Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Review

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Instax Mini 9 features a selfie mirror on the front
  • The camera is available in different colour options
  • The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is priced at Rs. 5,999

Instant film cameras are fun little toys to have around. They’re easy to use and you get a printed photo on the spot with that iconic retro look that we try to recreate in our social apps. However, this trend hasn’t really caught on in India despite Fujifilm’s range of instant cameras being available here for a while now.

The company hopes to turn things around with its latest model, called the Instax Mini 9. It has an improved design, and what better way to target millennials and the teenagers of today than with the addition of a selfie mirror? Let’s put it to the test to see how good it really is.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 design and build quality

For Rs. 5,999, you get the Instax Mini 9 camera, a matching strap, a set of batteries, and a close-up lens attachment. You’ll have to buy the instant film separately. It retails for about Rs. 1,020 for a pack of two cartridges, with 10 film sheets in each cartridge. The new camera is available in funky pastel shades, and what we have the Lime Green one with us today.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is built entirely of plastic, but the fit and finish is good with no crude edges or misaligned joints. Around the back, we have a little compartment for the film cartridge, an optical viewfinder, and a counter which shows you the number of unused film sheets remaining. The batteries slot in on the side, and there’s a loop for the wrist strap on either side of the camera.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 lights ndtv fujifilm

The slot from where the processed film is ejected is on the top. In the front, we have the flash and light metering sensors which automatically adjust the exposure. There’s a shutter button here and a power button beside the lens. The ring around the lens can be used to switch between different exposure modes, but the only one you can actually force the camera to use is Hi-Key, which sets the flash to go off at its maximum intensity for low-light situations. The rest of the time, the camera will automatically determine the best exposure and switch to it, which is indicated by the different LEDs around the dial lighting up.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 specifications and features

The Instax Mini 9’s instant film sheets give you 62 x 46cm photos. The way this works is that each film sheet contains chemicals in little pouch at the bottom, and when it is exposed to light, the chemicals are pushed into the frame with the help of rollers, as it is ejected from the camera. The film pops out only a few seconds after you press the shutter button, but it then takes about two minutes for it to develop fully. Just like with traditional Polaroids, you can personalise the white frames with messages, drawings, etc.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 back ndtv fujifim

The camera features a two-element lens with a fixed shutter speed of 1/60th of a second. The aperture varies depending on which exposure mode is selected, and can range from f/12.7 to f/32. The flash always fires, no matter the light conditions. The close-up lens clips onto the front of the main lens and lets you shoot objects as close as a foot away from the lens. There’s really isn’t much to this camera other than turning it on and shooting.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 performance and battery life

Since this isn’t a digital camera, there are no files to display for quality to be judged by. The final output is printed onto the film sheets, and that’s that. The credit-card sized photographs make for fun mementos, but the output quality isn’t always predictable.

The camera is comfortable to hold and light enough for one-handed use. Since the viewfinder is placed to the left of the body and you don’t see through the lens, the position of your subject will always be offset a little unless you know exactly how to compensate. It’s best to leave some space around your subjects in order to avoid cutting them off. With each new cartridge, the first tune you press the shutter button, the protective sheet will be ejected, after which actual film sheets will be used.

We found many overexposed areas in outdoor shots taken in daylight, resulting in washed-out details. The Instax Mini film that we used has an ISO 800 rating so it’s up to the camera’s light sensor to adjust the aperture, but even at the narrowest setting, it’s tough to get a detailed shot in sunlight. Things are better indoors when lighting is more controlled. In a well-lit room, we managed to get fairly detailed close-ups with the attached lens. Colours weren’t too bad, although all pictures have that slightly hazy look, which some would call “retro”. It’s also important to note that the Instax Mini 9 works best for close-ups and doesn’t fare too well with subjects at a distance.

Fujifilm Instax mini 9 photos review ndtv fujifilm

Just like the overexposure issue when shooting in bright daylight, some of the shots we took indoors had a soft focus. In low light, it’s best to use the Hi-Key mode as it results in a well-lit picture, eliminating most shadows around your subject. However, it isn’t suitable for close-ups as the bright flash will overexpose your subject. You have to learn the balance, but that means you wind up wasting quite a lot of film sheets, which are not exactly cheap.

A pack of 20 film sheets costs around Rs. 1,000. which translates to about Rs. 50 per photo. If you want slightly better value, you can pick up packs of 100 sheets which retail for a little under Rs. 4,000, which works out to roughly Rs. 40 per photograph. Do remember that these films have an expiry date.

The company says that each set of two AA batteries should last for about 100 shots, but this will vary depending on which exposure modes you end up using more often.

Verdict

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is a functional upgrade over the Mini 8, with its useful close-up lens and selfie mirror that a lot of people will relate to. Rs. 5,999 isn’t too much for a camera that spits out printed photographs nearly instantly. It’s a reminder of a simpler time when we didn’t have the luxury of taking hundreds of shots in one go, since every one has to count. The Mini 9 is a camera you break out for parties or other social gatherings where these instant photos make for fun and personal, mementos of the good times. Plus, the ability to have these physical photographs in your wallet with you has its appeal.

Using it on a daily basis won’t be very economical, as we’re looking at a cost of at least Rs. 40 per photo, and that is if you opt for the value pack of film sheets. Also, details, clarity and exposure in photos are always a bit hit-or-miss. This comes with the territory of instant cameras, so if you like the idea of photos having varied Instagram-like filters to them, then you’ll be happy with it.

Price: Rs. 5,999

Pros

  • Built well and simple to use
  • Instant printed photos
  • Selfie lens is a thoughtful addition

Cons

  • Cost per photo isn’t very economical
  • Pictures lack clarity
  • Exposure isn’t always accurate

Ratings (Out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Image Quality: 3
  • Performance: 3
  • Value For money: 3
  • Overall: 3

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

Trips App by Lonely Planet: Where Instagram Meets Google Photos

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Trips by Lonely Planet is available on iOS
  • It lets you create a curated version of your holiday
  • You can follow other people for travel ideas

Lonely Planet – well-known for its travel guidebooks – is stepping out into the social realm. Its new app, Trips, wants to help you share your travel experiences with fellow travellers, while being inspired by trips other people take. Essentially, it wants users to create their own guides for each other, and help foster a community in the process.

It’s not so much a social network in the traditional sense, but rather a curated way to present your travels. Sure, you could create a Facebook album for all to see, but it’d be buried amongst thousands of other pieces of content. Or like millions of others, you could put your vacation photos up on Instagram, and make use of its album feature for a slightly-more curated feel. The lack of easy navigation still persists with Instagram though, undercutting the experience.

Neither will give you what Trips attempts to offer. The Lonely Planet app creates a chronological feed out of your vacation pictures and videos, replete with headers, captions, text, location tags, and maps. Think of it as Instagram meets Google Photos albums, albeit minus the former’s size, and the latter’s AI-smarts.

At first start, Trips will recommend you to follow a bunch of fellow travellers, curated by Lonely Planet itself. Later, you can add your friends, or select from other strangers whose holidays appeal to your liking. Your home page will then be populated by trip cards, all of which are a virtual scrapbook in themselves.

lonely planet trips home discover Lonely Planet Trips

The home page and Discover tab of Lonely Planet’s Trips

Then there’s the Discover tab, which lets you pick from a variety of holiday types to browse through. There’s Adventure, Wildlife and Nature, Cities, Ruins, Road Trips, Festivals and Events, Art and Culture, and so forth. Each of these contain trips shared by the community or the Lonely Planet team, such as “The Wilds of Namibia”, “Crossing the Romanian Mountains”, or “A Week Around Iceland”.

To create your own trips, you select the blue-coloured plus symbol button in the middle, which takes you to your photo library. If you only use your iPhone to take pictures, this will suit you fine. But if you carry a professional camera with you, and those pictures are on Google Photos, Dropbox, or some other cloud service, you’ll need to import them yourself first. It’s a restriction baked in by Apple, one that will hopefully be lifted with the introduction of Files in iOS 11.

Once your pictures are in the app, Trips will attempt to sort them on its own, and use embedded geotags to create a map and name. It creates new sections whenever you change location, and then hands it off to you to make further additions, such as changing the title, adding an intro, and putting captions or tips in between your pictures.

lonely planet trips view Lonely Planet Trips

The opening page and inside look at a trip in Lonely Planet’s Trips

The option to collect your pictures in one place is what separates Trips from Instagram, while the ability to add captions is how it adds onto the Google Photos album experience. After you’ve finalised the look of your curated trip, you can choose it post it publicly, or share it privately with people you know.

This brings us to one shortcoming of Trips that people may not like. Although Trips allows you to view your well, trips, on a desktop, you can’t make any changes or create new ones from the browser. In fact, you can’t even view someone’s profile on a computer. By contrast, Google Photos is a full-fledged experience on both desktop and mobile. Plus, Photos’ map widget (below) – which creates two points and a dotted line to signify travel – is a lovely touch that helps visualise your journey.

In itself, Trips is a pretty way to browse through vacation ideas, glean some tips, and offer your own experiences. It’s a digital magazine that’s continuously updated, but it doesn’t do anything more that. You can’t edit your images inside the app, and you can’t leave comments on trips created by people you know.

lonely planet trips edit google photos Lonely Planet Trips

Map widget in Lonely Planet’s Trips, and Google Photos respectively

There’s some work to be done here, and it’s definitely worth the effort, considering the size of the travel market. Studies have shown that millennials are more interested in saving up for travel than in buying a house. At the same time, people spend 85 percent of their time with just five of the apps on their phones, so it’s going to take some convincing to make people choose Trips over Instagram.

The latter doesn’t offer the former’s level of curation, but it’s where all your friends and family are. And that counts for a lot.

Trips by Lonely Planet is now available on iOS.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn Connected Review: Annoying Emails Become Pretty Cards

LinkedIn, the professional social network, has recently launched a new app for iPhone – LinkedIn Connected. This app, which replaces the old LinkedIn Contacts app on iOS, is LinkedIn’s attempt at changing how you connect with professionals in your network. It is only available in a few countries including the US at the moment.

LinkedIn Connected essentially lets you view all your LinkedIn contacts, and syncs them to your phone’s address book. Inside the app, your contacts are displayed as cards that show LinkedIn profiles, location and your notes on that person. For instance, if you have an interview with a person, you can add a note like, “Remember to ask about her upcoming concert”, and then when you check their card before the meeting, you have all the information you need at hand.

LinkedIn_Connected_Kunal.jpg

We tried the app for a few days and here’s what we thought about it.

LinkedIn Connected does a great job in terms of design. It uses a card-based design, and each card has a picture of your contact, details of upcoming events (meetings, birthdays, work anniversaries, etc.) and a button for an action (congratulate, connect, etc.) below. You can sort through the day’s events by swiping sideways and tap any card to quickly check a person’s background. Since you can sync it to your phone’s calendar, you can see upcoming meetings in the app, and can send you reminders as well. It’s hard to justify using this as your primary calendar, as other apps serve that purpose much better.

LinkedIn Connected might appeal to those who do all their networking on LinkedIn, but if you haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile, then this feature might not be so useful. On our account, most of the updates we got were people joining a new company or someone’s birthday.

Swiping down from the top shows you three options – Keep in touch, Find a contact and Accounts and settings. The first option takes you back to LinkedIn Connected’s cards, while Find a contact does what the name suggests. Accounts and settings lets you configure which services (contacts, calendars, etc.) you want to sync with LinkedIn Connected, and is also where you can sign out.

If you go back to the cards, when you keep swiping to the right, you’ll soon reach the last of the day’s most important events. If you swipe to the right here, you’ll see contact suggestions, which is just an endless stream of people LinkedIn wants you to connect with. Getting back to your most important events from there is difficult – you’ll have to swipe back all the way. For an app that is so design-driven, not having an easy way to return to the first card is a big problem.

LinkedIn_Connected_updates.jpg

LinkedIn Connected is essentially a prettier, less annoying way to get notifications from the network, when compared to the several emails that it tends to send every day. If you use email for networking, then you might want to try LinkedIn-owned Rapportive, which is a Gmail extension that shows you background details about the person you are having conversations with.

(Also see: Seven Extensions That Make Gmail Better)

LinkedIn’s main app has a lot more features such as status updates, links to articles, news, photos, comments, etc. If you want to do away with all of that and only focus on connecting with other professionals, then LinkedIn Connected might be what you seek. If you’re looking for a killer contacts app though, then this doesn’t quite cut it

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

Performers/Creatives reviews – Irvine Welsh’s two plays are exercises in tedium

Embarrassingly limp: George Russo and Perry Benson in Performers.

Not so much theatre shows as exercises in tedium, these new pieces from Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh would never have seen the light of day if they didn’t have his name attached. An audience expecting the skanky wit and vim of Trainspotting will be disappointed by this duo of tired and clumsy plays.

Performers, written with Dean Cavanagh, is potentially the more interesting of the two. Apparently, when making the 1970 movie Performance, which starred Mick Jagger and James Fox, directors Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell wanted to hire real villains to play the gangsters. Their quest for authenticity sees low-life criminals Alf (Perry Benson) and Bert (George Russo) turning up at the production offices. But with slack direction from Nick Moran, it has all the tension of a used teabag. The comic tour de force that is supposed to ensue when a pretentious young assistant director persuades Alf to take off his clothes is embarrassingly limp.

Set in 1969, it would have looked dated and if it had actually been written that year, and – in their own quest for authenticity – Welsh and Cavanagh appear to have copied out a cockney rhyming slang dictionary lock, stock and barrel.

Creatives: bland, slick shininess.
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 Creatives: bland, slick shininess. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty

If Performers aims for comic grittiness and misses by a mile, Creatives is all bland, slick shininess; straight out of the Fame mould. It’s a musical, written with Don de Grazia, about a group of would-be songwriters attending a Chicago course run by former punk Paul, whose career has nosedived and whose personal life is complicated.

The students are all stereotypes, ranging from moody goth girl to (bizarrely) a redneck Trump supporter, and the entire thing starts to resemble an audition for the X Factor but with less convincing back stories, until a violent plot twist pushes it into outright melodrama.

The US cast are game, and Laurence Mark Wythe’s music and lyrics cry out for a better vehicle than this cliched attempt to explore the price of creativity and the pressures to sell out for a quick buck. One imagines that is exactly what Welsh has done with these abysmal efforts.

 Performers is at the Assembly Rooms until 27 August. Box office: 0131-623 3030. Creatives is at the Pleasance Courtyard until 28 August. Box office: 0131-556 6550.

Source:-theguardian