landscape

The most appropriate setting for distant subjects. Don’t let the mountain icon fool you. This mode can be selected for various types of shots. Use it whenever your subject is at a distance of 3m.

Children

Fujifilm has thought of many things with this device, including parents who are looking to immortalize their rowdy children. This mode, which favors short exposure times and the use of the flash to fix the movement, seems ideal for capturing toddlers who do not hold in place. Generally speaking, you can rely on this mode when it comes to capturing moving subjects as best as possible.

Double exposure

The 90 Neo Classic is the only model in the Instax Mini range to have a Dual Exposure mode.

The 90 Neo Classic is the only model in the Instax Mini range to have a Dual Exposure mode.

Enable this mode to take two pictures in a row on the same exposure. The photo will not be ejected after the first trigger, but only after the second. It’ always fun to experiment with this mode, even if the results don’t necessarily live up to expectations. That’s right, double exposure is an art form! It should be noted that double exposure is another function exclusive to the Neo 90, in Fujifilm’s Instax range.

Long exposure

B mode (for Bulb) indicates the long exposure mode, which is commonly found on cameras for experts. The diaphragm will remain open as long as you hold the shutter button down for up to 10s. Well, let’s be honest, the system could be improved. I’m not sure that 10s are enough to take night pictures, for example. In addition, activating and keeping your finger pressed on the camera may cause camera shake blur. To optimize the results, try to securely mount the camera on a tripod.

In the field

What makes the Instax Mini 90 so interesting, and positions it as a true expert camera at the top of its market segment, is its ability to combine all these options to best adapt to the situation and capture images successfully.

Some examples:

  • If I want to photograph a person in backlit situations, I can choose to force the flash to fire to prevent the exposure from being measured against the bright background and my subject from being too dark in the picture.
  • Or, under the same conditions, if I want to maximize the black silhouette effect on a bright background, I can switch the flash to the off position to make sure it doesn’t fire.
  • I could also take this second option as a starting point for a double exposure. If I get a dark silhouette which stands out against a light background and I make a second exposure over it, the subject of the second photo will fill the silhouette but will be absent from the light background. By adjusting the camera to a macro setting on the second exposure, I can photograph, in full frame, the foliage of a dense bush with beautiful plant texture.

As you can see, the span of the Instax Mini 90’s settings allows you to think creatively about the construction of your images. This would be much more challenging with entry-level models.

In the field, this arsenal of tools also allows you to optimize the result following a disappointing first shot or one that didn’t give you full satisfaction. Be careful though, by default the Instax Mini 90 does not necessarily deliver better images than its more affordable counterparts in the Mini range. Among the points to be criticized is the measurement of exposure, which leaves much to be desired. The viewfinder, for its part, only gives an approximate idea of the final framing. The scene on the printed image is often wider than the one composed through the viewfinder.

Verdict

Full control over the flash, double exposure, brightness adjustment... in Fujifilm's Instax Mini range, these functions are only available on the 90 Neo Classic.

Full control over the flash, double exposure, brightness adjustment… in Fujifilm’s Instax Mini range, these functions are only available on the 90 Neo Classic.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic features a nice set of functions in a light and compact body that gives you plenty of adjustment opportunities. Its wealth of options and its serious but cool side simply make it the best instant camera in the Instax Mini range. It will delight experienced photographers who have standard requirements and like to have control over their shots.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic

We like

  • Very compact device
  • Many functions that can be combined
  • The only Instax Mini with flash control!

We like less

  • Error-prone exposure measurement
  • Narrow and imprecise viewfinder
  • Image quality no better than on other Instax devices