Is it worth it... The Fujimax Instax Mini

What could be more Seventies than Polaroid-style instant photographs - all flares and pale faces? And since we've already revisited the clothes side it's hardly surprising that the instant camera should be making a comeback too.

With 20 years' worth of technical improvements, the Fujifilm Instax Mini claims it will revolutionise the instant picture market. It's small, stylish, state of the art, produces credit-card sized pictures and is very big in Japan, the home of technophilia.

It is much smaller than other instant cameras, but still huge compared with a disposable. It's pricey too, retailing at pounds 64.99 compared with a basic Polaroid at pounds 24.99. You do save on developing costs, but a roll of 10 exposures costs pounds 6.99 (compared with pounds 10.99 for a Polaroid). Other problems include the hand strap, which is awkwardly placed so that it falls right in front of the smallish viewfinder. The pictures are too small if you're trying to produce anything resembling photographic art and a roll runs out quickly.

But there is no denying that the Instax Mini is great fun. It's perfect for a party - people love being given their picture so they can watch it develop. Even the camera- shy can't help but be intrigued.

Instant cameras are popular with photographers and model scouts, so wander around with one of these and you could easily be mistaken for an expert. The final verdict? An instant success, of course.

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