It was thirty-minutes into a New Year’s Eve party that I realized how the over-sharing of our digital images has affected our camera use at parties. Among the dozens of people that were hoping to remember the night with their smartphones, I was passing off Fujifilm’s latest instant camera to a crowd of people that were fawning over it, and everyone wanted a picture or two for their very own.
Digital cameras and smartphones clearly have their place in our day-to-day lives, but it wasn’t until I was actually partying it up with friends and coworkers that I realized how self-conscious we have become because of digital pictures. With instant-sharing to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and a dozen other social-media sites, the idea that pictures just end up on the internet is a constant concern nowadays, and for good reason.
We’ve seen political figures overthrown because of social-media postings, celebrities plagued by horrible candid photos or revealing smartphone libraries, and all the while we are still trying capture our friends at their most vulnerable; when they are actually having fun.
Online sharing is still one of my first thoughts when someone takes my picture, and in my head instead of saying cheese I’m thinking, “Where are they going to post this?, Will this be trouble at work? Who’s going to see this? or “I’ll just delete it if I don’t like it.
That was my Instax moment on New Years, when friends weren’t concerned where I was going to post the pictures that I was taking, instead the pics just printed out and my friends could even have them if they wanted (and boy did they). Funny-faces, horrible angles on my part, booze or awkward dance-moves at midnight, no one was worried about seeing it on Facebook the next day, they were excited to see them develop and everyone wanted to keep their best shots (I obviously withheld the right to keep my favorites).
Over the past few years I’ve been lucky enough to test and review some of the best digital SLR or DSLR cameras on the market, and while I personally have loved a few of them, my subjects had never had more fun testing out my camera than with the Instax Mini 90. Without asking, people were grouping together, grabbing the camera from the table, laughing and posing and I never had to say, “Wait let me take your picture.” Not even once.
Mini-90x-InsertAll of this would have come to a halt however if my camera didn’t keep up, or performed poorly, so I was excited to see just how the Instax Mini 90 would keep up under such heavy-use at a New Year’s party. I had used the camera for about a week before that, taking cat photos, work photos or random photos around Brooklyn to test out the digital features, but I needed a big party to stress-test it, and New Year’s was the perfect fit.
The camera has a few classic Polaroid mechanics, taking a picture starts the whirling motor that shoots out a small print, that will soon start to develop after a few seconds. Although the camera has a retro-feel that blends effortlessly with the classic instant-developing method, there are a few upgrades. Different picture modes are available at a click of a button to enhance your picture-taking abilities. Some of the these features include “party mode,” adding a slower ISO coupled with a flash to help you with the lighting, perfect for stationary shots and portraits and really brings in more of the background light to give your pictures a better composition than just two faces in the dark. The “kids mode” allows you to capture kids, pets or other fast-moving objects that may be your subject at the time. Both of these worked beautifully, and the camera will allow anyone to start taking better pictures than a standard instant-camera and these coupled with other features allow the more advanced to really create some terrific images.
ph22One of the best features is the “double exposure,” a hidden gem in the settings of the camera and one that I loved to test during my trials with the camera. This combines two-images with one shot, allowing you to hold the shutter open while you hold down the button, allowing for some amazing effects with light and subjects.
The options aren’t just modes, you can also apply different settings to the exposure, and other more intricate matters to really create some fantastic images. The quality of the pictures are greatly improved as well, when compared to the old polaroid images of the 1970s. While the pictures themselves may be smaller (1 ¾-by-2 ½-inch) they are actually the perfect size as mementos. I used mine for small images at the office, on my fridge and one particular image of my friends as a bookmark. They are great at parties, they fit in any pocket or wallet, and aren’t too big to be a bother.
I loved the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, as did any one of my friends that came in contact with it. It’s a really unique way to remember an event and to share your experience with others. It’s far more social than a regular digital camera, and as we progress further and further into a digital world, it’s refreshing to have something tangible at the end of a night and to see those moments dotted around your home or office.
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