My first memory of a film camera is my father rushing to a dark room to process the film so that it does not get exposed to light. The Canon AE-1, had a lever at the top which you would pull up to roll the film. Later, point and shoot cameras would do this task automatically. Fujifilm gained prominence at the time with their boxy point-and-shoot cameras. Smartphones obliterated the industry. The players that remained had to pivot their business models, and Fujifilm has been somewhat successful in this endeavour. Its instant cameras have attracted camera enthusiasts to recreate the nostalgia. Fujifilm is also blending in technology to give new age users a seamless experience which allows them to use their phones in tandem with their camera.
Case in point is the recently launched Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo Premium Edition. Priced at Rs 19,990, the camera sits at the higher end of the instant camera range from the manufacturer. It offers regular point and shoot features with additional options to set different lens styles and film effects.
Fujifilm has done little to tinker with the design of the Evo Premium Edition. The camera looks something out of a 1980s commercial and maintains the retro design aspect, with a few more buttons and levers. The black faux leather design fuses well with the silver. The on/off button up front is easy to operate. The lens has a dial, which makes it easy to navigate through different lens features. There is a flash on the left and the dial up to which again helps determine different modes like monochrome, sepia, etc. The print lever on the right is easy to operate and maintains the character. The screen at the back is large enough to work as a decent viewfinder. The colours on the display could have been better.
User interface and battery life
The user interface has been a problem with Fujifilm cameras. The options are difficult to operate, and menu is difficult to navigate. The dials work well in switching modes, but that is where the ease of access ends. If you need to set white balance and then set a print style, it is an uphill task. The battery life, on the other hand, is stellar. The camera went to sleep mode if not in use and the battery life could work well for five days with moderate use. The advantage of the new camera is the ability to import pictures from a smartphone and using the smartphone as a remote.
Camera and print quality
The Instax Evo Premium Edition works well as a regular point and shoot camera. There is not too much in terms of image quality, but it is better compared to others in the Instax series—there is a considerable premium to that. The prints were decent, not too great. Although you have 10 modes available for both print and picture quality, the colour bleeding was too much at times. The reds were too pronounced. The sepia mode worked very well, but the monochrome mode had lighting issues, especially when on print.
The base price or the product price is Rs 19,990, then the film is Rs 979 for a pack of 20. Overpriced for the features it provides, the camera is only good for enthusiasts.