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Something old and something new, Fujifilm shows off its INSTAX Mini 8

While CES is a showcase of cool new tech, sometimes it’s refreshing to step away from all the digital gizmos and see something analog. That means film in the camera world, and Fujifilm has announced the new INSTAX Mini 8 instant film camera along with their latest X-Series and FinePix cameras.

If any camera deserves the description of  “cute,” it’s this bulbous shooter. Big by today’s point-and-shoot camera standards yet comfortable to hold and operate, it’s simply just fun to play with this camera. Improvements over previous INSTAX models include a slimmer design, a better viewfinder, auto exposure measurement, and a mode for taking brighter portrait photos. No difficult settings to figure out – just frame and shoot. Keeping it old school, the camera runs off AA batteries.

Of course, the appeal here is the instant gratification of instant film. There’s no reason to lament the loss of old Polaroid when Fujifilm is still churning them out. According to Fujifilm, the INSTAX line, and instant film photography, is still popular and a viable business. With the new INSTAX Mini 8 Fujifilm also announced the INSTAX Mini Rainbow film, which features 10 exposures in assorted colored frames. Like the regular INSTAX color film, the Mini Rainbow film is rated at ISO 800. Since there are only 10 exposures, you’ll run out of shots fast, which can get expensive if you shoot a lot.

The toy-like nature of the camera is great to use at parties or when you want to create something artistic using instant film, but Fujifilm also pointed out a real-world practical use for the camera. Because you can’t alter film-based photos as easily as digital versions, the INSTAX camera is popular with law enforcement and insurance agencies, as well as the fashion industry that needs instant images for casting purposes. Although it’d be hilarious to see a uniformed policeman using a pink INSTAX camera to document a crime scene.

The INSTAX Mini 8 will be available in early 2013 for $100. The film costs around $10 a package. The camera will come in pink, blue, yellow, white, and black.