Simple to use
Takes great pictures
Selfie camera not effective
Recommended light settings aren’t always best
Compatible film is expensive
We purchased the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 so our expert reviewer could put it to the test by taking a few photos. Keep reading for our full product review.
Even in our hyper-digital age, instant photography has made a big comeback. After all, what’s better than a picture you can hold in your hands to document a moment you want to remember? Fujifilm, the Japanese photography company, has been embracing instant photography since long before we all started snapping pictures on our smartphones, but its Instax Mini 9 camera makes it easier and more fun than ever to commemorate the good times with friends and family. To see if the camera lived up to its hundreds of positive reviews online, we took it home and photographed people, places, and things at all different times of the day. Read on to find out the details.
We took this product to an office party, and our coworkers complimented us on it immediately—they were incredibly happy with the look of the pictures we took.
Setup Process: Easy to load and start using
In addition to its instructions, this camera comes with a number of accessories: a wrist strap for easy handling, a close-up lens (for up to 35-50 centimeters away), and two AA batteries (required for power).
Setting up this camera was easy and intuitive. First, we inserted the two batteries into the camera’s portal on the side. We then loaded a 10-pack cartridge of compatible Instax Mini film (not included when you purchase the camera) into the slot on the back of the camera. To turn it on, we pressed the power button on the front (on the lower left side of the lens if you’re holding the camera) and then pressed the shutter button once to eject the film cover (black). From there, we were ready to start framing and taking photos!
Take a peek at some of the other best gifts you can buy for teens.
Design: Fun and intuitive but recommended light settings aren’t always best
Looks-wise, this camera has rounded edges, which gives it an appealing, friendly vibe. It comes in five lively hues: Cobalt Blue, Ice Blue, Flamingo Pink, Lime Green, and Smokey White. Its build is lightweight for easy portability, but it also doesn't feel flimsy. Its viewfinder, on the back of the camera, is simple to use; its film exposure counter, also on the back, helps you keep track of how many shots you have left.
On the front of the camera, atop its 60mm lens, there are a series of brightness indicators for different light settings: sunny, slightly cloudy, cloudy, indoors, and “high-key mode,” which allows you to take pictures with a softer impression. Depending on your surroundings when you want to take your photo, the camera will suggest the right setting for you. In our experience, we'd say it's slightly difficult to figure out which one you should use if you’re outdoors on an overcast day—We tried experimenting with the setting the camera recommended and comparing it with the others, and we didn't always agree with its choice. (However, as we go on to say, when we took photos indoors and in lower light, the pictures come out great.)
One of this camera’s most distinctive design features is its selfie camera, which is located on its front, right next to the lens. In theory, this is a cool idea, but in practice, it doesn't really help you frame selfies—the reflection is blurry and has a sort of fisheye effect, so you can’t see yourself as well as you might need to when you’re trying to frame your photo, especially if you’re taking it with another person.
See more reviews of our favorite scrapbooking supplies available for purchase.
Besides our observation about the recommended light settings, this camera takes great-quality photos. In portraits, the camera gives a glossy tone to skin and hair; in landscapes or still-lives, the colors look vibrant. Its close-up lens was also effective—although, because it was so small, we were afraid of losing it if we brought it out anywhere with us.
This camera’s build is lightweight for easy portability, but it also doesn't feel flimsy.
Beyond the literal quality of this camera’s photos, it’s worth noting that they were also real crowd-pleasers. We took this product to an office party, and our coworkers complimented us on it immediately—they were incredibly happy with the pictures we took, and also that they had party favors they could bring home with them to commemorate the evening. If you’re throwing or attending any sort of event—from a birthday party to a post-work happy hour—this camera’s photos are sure to satisfy everyone.
Price: Good value, but its film is expensive
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 retails for about $70, which is a great value for an easy-to-use, good-quality instant camera. It also makes a great gift for graduation or for a teen’s birthday. However, one word to the wise: the instant film for this camera, on the other hand, is very expensive. A 20-pack of Instax Mini film (with white borders; other colors and patterns are also available) costs around $18.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 vs. Polaroid Originals OneStep 2 VF
Fujifilm offers another camera that shoots mini-film: the Instax Mini 90. This camera differs from the Instax Mini 9 in a few major ways, namely its look and its capabilities. Design-wise, the camera looks like an old-school model in black and brown hues; the Instax Mini 9, on the other hand, is a playful pop of color, no matter which shade you choose. But the biggest differentiator is performance, which in turn affects pricing: The Instax Mini 90 retails for about $180 but has a series of advanced features that the Instax Mini 9 doesn’t have, including bulb and double exposures, multiple modes (including party mode, kids’ mode, landscape mode, and macro mode), high-performance flash, a tripod socket, and a rechargeable battery. At about $70, the Instax Mini 9 is better suited for beginning photographers or those who want a camera that’s less technical but still produces great photos instantly.
Looking for more reviews of some of the best-selling Amazon products? Check out our roundup.
Yes, buy it.
If you’re looking for a fun and portable camera that’s easy to use and takes great-quality instant photos, look no further than the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9. Even though its film is expensive, the camera itself is a good value and is the perfect way to capture memories from a party or event with family and friends.
- Product Name Instax Mini 9
- Product Brand Fujifilm
- Price $49
- Weight 8 oz.
- Product Dimensions 3 x 5 x 9 in.
- Color Cobalt blue, ice blue, flamingo pink, lime green, or smokey white
- Power Source 2 AA batteries required (included)
- Auto Power-Off Time 5 minutes
- Film Feeding Out Automatic
- Compatible Film Fujifilm Instant Film "Instax Mini"
- Picture Size 62 x 46 mm
- Warranty Yes, one-year limited warranty