Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera 2020 Detailed Review.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera: These days, instant cameras are all the rage. What was once a popular trend back in the ’70s and ’80s, has experienced a resurgence in popularity. Some of this has to do with the similarities between the old-school Polaroid and modern social media apps like Instagram. But that’s far from the only reason.
We’ve already taken a look at some of the best instant print cameras on the market, but Fujifilm has just released their latest update to the popular Instax camera line. What we liked about the Instax was that it was so much more than just a simple throwback to simpler times.
With many years in the camera industry, they took a popular form factor and made a camera that was actually good. When they announced the latest update, we couldn’t wait to see what improvements had been made. To find out, we had to try the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 out for ourselves.
If you’re not familiar with this style of camera, let’s take a quick look at how it works. Old-school instant print cameras used a very special type of film. They are a small paper frame that contains a single sheet of chemically treated material. When exposed to light, this material would change color to replicate the image that you saw outside.
Instant print cameras, technically, weren’t as good as SLR cameras. The colors were a little off, and the focus wasn’t perfect. But the warm, dreamy look of the photos was appealing to most. It’s not a technical appeal, but an artistic appeal. This lead to the camera’s widespread use.
Today, modern cameras try to replicate with a digital image sensor and a built-in printer. But the Instax series is popular because it uses real film. This isn’t just a cheap simulation of the classic style, this is the real deal. There are many advantages, but a few trade-offs. To find out if this is a camera for you, let’s go in-depth.
The film is the backbone of this camera, perhaps almost as important as the camera itself. It comes in packages of 10 sheets, with each pack contained in a compact plastic cartridge. In addition, it can be purchased in larger increments, saving you a bit of money. But a 20 pack or 40 pack is simply multiple cartridges, each with 10 sheets in them.
The print area is 6.2 by 4.6 centimeters, which is fairly compact. Many users have successfully scanned the images to make larger prints, but the compact size is part of the appeal. The printed images are almost like little keepsakes, and can easily fit in a wallet.
In many ways, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 looks very similar to the Mini 8. It’s almost square in shape, with a rounded grip making it easier to hold. Due to the shape, you’re able to orient it any way you like. The film isn’t perfectly square, so this is to enable you to choose between portrait and landscape images.
There are five different colors available, each of them very vibrant and peppy. You can choose blue, pink, baby blue, lime green, or white. Other than the color, each model functions exactly the same.
One key difference from the old model is the inclusion of a selfie mirror. This is a small mirror right on the lens, so you can see yourself when taking a photo. Selfies were very hard with the old version, so we’re happy to see this made easier.
How do the images look? They’re definitely a little different than you’re used to seeing. The edges of objects and people are slightly blurred, the coloring has a fuzzy haze to it, and fine details are almost lost in the murk. But once you hold one in your hand, you’ll really be able to appreciate it. The photos have emotions.
They’re not capturing a specific thing, but a specific feeling. Think of it like an old record that you’ve played hundreds of times. The music might not be perfect, but it still gives you a certain feeling. You’re not capturing objects. You’re capturing moments.
Ease of Use
Using the camera is extremely straight forward, although there are a few things you need to know. The first thing you do is to remove the film door and install the film package. This isn’t a solid plastic box, the back is spring-loaded, so it can feed the individual films one at a time into the loading mechanism.
Because this is pressure-sensitive, it’s important not to pinch or crush the film. There is a white dot that you line up with another dot on the back of the camera, and it just slips into place.
You then press the shutter button once. The first sheet is blank, designed to protect the film from the light, so nothing will print here except for a plain page that says “this is not a film”.
As with any film camera, the cost of prints is a little higher than in a digital format. If you’re not really after the classic film look, this won’t be an asset to you. But if you love the look, then the original will outpace a replication any day of the week.
We’ve always loved the Instax series of cameras. With the Instax 8, Fujifilm really hit it out of the park. With the Instax Mini 9, they’ve tweaked the design, added some great new colors, and improved on what little shortcomings the old version had.
Would we recommend upgrading from the 8 to the 9? Probably not. Both are great cameras, and you don’t get a lot extra with the new model. But if you don’t have an Instax camera yet, we would definitely recommend that you go with the latest model.