Fujifilm Australia launched the Instax Mini LiPlay today, a hybrid instant camera capable of printing both photos taken on the device and from smartphones via a companion app.
Announced earlier this week and shown at a local launch event in Sydney, the camera comes equipped with a 5-megapixel lens and 2.7-inch screen which lets you view photos before printing them. Gone are the days of praying to a higher power of your choosing that your photos would develop well.
In addition, the companion app for iOS/Android smartphones allows you to print your own images.
After leaving the event in Circular Quay, I decided to test the camera by taking a photo of the Harbour Bridge. It took me about 10 seconds to realise that the shutter button was actually on the front of the unit; while my hands are the right size to not get cramped in this position, it might pose a bit of a challenge for those with larger fingers.
The unit’s printer uses the same film as other Instax cameras. My bridge photo looked good on the screen, but it took a few prints for the image to develop correctly. I’m not entirely sure whether it was the printer itself or user error, but it was a bit annoying.
However, by far, the weirdest feature of this camera in general is the ability to record sound and embed it as a QR code - though you do have to upload the sound to the cloud by connecting the camera to the app. It’s pretty cool, don’t get me wrong, but completely unnecessary.
The LiPlay companion app was simple to set up on my iPhone XR, with no registration required. As mentioned above, you can use the app to print your own images from your camera roll, and you can also use it as a remote shutter button.
It took less than 10 seconds to connect the camera via Bluetooth to my phone and within seconds, I had accomplished my ultimate goal: using this thing to print memes.
Sorry, Fujifilm. Please invite us back next time.
Anyhow, first impressions: while this isn’t something I would’ve bought for myself, it’s certainly a cool little piece of technology. The renaissance of instant photos is completely understandable - actually printing photos these days is so rare, so the novelty of printing and developing snippets of our lives is so much fun.
That being said, my only real gripe with the Fujifilm Instax mini LiPlay is the position of the shutter button. I can sort of understand that maybe due to technical limitations, they couldn’t put it on the side, but it’s a little weird.
I had a lot of fun with this and I can’t wait to print even more memes.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is available from today at a local RRP of AU$229.