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Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay Review

A hybrid that utilizes the best parts of digital and film, all in one convenient little package
Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay
Credit: Fujifilm
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $160 List
Pros:  Lots of creative options, convenient size, great image quality, can save photos and view before printing
Cons:  Mild learning curve to ensure prints come out well in different lighting situations
Manufacturer:   Fujifilm
By Adam Yee ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 24, 2022
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83
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#1 of 10
  • Image Quality - 40% 7.5
  • User Friendliness - 30% 8.7
  • Features - 15% 9.0
  • Battery - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

Although it's somewhat pricey, the highly portable Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay doesn't sacrifice colorfully accurate images or creative control for its small stature. It may take some time to get comfortable with, but the potential for creating personalized keepsakes with this camera makes the time and money invested seem worth it. While it may not be the most ideal option for passing around a social gathering, the basic controls can be mastered with a brief explanation. The compatible app opens up a world of creative possibilities unlike any of the others we tested, and the consistently high-quality film prints leave the user with something to be cherished.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award Top Pick Award 
Price $160 List$130 List$130 List$70 List
$75.00 at Amazon
$120 List
$119.99 at Amazon
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Pros Lots of creative options, convenient size, great image quality, can save photos and view before printingDurable, comfortable to use, creative optionsDurable, user friendly, adjusts well to different lightingEasy to use, convenient size, reliable, budget friendlyClassic instant film experience, beautiful vintage-looking prints
Cons Mild learning curve to ensure prints come out well in different lighting situationsLearning curve, heavy for its size, super contrasty prints with dark lightingA slight learning curve, tends to shoot dark, on the heavy sideLimited creative controls, non adjustable flashExpensive film, awkward size
Bottom Line A hybrid that utilizes the best parts of digital and film, all in one convenient little packageA nice mid-sized option with lots of features that adapts well to different lighting conditionsA visually pleasing blend of modern instant camera tech with old-fashioned film appealA reliable and simple to use option that's great for all agesThe old school fun and classic prints you know and love with a few modern perks
Rating Categories Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Fujifilm Instax Wid... Fujifilm Instax Min... Polaroid Now i-Type
Image Quality (40%)
7.5
6.5
6.8
7.0
6.3
User Friendliness (30%)
8.7
8.1
7.5
8.2
7.2
Features (15%)
9.0
7.4
7.4
6.8
7.0
Battery (15%)
9.0
9.5
9.0
6.5
8.0
Specs Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Fujifilm Instax Wid... Fujifilm Instax Min... Polaroid Now i-Type
Film Cost Per Photo (approx) $0.85 $0.95 $0.85 $0.95 $2.12
Film Capacity 10 shots 10 shots 10 shots 10 shots 8 shots
Battery Capacity Claimed: 100 prints per charge depending on conditions
Tested: Accurate; camera was used in a wide variety of conditions (cold, indoor/outdoor, near a heater), and the charge was never drastically affected.
Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
Claimed: 10 Instax Mini film packs of 10 exposures each
Tested: Batteries the camera came with died after a few packs, not 10. The camera lasted longer with different batteries but continued to die before hitting 10 packs.
Claimed: 15 packs (or up to 60 days)
Tested: Battery never died during our test period, but it started to lack power around 6 packs and self timer wouldn't work without charging
Power Supply Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB) Two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries Four size AA 1.5 V alkaline batteries Two AA-size alkaline batteries (LR6) Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB)
Dimensions (as per manufacturer) 82.5 mm x 122.9 mm x 36.7 mm (excluding protrusions) 118.7 mm x 128.1 mm x 58.1 mm (excluding protrusions) 167.8 mm x 94.7 mm x 120.9 mm (excluding protrusions) 107.6 mm x 121.2 mm x 67.3 mm 94 mm x 112 mm x 150 mm
Weight (as per manufacturer) 8 oz (without fiilm pack and memory card) 10.4 oz (without battery, strap, and film pack) 21.6 oz (without battery, strap, film pack, and close up lens) 10.4 oz (without battery, strap, and film) 15.2 oz (without film pack)
Picture Size (as per manufacturer) 62 mm x 46 mm 62 mm x 62 mm 62 mm x 99 mm 62 mm x 46 mm 88.9 mm x 116.68 mm prints with a 78.74 mm x 78.74 mm image area
Image Settings Multiple filters (stylish, B/W, sepia, fish eye, vivid), 10 in-camera frames (antlers, color stripe, light bar, wings, speech bubble, photo inside a photo, comic strip, etc.), 30 frame options through the app, ability to put a time stamp on prints Double exposure, light or dark mode, macro, landscape, portrait Light or dark mode, djustable focal zoom dial Autofocus Double exposure
Focus Distances 3.94 in / 10 cm to infinity Macro Mode (0.3 m - 0.5 m/1 ft - 1.6 ft)
Normal Mode (0.5 m - 2 m/1.6 ft - 6.6 ft)
Landscape Mode (2 m/6.6 ft and beyond)
Motor-driven 2-range switching (0.9 m - 3 m / 3m - infinity) Normal Mode (0.9 m - 3 m) Landscape Mode (3m - infinity) 0.3 m and beyond (use selfie mode for 0.3 m to 0.5 m) Autofocus system via 2 fixed focus zones 0.55 m-1.3 m, 0.6 m - infinity
Focal Length 28 mm (35 mm fiilm equivalent) 0.3 m and beyond (use selfie mode for 0.3 m to 0.5 m) 95 mm 60 mm 103 mm standard, 89 mm portrait
Aperture f/2 f/12.7 f/14 f/12.7 f/11 - f/64
Film or Digital Film prints, digital camera Film Film Film Film
Film Development Time Around 90 seconds to develop, 12 seconds to print 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 10 to 15 minutes

Our Analysis and Test Results

With its numerous creative features, beautiful image quality, and compact design, the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay is the perfect companion for any adventure. It can be adjusted to different lighting conditions, and the Bluetooth connectivity expands the creative possibilities to new heights. By connecting to the app, this camera provides features not available from any other model, like adding QR codes containing audio clips to the prints, putting a photo inside a photo, and dozens of frames options. The printing system is also unique in that the image moves from the screen to the print like they're one and the same. The rechargeable battery's long life and the reasonably priced film also help make this camera more economical in the long run. With the same experience of the classics mixed with the convenience of the digital age, this is what an instant camera is supposed to be like in the 21st century.

Performance Comparison


Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - the fujifilm instax mini liplay offers the best of digital and film...
The Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay offers the best of digital and film together in a sleek and compact design
Credit: Laura Casner

Image Quality


The Instax Mini LiPlay provides the best features of older analog and newer digital cameras. The first and most important area in which this camera performed well was in the quality of its images. Even though the autofocus is often skewed toward the dark side, the amount of control it offers enabled us to get a usable shot in any situation, and the prints showed strong contrast and a clear distinction between warm and cool tones. There was some loss of clarity in bright direct sunlight and when using the black and white mode, but this can be adjusted for a better outcome.


In our image quality tests, the Mini LiPlay came in second to only the Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide. However, no other digital hybrid model came even close to the stunning images produced by these cameras, setting the LiPlay head and shoulders above other hybrid models.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - we were impressed test after test with the images from the liplay.
We were impressed test after test with the images from the LiPlay.
Credit: Laura Casner

User Friendliness


Again, coming in behind only one other camera, the Mini LiPlay scored very well on its user-friendliness. The slim rectangular shape makes this camera very easy to transport and comfortable to shoot with. While connecting this Fuji to the compatible app increases the complexity of its controls, the additional creative features add to the fun, and the basic in-camera settings don't take long to figure out.


One of the most enjoyable aspects of shooting with the LiPlay is the printing process, which is both innovative and unique to this camera. Once you select the photo to be printed, the image slides across the review screen and onto the print. Where some cameras had issues with jamming, the LiPlay's process is far more reliable and yields a higher quality keepsake than any of the similar-sized models.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - the various settings on the instax mini liplay can get a great shot...
The various settings on the Instax Mini LiPlay can get a great shot at any time of day.
Credit: Laura Casner

Features


With more updated features and creative settings than any other model, it's no surprise that the Mini LiPlay crushed the competition in this category. While simple features like a self-timer, adjustable flash, and a self-portrait mirror are always nice to have, the extra creative controls, like ten in-camera filters, 30 frames, digital storage, and the option to edit older pics, make this Fuji stand out above the rest of the group.


The possibilities for personalization provided by the Mini LiPlay smartphone app enable each user to capture memories and experiences in new ways. The option to convert audio clips to a scannable QR code on the prints is fun and futuristic. Having the ability to view, print, and/or save a digital copy of each image is not only convenient but also allows for older pics to be edited and multiple copies of the same photo to be printed. Another unique and useful feature is the option to favorite your most used frames and assign them to the camera's shortcut buttons for easy access. This camera's numerous controls and features can keep an experienced photographer entertained or open the door for amateurs to build on their photography skills.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - the fuji instax mini liplay has numerous features which give the...
The Fuji Instax Mini LiPlay has numerous features which give the user a great amount of control.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery


Out of all the cameras in our review that use rechargeable batteries, the Mini LiPlay lasted the longest, going all the way through the testing phase on a single charge. Also like all of the rechargeable models, the LiPlay takes about 2 hours to fully charge by way of a micro-USB cable. However, the Mini LiPlay is the only camera, regardless of battery type, that allows the user to set the time period for when it will shut off from inactivity, an added feature we appreciated.


The Fujifilm website lists the printing capacity per charge for this camera as approximately 100 prints depending on conditions of use, which seems accurate. Even though we didn't quite reach that limit, we used this camera in a wide variety of temperatures, from cold outdoor settings to warmer days in direct sunlight and inside next to a heater, none of which seemed to affect the battery very much. Many of the digital hybrids lost their charge quicker than expected due to the technical nature of their settings, but the Mini LiPlay did not have this issue.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - the charging port for the mini liplay is kept clean by a little...
The charging port for the Mini LiPlay is kept clean by a little cover. This camera charges fairly quickly and the battery lasts a long time.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


Despite being one of the more expensive cameras that we tested, the Mini LiPlay offers unmatched creativity making it worth the extra scratch. The design is superb: sleek, easily portable, and durable with its scratch-resistant body. The functionality is reliable with heaps of creative possibilities, and most importantly, it consistently produces beautiful high-quality film prints. The cost of the film is about average (roughly $0.85 per print) and having a rechargeable battery means you never have to spend money on replacements. In a time when many electronics become obsolete too quickly, this camera is a sound investment that's built to last.

Conclusion


After getting comfortable with the controls, we had a blast playing around with all of the different features on the Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay. We loved to watch the images slide off the screen and into our hands as they printed and felt secure knowing that something we shot yesterday could still be made into a physical photo at any time. Its small size is convenient for travel and comfortable to shoot with when the moment presents itself, and the rich colors displayed in the images kept us returning to this camera. Although it's a bit pricey, it's no surprise that the Mini LiPlay took the cake as our top choice.

Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay instant camera - the fujifilm instax mini liplay offers a nice amount of digital...
The Fujifilm Instax Mini LiPlay offers a nice amount of digital updates without changing the instant camera experience much.
Credit: Laura Casner

Adam Yee
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