Review made by esquire.com
Announced at the end of 2021, the Evo is by far the best instant camera we’ve tried to date. And, at €199.99, it costs a bit more than its rivals too. We spent a fortnight testing it out and there are three main areas where it impressed us. The first is its hybrid capabilities (including its rear screen and smartphone connectivity), the second is its 28mm lens that’s capable of close focus distances of 10cm (almost unheard of in instant photography), and the third is that it lets you pick what to print rather than doing it automatically. That extra control means fewer wasted frames.
Film fans will rejoice at the style of this. It’s made to look just like an old-fashioned film camera, with a silver and black design that includes a lot of faux leather. OK, we all know it’s textured plastic but it doesn’t feel tacky and it’s still lightweight enough for you to chuck in your bag for the day without weighing you down. It’s also discreet, so it doesn’t scream “instant camera” when you whip it out in public.
When it comes to the menus and interface, there’s loads of shared DNA between this and the Instax Li-Play, which is a bit simpler but also blends digital and instant photography. The Mini Evo repurposes familiar controls to make things all the more intuitive to use. The focus ring? That’s used for the ten “lens effects” such as fisheye, soft focus and double exposure. The rear control dial? This changes between ten “film effects” like sepia, monochrome or “retro”.
Anyone who’s ever used a film camera will recognise the position of the film advance lever on the back right of the body. Here, the Mini Evo uses that same lever as a satisfying way to print the snap you’re viewing on the screen.
When you’re out shooting, it’s intuitive to mix and match the effects available to get the look you want. Instax boasts that there are a total of 100 different “expressions” to achieve by using these in combination with each other. You’ll need to dive into the menus to tinker with exposure compensation or use the self-timer, flash or macro mode. This is all straightforward enough, and we found it quick to shoot, get the results we’d envisaged and then pick our favourites to print.
The Instax Mini Evo doubles up as a mobile photo printer too, and it can churn out photos from your phone once you've connected it via Bluetooth. Fire up the Instax Mini Evo app (on iOS and Android), and you'll be able to print anything from your camera roll.
You can throw on a bunch of filters and effects within the app, but if you're anything like us you'll skip the gimmicks. We reckon these prints are ideal for slipping into your wallet, pinning on your wall or giving as gifts.
Instax Mini Evo: The Verdict
The Instax Mini Evo is the instant camera experience reimagined, and it’s the most fun we’ve had with one of these throwback snappers so far. It won us over with its hybrid functions, improved lens and satisfying retro controls. If you’re into the idea of instant film photography but don’t want some cheap kit or loads of prints going in the bin, this is the one to get.