Fujifilm’s Instax Mini Evo is among the most popular Instax instant cameras. In part, the hype around it is earned. It’s a hybrid camera, meaning that it is both a digital camera and instant printer, all rolled into one. Crucially, you get to choose what images you want to print out.

All of this is pretty cool, but the Mini Evo is no longer the most exciting Instax you can get. For me, now that I’ve reviewed both cameras, that title now goes to the new Instax Mini 99.

Here’s three reasons why:

1. The Mini 99 is most capable Instax yet

The Mini 99 (drumroll) has manual controls. And while it is expensive, it is nowhere near the Polaroid I-2’s over $500 / £500 price tag. It is nowhere near as fancy, but it does manage to pack in exposure control dials, focusing options, a Sports mode, Double Exposure Mode, a timer for self-portraits, and the ability to turn the flash on and off. The best part is that many of the Mini 99’s modes work really well and for the most part, produce quality photos.

Instax Mini 99 with sample photos
Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

This camera also has a Bulb Mode. Yes, a Bulb Mode. While it’s not perfect and you will need to a tripod to get good results, it’s a nice addition to an instant camera already packed with interesting features.

The Mini Evo does have quite a few interesting colour effects and settings but is ultimately bogged down by its tiny sensor and lens. On the whole, I got more detailed images with the Mini 99 that I was happy with.

2. Not a fan of Instax’s quirky pastels? MAKEOVER ALERT!

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 top view
Credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

The Instax Mini 99 is beautiful, too. Retro, stylish, and all-black. The top where the dials are located reminded me of the smash-hit Fujifilm X100VI’s top. While I love Instax’s quirky pastels to bits, a black camera may be the preferred option for some photographers.

It is good to see Fujifilm giving photographers options, and such nicely designed ones at that. And among Instax’s retro-inspired cameras, including the Mini Evo and Instax SQ40, the Mini 99 is among the more polished.

3. It’s a step up for instant photographers

Speaking of options, the Instax Mini 99 will most definitely appeal to instant photographers looking to step up their film photography. What makes the Instax Mini 99 such a great option is its versatility. If you want an easy-to-use point and shoot, it can certainly be that. If you also want to step up your film photography, it’s got options you can begin experimenting with.

As a beginner film photographer just beginning my search for a 35mm SLR, I can say that using the Mini 99 was the most fun I’ve had with an Instax camera in a while.

Why the Instax Mini 99 is the best Instax - not the Instax Mini Evo
Sample photos taken with the Instax Mini 99. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

While the Mini Evo’s hybrid status makes it a novelty and will still win it points over the Mini 99 for some, the sheer amount of possibilities the Instax Mini offers and the quality of most of its modes makes it the better option for film photographers looking to do more with their photography.

Read our full Instax Mini 99 review.

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