Posts Tagged ‘Mini’

$2,500 Sony a7S II vs $50,000 ARRI Alexa Mini: Can you tell the difference?

07 Feb

Brent Barbano—co-founder of camera rental community ShareGrid—recently took a trip to Flashbox Films in Hollywood to meet up with co-owner Will Kamp and do one of those “affordable camera vs crazy expensive camera” tests the internet seems to love (and hate) oh so much.

So what did they test? They put the $ 2,500 Sony a7S II, an affordable filmmaking favorite, up against the $ 50,000+ ARRI Alexa Mini, a professional-grade filmmaking monster. Here’s how Brent introduces the comparison:

The Sony a7s II has been a game-changer for filmmakers and creatives across the world. Cinematographers and photographers have been creating amazing images with this mirrorless camera that can rival some of the best. So, we thought we’d put it to the test and do a side-by-side comparison of the Sony a7S II and the ARRI Alexa Mini. Can you tell the difference?

Well… can you? Check out the video above to watch the footage, or scroll through the slides in the gallery below:

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Brent and Will were obviously impressed by just how similar the final footage turned out to be, and if you’re curious how you did on this ‘test,’ you’re in luck: ShareGrid was kind enough to give DPReview readers the answer key early.

The initial plan was to update it in the video description on YouTube this Friday, but if you’ve made your picks, you can scroll down and see which slide was which down below.

Answer Key

Some of you may have noticed, others may not, but the cameras didn’t actually switch sides between shots. The Sony was always on one side, and the ARRI was always on the other. But… which was which? It turns out A was Sony, and B was ARRI:


A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini


A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini


A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini


A: Sony a7S II

B: ARRI Alexa Mini

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High Sight launches the Mini portable cable camera system

14 Dec

Manufacturer of cable camera systems High Sight has unveiled the latest addition to its product lineup. The Mini System was designed with portability and ease of use in mind, but builds on High Sight’s experience building larger and more complex products. The unit is controlled via a button interface and can carry gimbals, such as the DJI Osmo, Gopro Karma Grip and similar models.

“The High Sight Mini has been a blast to create and will be a game changer.” said Kevin Brower, president and chief executive officer of High Sight. “The Mini has evolved into something more than we could’ve hoped for. With our ping pong mode, you can set it up and walk away, it’s like having an extra cameraman on set just continually getting great footage.”

The Mini uses speed and position sensing for smooth movement and has been developed to be be fully autonomous. According to High Sight, this means the operator can focus on camera control, allowing for single user operation when normally two users would be required.

The Mini is made from machined aluminum and weighs only 1.3 lbs (0.6 kg). It can carry a payload of 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) and easily fits into a backpack.

The demo reel below will give you a better idea of the kind of shots that are possible with the company’s cable systems. And if you think the Mini could be a useful tool for shooting your next video, you can find more information on the High Sight website.

Press Release:

High Sight Mini Sets The Bar With Ultra-Portable Design And Smart Functionality

Features Fully Autonomous Mode, Whisper Quiet Movement, and Reliable Performance. High Sight Launches New Product Allowing One of a Kind Shot.

Salt Lake City, Utah, November 7th, 2017 High Sight ( cable camera systems is proud to launch the ultra-portable and fully autonomous Mini system. The new system was developed through years of experience building larger and more complex products. The Mini was brought about when creator and owner of High Sight saw a need for a smaller version in their current product line.

“The High Sight Mini has been a blast to create and will be a game changer.” said Kevin Brower, president and chief executive officer of High Sight. “The Mini has evolved into something more than we could’ve hoped for. With our ping pong mode, you can set it up and walk away, it’s like having an extra cameraman on set just continually getting great footage.”

Innovative: The Mini was designed to be compact, easy to use, and intelligent. Through years of experience High Sight developed the mini to be fully autonomous. By eliminating the task of controlling the Mini the operator can focus live camera control. This functionality allows for a single user to capture the same shot that would normally require two users. The Mini is great at capturing new and creative angles. Use it to shoot
interesting b-roll or set it on ping pong mode and capture great moments in your next BTS video.

  • Intelligent speed and position sensing for perfectly smooth movement
  • Fully Autonomous mode
  • Button interface for quick and easy operation
  • Compact size allows for maximum portability
  • ¼-20 mount to carry gimbals like the DJI Osmo, Gopro Karma Grip and many more
  • Machined aluminum for increased durability and protection
  • Made in the USA

Specs and Details:

  • Weight: 1.3 lbs. / .6 kg
  • Dimensions: 7.48” Long : 3.2″ Wide : 2.3″ Tall
  • Max Payload: 3.3 lbs. / 1.5 kg
  • Max Speed: 10 mph
  • Battery: Rechargeable: Lithium ion battery

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Kodak’s new Mini Shot 10MP camera prints tiny instant photos

07 Dec

Kodak expanded its instant product lineup today with the launch of the new Kodak Mini Shot Instant 10MP camera: a point-and-shoot digital model that produces credit card-sized color prints on 4Pass Photo Paper. The Mini Shot Instant—which is offered in black, yellow and white colors—also features Bluetooth connectivity for transferring images to an iOS or Android device running the Kodak MINI Shot companion app.

With the Kodak MINI Shot App, users can make minor edits to their images before printing them, including applying filters and stickers, cropping, and using card templates. Image previews are possible in-camera, as well, via the Mini Shot Instant’s 1.7-inch LCD viewfinder. The camera offers gamma color control, auto focus, white balance, and exposure control.

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Users have two photo paper sizes to choose from: rectangular 2.1 x 3.4-inch and square 2.1 x 2.1-inch with adhesive backing. The 4Pass Photo Paper is available in packs of up to 50 (for $ 35), and the camera is sold with an 8-pack all-in-one print cartridge. The Kodak Mini Shot Instant is available from Amazon now for $ 100 USD.

Press Release

Kodak Expands Its Instant Print Camera Offerings with New KODAK Mini Shot Instant Camera

High-quality, instant print photo gratification meets Android and iOS compatibility plus Bluetooth connectivity.

SUWON, South Korea & EDISON, N.J. – Today, Prinics Co., Ltd announced the availability of the new KODAK Mini Shot Instant Print Camera through its North American distributor C+A Global. Expanding upon its instant print product line, the new KODAK Mini Shot point-and-shoot camera combines high-quality, instant-print color photos with digital conveniences such as color controls, filter effects and Bluetooth connectivity, making it the ideal all-in-one solution for picture taking and photo editing.

Furthermore, not only can these photographs be instantly shared with family and friends in that same high print quality expected from Kodak, these photographs can likewise be digitally shared instantly across social media platforms.

There is a resurgence for ‘instant-print’ photography, and the demand for affordable and versatile products is massive,” states Jeff Clarke, CEO, Kodak. “The release of the KODAK Mini Shot and recent launch of the KODAK PRINTOMATIC Cameras are a continuation of Kodak’s commitment to instant printing and represent just the beginning of the Instant Print Solutions Kodak plans to bring to market. We are fully committed to growing a diverse product portfolio and investing in the instant photography business.”

Real Ink. In an instant.

High-quality image processing and printing is at the core of Kodak’s DNA and remains to be the key differentiator in its expanding Instant Print photography product portfolio, which includes the KODAK Mini Shot Instant Print Camera, KODAK PRINTOMATIC Instant Print Camera, and KODAK Photo Printer Dock and Photo Printer Mini Wi-Fi connected printers.

The KODAK Mini Shot Instant Print Camera leverages 4Pass printing technology, also known as dye-sublimation, resulting in beautiful, high-quality prints. It features the world’s smallest 4Pass all-in-one cartridge for carrying convenience.

Snap, Connect, Enhance, Print, Share

The KODAK Mini Shot Instant Print Camera is a must-have accessory for anyone looking to make memories that last, whether it’s by sharing printed photos immediately or posting them to an Instagram feed. It’s the fun of snapping photos on an instant print camera combined with the ability to digitally edit and enhance images, then share from one person to another or with the entire world – or all of the above. With Bluetooth connectivity, users can save and transfer images to a smart device for further editing with the complimentary KODAK Mini Shot App, which features a variety of filters, cropping options, stickers, card templates and more. Through the App, anyone’s smartphone can now be used as a remote shutter for those must-have group shots, or as an extended library of photos that can be sent to the KODAK Mini Shot for instant printing.

KODAK Mini Shot Camera Highlights and Benefits:

  • Maximum resolution 10-megapixel camera
  • 1.7” LCD Viewfinder for viewing photos before they’re printed
  • Auto Focus, Exposure, White Balance, Gamma Color Control
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • Complimentary KODAK Mini Shot App for adding filters and effects
  • Normal and photo border printing
  • Print credit card-sized (2.1”x3.4”) or square (2.1”x2.1”) adhesive-backed photos
  • Extra protective layer preserves image quality and color integrity
  • High-quality waterproof, fingerprint-proof photo prints
  • All-in-one ink and paper cartridge
  • Available in black, white or yellow

Pricing and Availability

The KODAK Mini Shot Instant Print Camera is available today for $ 99.99 USD on Amazon. The camera includes a Micro USB cable, a Quick Start Guide, and an 8-pack all-in-one 4Pass photo print cartridge.

The 4Pass Photo Paper comes in 20 (2.1”x3.4”), 30 (2.1”x3.4”) and 50 (2.1”x3.4”) packs or as an adhesive-backed 20 (2.1”x2.1”) pack, and is sold separately. More information is available at

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How to hack a Bronica ETRS to shoot Fuji Instax Mini film

15 Jul

Photographer Brock Saddler has published a really interesting and comprehensive guide detailing how he was able to modify a Bronica ETRS film camera to shoot Fuji Instax Mini film. Saddler is, kindly, allowing us to share his hack with our readers.

The hack requires two cameras: the Bronica ETRS, of course, as well as a donor camera that supports Instax Mini film. In the case of this project, Saddler used an old Polaroid 300.

A broken Instax camera can be used for this project, according to Saddler’s guide, assuming the film plane is undamaged. The disassembly process is tedious and involves freeing the film plane from the other components, such as the electronics and lens assembly. The removal process will vary depending on the camera model used.

Once free from the donor camera, the film plane must be carefully modified so that it can rest flat on the back of the Bronica ETRS; Saddler used a Dremel tool and razor blade to do this, warning that any protrusions or dips in the plastic may impair the light seal.

Trickier still is the ejector hook, of which Saddler writes, “You’re pretty much fabricating yourself a new ejection system.”

The process is still quite involved from there, requiring the careful use of epoxy, a felt liner to help form a light seal, and the removal/addition of material and components depending on the donor camera.

Finally, a pair of rubberbands round out the Bronica Instax hack, forming the two units into a single ugly-but-functional camera.

If you plan to perform this clever hack yourself, you’ll definitely want to check out the full guide on Saddler’s website.

It’s definitely not for the DIY faint of heart, but if you’re willing to get your hands and workbench a little dirty, you’ll be rewarded with something original that produces pretty neat photos to boot:

All photos © Brock Saddler, used with permission.

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The DJI Spark is a $500 HD mini drone

25 May

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DJI unveiled the Spark mini drone this morning, an entry-level product aimed at casual users and enthusiasts. It is capable of 1080p HD video capture, features a 2-axis gimbal and uses a 1/2.3-inch 12MP CMOS sensor.

The size of a soda can, the unit weighs just 300 g. Despite its small footprint, Spark can fly up to 50 kph, offers a 100 m range (when controlled by a smart device) and has a 16 min flight time. Other highlights include multiple sensors for accident avoidance, gesture control, micro-USB charging and DJI’s Intelligent Flight modes. The unit can be controlled via hand gestures alone, a smart device or a controller.

A neat new feature called QuickShot shoots one minute of footage and automatically edits it down to 10 secs for sharing on social media. When using the Quickshot feature, Spark offers 4 different automatic flight patterns. One of them, called ‘Helix,’ sends the drone spiraling upward away from you. Spark also features a new panorama mode and a ShallowFocus mode.

It comes in five colors including: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow. An accessory package will also be sold alongside the Spark which includes a physical controller, extra battery, propeller guards and a charging hub for $ 200.

Both will be available June 15th. You can pre-order here.

Press Release

DJI Launches Spark, The Easy And Fun Camera Drone For Everyone

The Company’s First Mini Drone Lets You Capture Special Moments From The Air Just By Moving Your Hands

DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, Wednesday launched Spark, an easy-to-use, fun-to-fly mini camera drone that lifts off from the palm of your hand to capture and share the special moments in your life on the go.

Thanks to DJI’s powerful technology, Spark is the first drone that users can control by hand gestures alone, successfully removing the barriers between you and your camera in the sky. Even if you’ve never flown a drone before, flying Spark is easy because the only remote controller you’ll need is your hand.

When Spark takes off from your hand, it automatically enters Gesture Mode. This features new advanced gesture controls like PalmControl, which lets users control Spark with hand movements.[1] In Gesture Mode, you can also send Spark up and away from you, take a selfie, and call it back with just your hands.

“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives.”

Spark has been designed to be the perfect lifestyle accessory you can take anywhere. It fits easily in almost any bag and weighs just 10.6 ounces (300 grams) – less than a can of soda. Spark is ready to launch within seconds whenever inspiration strikes and can be operated by a remote controller, a mobile device, or hand gestures alone. Spark will be available in five different colors: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow.

Visually Smart, Incredibly Intuitive

Spark comes with new and exciting flight options that empower you to effortlessly capture and share your memorable moments. The new QuickShot Intelligent Flight Mode makes creating professional videos fun and easy. Select a QuickShot, and Spark will fly along a preset flight path while recording a short video and tracking a subject along the way.

Four QuickShots are available: Rocket, sending Spark straight up into the air with the camera pointed down; Dronie, flying up and away from your subject; Circle, rotating around the subject; and Helix, spiraling away from a subject as it flies upward. For each QuickShot, Spark will automatically create a 10-second video from your flight that is ready to share on social media, where everyone can see your special moments.

Previously introduced Intelligent Flight Modes such as TapFly and ActiveTrack can also be found on Spark. Developed based on DJI’s vision technology, a new TapFly sub mode called Coordinate allows Spark to fly to a location you tap on your mobile device screen. TapFly’s Direction Mode lets you keep flying in the direction you tap on the screen. Using ActiveTrack, Spark will automatically recognize and track an object you choose, keeping it at the center of the frame for perfect shots of objects in motion. Whether you are using TapFly or tracking a subject, Spark’s 3D Sensing System will actively sense obstacles in front of the aircraft.

With the remote controller accessory, operators can switch to Sport Mode and unleash Spark’s speed potential of up to 31 mph (50 kph). Sport Mode sets the gimbal to first-person view (FPV) by default, so the camera moves with you as you fly. Spark will also be compatible with DJI Goggles for an immersive FPV flight experience.

Shoot Like a Pro

Spark houses an impressive camera with a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that captures 12 megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos. Spark’s 2-axis mechanical gimbal and UltraSmooth technology dramatically reduce shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots effortlessly.

Spark includes many previous DJI drone shooting modes with two new additions: Pano and ShallowFocus. In Pano Mode, the camera creates horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading, taking a series of pictures and stitching them together. ShallowFocus allows you to put part of a picture into sharp focus while the rest of the image is softened, creating photographs with a shallow depth of field. An array of filters and automatic editing templates available in the DJI GO 4 app enables creators to quickly edit videos and share them directly to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.

Fly with Safety, Accuracy, and Precision

Spark’s FlightAutonomy system consists of the main camera, a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit, and 24 powerful computing cores. These features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 ft (5 m) away.

Like all recent DJI drones, Spark can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, connection is lost, or the operator presses the Return to Home (RTH) button, Spark flies back to the preset home point while sensing obstacles in its path. Spark also integrates DJI’s GEO System or NFZ geofencing to provide you with up-to-date guidance on areas where flight may be limited by regulations or raise safety or security concerns – helping you fly safely and responsibly.

For optimal performance, Spark is powered by a high-energy density LiPo battery and has a maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes. When flying with the remote controller accessory, Spark allows for 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away.[2]

Price and Availability

The US retail price of a DJI Spark, including an aircraft, a battery, a USB charger and three pairs of propellers, is $ 499 USD. The Spark Fly More Combo includes an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a US retail price of $ 699 USD. Pricing and availability of other accessories for Spark will be announced at a later date.

Spark will be available for pre-order at, four DJI Flagship Stores, and authorized dealers. Spark pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June. Color options and Fly More Combo availability may vary at different sales channels.

DJI Care for Spark

DJI Care Refresh for Spark, a new one-year coverage plan, will enable Spark customers to obtain up to two full replacements that are new or equivalent to new, for a small additional charge. DJI Care Refresh for Spark is currently available in select countries, including China, Hong Kong, the United States, Canada, 28 European Union countries, and Australia.

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Mini Living: Breathable Cylindrical Home Slots Into a Tiny Alleyway

07 Apr

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

Extending beyond the existing rooftops like a fast-growing plant, this compact cylindrical home slotted into an unused urban plot in Milan features a breathable ‘skin’ connecting the interiors to the outdoors. Designed by New York-based architects SO-IL for Milan Design Week 2017, the MINI LIVING ‘Breathe’ installation is a response to the growing challenge to maximize available space in cities to comfortably accommodate more residences.

Built on a modular metal frame covered with a flexible, semi-translucent envelope that reacts organically to the environment, the home was designed for a family of three, and features six rooms and a lush rooftop garden. The ground floor is transparent to encourage interaction with the world outside; climb the spiraling staircase and you’ll find a series of private spaces for relaxation, work and sleeping, all separated by fabric canopies.

The outer skin lets in filtered sunlight, while the rooftop garden collects rainwater and helps filter the city air. Hammock-like nets suspended from the upper levels look out onto both the city outside and the interiors below. The architects describe the skin as a ‘jacket’ that can be zipped and arranged differently to protect against various external conditions. The more you layer it, the more privacy or water resistance it offers, so inhabitants can customize the needs of different rooms.

The idea, in part, was to ‘tune’ the interiors to the rhythms of the city, the weather and the sun outside, eliminating the closed-off feel that many homes tend to have. While the tent-like design may not be viable for many urban centers where cold weather, rain and theft might be a problem, it’s an intriguing idea for layering with more solid and secure materials like glass.

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[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 launches with selfie mirror and close-up lens attachment

29 Mar

Fujifilm has announced the Instax Mini 9, a new instant camera that has launched in five colors: Lime Green, Flamingo Pink, Smoky White, Ice Blue, and Cobalt Blue. The Instax Mini 9 builds upon the company’s Instax Mini 8, bringing with it a selfie mirror as well as a new close-up lens attachment enabling photographers to snap photos as close as 35cm / 14in.

Fujifilm says the ‘popular’ features from the previous model are rolled over into the Instax Mini 9, including auto exposure. The camera chooses the optimal brightness setting for any given snapshot, highlighting the chosen setting by illuminating one of four lights corresponding the following settings: Indoors, Cloudy, Sunny (overcast), and Sunny (bright). The user then manually switches the dial to that setting.

Other features include a 0.37x viewfinder with target spot, an automatic film feeding system, flash with an effective range from 0.6m to 2.7m, and support for two ordinary AA batteries. A pair of AA batteries can power the camera through approximately 10 Instax Mini film packs before needing replaced.

The Instax Mini 9 will launch in the U.S. and Canada next month for $ 69.95 USD and $ 99.99 CAD, and then in the U.K. in May for £77.99.

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Hands-on with AirSelfie, a mini selfie drone that’s on sale now

03 Mar

Hands-on with AirSelfie

Remember AirSelfie? Start your ‘getting off the ground jokes,’ because the mini-drone camera is now on sale to the general public. The company behind the Kickstarter project is in the process of servicing its initial backers.

The device is designed to allow individuals and groups to take self-portraits from a greater distance than an out-stretched arm or selfie-stick will allow. As it has a very short range (20m/66ft) and limited flying time, AirSelfie is technically not classified as a drone. Thus it stands beyond the legislation and licensing laws that complicate flying larger camera drones – meaning that anyone can use one.

Hands-on with AirSelfie

Fitted with a lens with an angle of view (69°) that corresponds with what you’d expect from a 30mm on a 135 body, the camera is capable of capturing far more scenery and the subject’s surroundings from its maximum flying distance from the controller, and the 5MP sensor is good for 1080p HD video at 30fps as well as for stills. A 4GB memory card is built-in to store images, which can be transferred either through the built-in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi to a smartphone or via USB directly to a computer.

Hands-on with AirSelfie

The AirSelfie is controlled through a smartphone app that’s available for Apple and Android devices, and a self-timer allows users to put the phone out of sight before the picture is taken. As the device weighs only 61g it could be susceptible to being blown off course outside, but an undercarriage camera is designed to keep it hovering over the same spot while sonar helps to maintain a consistent height. The sonar also informs the device when it is coming into land so that the fans are slowed and switched off automatically – which makes it safer to catch!

Hands-on with AirSelfie

The four fans are driven by 7.4v brushless motors and powered by a 260mAh lithium polymer battery. On a full charge users can enjoy up to three minutes of flight, but an accessory power bank can deliver 50% charge in just ten minutes, and a full charge in 40 minutes.

Hands-on with AirSelfie

When not in use the AirSelfie can be housed in the back of a charging phone case designed for specific models.

Hands-on with AirSelfie

The company says it has used an anti-vibration construction inside the AirSelfie to reduce the impact of the rotating blades on the quality of image that can be created, but it isn’t clear yet what ISO or shutter speed range the device has to help it avoid camera shake.
The gadget seems very well made and is metal casing appears reasonably robust, while the rotor blades are protected from crash damage as they are positioned within the casing. The noise created will be acceptable outside and at parties, but this isn’t the kind of drone that can be deployed to capture a romantic moment in a restaurant without annoying the other guests.

Hands-on with AirSelfie

Orders for the AirSelfie will be delivered in May/June and it costs £220/€259 with the phone cover and £229/€269 with the power bank instead. For more information see the AirSelfie website.

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 teardown reveals what makes the camera tick

02 Feb

The folks at All About Circuits have published a teardown of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera, revealing a glimpse at the components found within. Disassembly is simple, and mostly involves removing a series of screws, after which point DIYers are presented with ‘a surprising amount of circuitry.’

Within the camera, All About Circuits discovered a micro-controller, DC buck converter, and a pulse transformer, as well as a xenon flash tube, a light emitter and sensor, and a couple of transformers. This was a surprise to the publication’s Mark Hughes, who said, ‘I expected to find a flash charging and firing circuit similar to the type found in a disposable camera.’

We can forgive All About Circuits for calling the camera the ‘Insta- X Mini 8,’ because we love peering into the inner workings of cameras we wouldn’t have the nerve to dissect ourselves. Details about the hardware are available in the full teardown here.

Via: All About Circuits

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Gear of the year: Allison’s choice – Fujifilm Instax mini 90

28 Dec

Let’s get a few things out of the way first: yes, the Fujifilm Instax mini 90 is a three-year-old camera. No, it is not a digital camera. Yes, it was my favorite camera of the year. Now let’s proceed.

I bought the Instax mini 90 in March, but I spent almost two years up until then talking myself out of buying one. It was hard to justify the expense to myself. I have access to many nice digital cameras, and I always have a phone on hand, why buy a little plastic film camera that costs about a dollar per exposure? I put it to the back of my mind, but a little pang of jealousy struck every time I saw someone else carrying one. 

The mini 90 isn’t my first instant camera. I bought a Polaroid at Best Buy during college, which must have been during the very last days that anyone could buy a Polaroid at Best Buy. It was sort of cumbersome and it definitely wasn’t cool-looking, but there was something about it that got everyone excited about when I brought it out. I took plenty of snapshots of friends, but eventually ran out of film and didn’t buy more. Now it sits in a drawer at my parents’ house.

One of many ridiculous baseball game instant photos taken this year.

It was spring when I finally realized I should just buy the mini 90. After that, it was with me for pretty much every milestone event of the year. It was there when my sister visited and we went to one of the first baseball games of the season. I brought it to North Carolina where my boyfriend and I caught up with friends and met their babies. It came along to a tennis tournament with my family, when friends visited and to more baseball games than I want to admit to attending.

I can easily retrace my year in instant photos because they’re arranged on the wall by my desk. For every photo that made the wall, though, there were a lot of terrible photos – overexposed, underexposed, blurry, group selfies with somebody cut right out of the frame. But I guess I like the trial and error part of the process too. You work within the constraints of the system, learn what works and what doesn’t and gradually get better results. Even a bad instant photo is one that I feel like I actually made, and I learned something from the process. And when they come out looking just right, well that feels pretty good.

This goofy shot is probably my favorite photo of 2016 and I had a horrendous head cold when it was taken.

Obviously, one of the main joys of instant photography is that you get something you can hold at the end of the process. I don’t print many photos lately, so having it built into the process by the nature of the thing is kind of a treat in itself.

And I think that’s one of my favorite things about an instant photo – you can physically give the photo to someone else. You don’t get to text someone a copy, or tag them on Facebook, or email it to them later. I mean, you can snap a picture of it with your phone and do all that, but handing someone a photo that doesn’t exist anywhere else is pretty special. I gave away a lot of photos this year, and by that measure, it was a pretty good year indeed.

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