Do you remember Minolta? Well, the brand is back and making a resurgence into the photography world with its take on instant cameras. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of the Minolta Instapix 2-in-1 camera because you are not alone. They’ve been available on QVC and Amazon for over two years. There are a lot of questions that come to mind, with the most pressing question being why?
To preface all of this, we haven’t actually held or tested the camera. But given our 12-years of experience, we’re basing our opinion on a lot of previous experiences. Further, this isn’t the same Minolta that was bought by Sony. It’s the brand name being used. The Minolta Instapix creative team seems to have put more effort into checking a lot of features boxes than designing an actual user-friendly camera. Smartphone app? Check. Bluetooth connectivity? Check. 10MP and a few camera features? Check. Is it user-friendly, and does it produce a quality product? Not really. Although, the candy-colored options are fun. The features sound great on paper. However, it’s a completely missed opportunity.
The Instapix needs to be on par with Fujifilm Instax and other instant camera companies that utilize Zink printing. Fujifilm Instax is on top of the instant camera mountain and for good reason. First, the quality of their film is really good. It is sharp, colorful, and consistent. The company continues to create instant cameras and smartphone printers that their customers want. The company has managed to create all of this in products that are functional, attractive, fun, and easy to use. Zink, on the other hand, isn’t even film.
Part of the success of Fujifilm Instax is that it has the nostalgia factor alongside the simple functions of older cameras. This is not the case with the Instapix. Users will need to depend on either the thumb-sized LCD on the back of their smartphone to compose the image properly. I’m not sure why Minolta even chose to have an LCD screen in this case. They would have been better served to opt for an optical viewfinder that syncs with the camera for users to see the final result.
Minolta has chosen to print its images on paper instead of actual film. Sure, it is smudge-proof and waterproof. But the final result is still a paper print that is trying its hardest to be a film print. Not to mention, Zink products already provide a similar product without the environmental impact (but with none of the quality.) The 4PASS cartridges cost about the same as Fujifilm Instax. So why not just use instant film? Everyone loves instant film, even beginners. Watching an image develop and come to life will always be more satisfying than watching an image print. We highly doubt it has to do with the environment.
I think Minolta would have been better off focusing on either a smartphone printer or an instant camera and committing to making a user-friendly product. The attempt to do both is a disservice for the Minolta Instapix. Money is better spent on an actual smartphone printer or an instant camera that uses real film in its current state.
It would be great to see Minolta make a splash in the photography world again. The 2-in-1 Instapix is like jumping into the shallow end. The brand needs to go all-in with its next instant film camera, should they make another attempt, and dive into the deep end.