Should I buy a Fujifilm Instax Mini?

A common sight at weddings, outdoor BBQs, and house parties, Fujifilm's Instax Mini instant cameras are insanely popular.

Available in a wide range of colors, the Instax Mini 8 and Instax Mini 9 are the most affordable models in Fujifilm's instant camera range. Question is, should you buy one?

Instax Mini 8 vs Instax Mini 9

Let's start off by looking at the differences between the two models, as this will go someway to helping you decide which camera to go for.

First up, the Instax Mini 8 and Mini 9 share a virtually identical design and construction. However, the Instax Mini 9 sports a few new colors compared to the Instax Mini 8, with the new shades including Flamingo Pink, Ice Blue, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue and Smoky White.

It's not just about more color options though, as the Instax Mini 9 adds a selfie mirror near the iris to help you get the perfect angle when you want to get yourself in the frame, as well as a closeup-ready lens and a high-key mode for brighter photos — ensuring you spend more of that precious, finite film on good memories than wasted, botched shots. Otherwise, that's about it.

Easy to use

If you're looking for something easy to use, then the Instax Mini 8 or Instax Mini 9 are ideal. All you have to do is press the button beside the lens to turn it on, then the Instax Mini 8 or Instax Mini 9 will automatically determine the best brightness for taking a picture. All you then have to do is adjust the dial round the lens to the position (mark) of the lit lamp and you've set your exposure. 

Frame up using the little optical viewfinder, press the shutter button to take the picture, then the film will pop out and all you have to do is wait for a minute or so for the photo to appear. Simple.

What about film?

The film for the Instax Mini 8 and Instax Mini 9 is credit card sized and measures 54 x 86mm, with the image size at 46 x 62mm. 

A 10 sheet cartridge of film is quick and easy to drop into the camera and start shooting. With either camera powered by two AA batteries, expect to get around 100 shots (so ten packs of film) before you need to replace them, 

While the cameras are cheap, if you're planning to shoot a lot of instant prints, consider the cost of the film. A pack containing 20 sheets (two packs of 10) is about $15 / £15, though the more you buy, the cheaper it can be.

If you fancy shooting black and white photos, then there's Instax Monochrome film (10 shot pack) for around $10 / £10, while should you want something a little more colorful than the white borders your photo appears on, there's the rainbow film pack, again around $10 / £10 for a pack of 10 sheets.

The bottom line

If you're looking for something a bit fun and a change from you taking snaps with your smartphone or camera, then either the Instax Mini 8 or Mini 9 is a great buy. Easy to use and pretty cheap, these are cameras that any member of the family can take photos with. With the Instax Mini 9 setting you back a little more as its the current model, consider this if you're planning on taking a lot of selfies or want a wider choice of colors. Otherwise, the cheaper Mini 8 is the one to go for.

Like the idea of instant prints, but don't want to buy an instant camera? Fujifilm also makes Instax printers, allowing you to print photos from your smartphone or camera via a dedicated app. 

Phil Hall

Phil Hall is an experienced writer and editor having worked on some of the largest photography magazines in the UK, and now edit the photography channel of TechRadar, the UK's biggest tech website and one of the largest in the world. He has also worked on numerous commercial projects, including working with manufacturers like Nikon and Fujifilm on bespoke printed and online camera guides, as well as writing technique blogs and copy for the John Lewis Technology guide.