If you’ve been toying with the idea of buying an instant camera, the new Instax Mini LiPlay may just be the device that convinces you to take the plunge and finally make the purchase. At the forefront of the instant camera market, Fujifilm continues to offer photography lovers new ways to share their snaps and the latest edition to the range is arguably their best effort yet. Combining the most loved features of earlier Instax Mini instant cameras with the super popular Instax Share smartphone printer, the new Instax Mini LiPlay is an instant camera hybrid that solves many of the gripes users had with first-generation instant cameras.
Combining the features of an analogue instant film camera with digital camera convenience in the smallest package possible, the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is ideal for snap-happy amateur photographers. While many instant cameras require you to shoot and print every time you press the shutter release, resulting in a massive waste of expensive photo paper, the LiPlay puts the power back in your hands with its digital camera capabilities.
Featuring a small LCD on the back, the device enables you to not only frame your shots but also to edit them before deciding to print. Images are stored using internal memory or an optional microSD card so you can snap away and later browse through your photographs to customise them using one of the camera’s six colour filters or 30 frame options before you print. The device prints mini 2.1 x 3.4-inch Polaroid-style snaps which are ideal for scrapbooking, decorating your fridge, or displaying on your desk.
While the LiPlay’s on-board 1/5-inch digital image sensor doesn’t result in breathtaking picture quality, it is sufficient for the miniature print size of the Instax photo paper. If you’re looking for better quality snaps, the LiPlay also allows you to switch to shooting on your smartphone before connecting to the LiPlay via Bluetooth to print your smartphone photographs. The LiPlay connects to your smartphone using the LiPlay mobile app, which gives you the option to remotely control the camera, (making selfies and group shots a bit easier) or to print directly from your smartphone.
Of course, the LiPlay’s functionalities also help solve a major instant camera gripe — the fight of who gets to keep the good photo. Because the LiPlay has on-board memory and allows you to edit snaps before printing, you can now snap away until you’re happy with the perfect shot and then print off multiple copies of the same photograph for you and all your friends to keep.
Taking its digital features a step further, Fujifilm has also added a mic button to the front of the camera. Press it to record up to 10 seconds of audio that gets converted to a QR code and printed in the corner of the picture. Scan it with your phone and you’ll hear the clip. This feature didn’t really appeal to me and isn’t something I would use on a regular basis but I can see how it would be a big hit with teens who love a good ‘gimmick’.
While the LiPlay is on the pricier side of the instant camera market, with all its features the device makes the most financial sense when buying an instant camera or smartphone printer. It would make for the perfect gift for a photography crazy friend or family member on your list this festive season.
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