Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is all about bringing the fun back into photography and for some of us, reliving some fond childhood memories. Now, more than ever, we take hundreds of photos that are saved and forgotten in the abyss of our Google Photos or other such cloud-based archives. The Mini LiPlay is a fun camera that allows you to capture the moment and provide you with the option of an instant print, directly from the camera.
The Mini LiPlay is designed to be easy to use and comfortable to handle. It has no sharp edges and almost looks like a toy camera. I love this design aesthetic because it’s in keeping with the playful nature of the camera, which is more about the experience than the technology.
The Mini LiPlay is available in Elegant Black, Blush Gold and Stone White. Each colour is distinctive, but the Elegant Black has a striking contrast between black and gold accents that I particularly like.
The font of the camera has the lens, LED flash and a dedicated shutter button and audio record button. There’s a mirror above the lens and this works surprisingly well for framing group or selfie photos.
On the top edge, there’s the power button and three shortcut buttons; 1, 2, and 3. By default, these are used for overlaying decorative frames on your photos. Also on the top edge is a flap for the microSD card slot. On the back is the LCD screen along with the menu, back, play and print buttons. The screen quality isn’t great quality, but it’s good enough to get the job done.
You can use a microSD card to store the photos you take, but the mini LiPlay has its own internal memory that can store up to 45 images without sound. However, what makes this camera special is that it has its own built-in printer. Yes, just like the Polaroid cameras of old, you can take and print a photo instantly. It uses film that looks blank when it comes out and then develops right before your eyes. This still feels like magic and I just love watching an image slowly appear — it never gets old.
You don’t just have to use the photos that you take with the camera. If you download the companion app mini LiPlay, you can connect your phone to the camera via Bluetooth and print photos directly to the printer. You will get slightly better results from a high-end smartphone camera, but the size of the print and printer technology is more of a limiting factor. The print quality is excellent, for what it is, and I love the colours because they have a retro 70’s feel to them.
The mini LiPlay uses a 28mm lens (35mm film equivalent). This is great when you’re trying to get group shots, but if you want a portrait then ideally, you want to fill the frame with the face. To achieve this, you need to either crop in and lose some resolution and quality or use a longer focal length lens with your phone’s camera. If you move in too close for a portrait shot, the face will just look distorted and weird.
The mini LiPlay app has lots of additional features too, including the ability to change settings on the camera like shortcuts and remote shooting— controlling the camera with your smartphone.
Finally, you can record audio and associate it with a photo. Press the audio button to activate a ten-second recording. This will then create a QR code that’s then overlaid on the print. Use your phone to scan the code and you’ll see the original along with the recorded audio that is stored on the Instax website.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is a novelty camera that is fantastic for parties or special occasions. Having loads of photos online is great, but there’s something far more precious about a physical print. The Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is available now in Fujifilm outlets nationwide, RRP €170