I hate the Instax Mini Evo – so why does everyone love it?

Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo review
(Image credit: Gavin Stoker/Digital Camera World)

It's been nothing short of a triumph. The Instax Mini Evo has been well received by reviewers, and is selling like hot cakes to customers – reportedly shifting twice as many units as Fujifilm predicted. But I'm an instant camera nerd and… well, I kinda hate it. 

No shade intended. The Instax Mini Evo is quite a capable device, and certainly one of the best digital instant camera hybrids (which is to say, it combines the advantages of the best instant cameras with the decidedly non-instant advantages of the best portable printers). 

However, I geek out hard over instant cameras. I've got all manner of Polaroids and Lomos and Instaxes sat on my shelves, from refurbished 600s to Japan-only Minis with obscure anime branding. And while I got proper excited when I saw the Evo first appear, after using one I decided that it would be the first Instax I wouldn't add to my collection. 

Now, I'm usually the last person on Earth to complain about "style over substance", because I firmly believe that style is substance. However, if a camera ever fit that bill it would be the Instax Mini Evo. 

For all intents and purposes, it's a slightly snazzier version of the Instax Mini LiPlay, only it's bigger and (to my eye) not as cool to look at, despite being designed as an aesthetics-first camera. 

It does, however, suffer from all the same issues that the LiPlay does, such as the subpar LCD screen (compared to modern electronics), underpowered image sensor (which suffers from banding and artefacting even in relatively simple scenes), and shots that are betrayed by their low resolution if you don't print them out (meaning your phone is a better instant option). 

While I definitely appreciate the "analog-ness" of the camera – like the windable film lever, and turnable dial and lens – they make the device feel more like a toy than anything. Especially with some of the very iffy looking filters available in the editing menus. 

If you're looking for an all-in-one hybrid instant camera with a nostalgic twist, the Evo may well ring your bell. Personally, though, I'm much happier taking instant snaps with the Instax Mini 11 or Polaroid Now+, and using the Instax Mini Link 2 or Instax Link Wide to print out my photos on-demand. 

Read more: 

Instax Mini Evo review
Instax Mini LiPlay review
Instax Mini 11 review
Instax Mini Link 2 review
Instax Link Wide review

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.