The best instant camera is now the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 – here's why

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 HERO
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Taking photos isn't exactly at the forefront of most people's minds right now, but an instant camera can be a fun, creative release for quarantined families – and the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is now our number one choice.

Why? It takes what we loved about our previous number one, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9, and adds handy new features like an auto exposure system with variable shutter speed and an adjustable lens barrel for close-up shots.

Together, these make it even easier than before to get great results, particularly if you're new to instant photography. Despite these additions, it's also only fractionally more expensive than the Instax Mini 9 too.

In our Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 review we praised its refined feature set, stating: "This makes it the ideal starter camera for anyone looking to try instant photography for the first time, or to liven up parties and events with fun, spur-of-the-moment snaps that can be shared right away. The low price even puts it in gift territory."

Like its predecessor, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 uses Instax Mini film, which is a credit-sized format that's available in color and monochrome packs. At around $8/£8/AU$15 per pack, it's the most affordable instant film you can buy.

The Instax Mini 11 produces snaps with that classic instant look, complete with heavy contrast and lo-fi colors. The camera also works particularly well indoors, because direct sunlight can sometimes cause issues with flares, making outdoor shooting a bit more of a learning curve. 

Our review added: "Fujifilm's latest instant camera is also its best. Auto exposure and a variable shutter speed help it take better pictures and avoid wasting shots, while the adjustable lens makes all kinds of close-up photography possible – not just selfies. If you're just getting started with instant film, there's no better place to start."

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 HERO

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Fujifilm Instax Mini vs the rest

So how does the Instax Mini 11 differ from other instant cameras? Well, it's very much designed for beginners, so if you're looking for more advanced shooting modes like bulb or double exposure, then alternatives like the Instax Square SQ6 or Lomo'Instant Automat are certainly worth considering.

But the main difference is the type of film it uses. There are a few different types of Instax film – including Instax Square and Instax Wide – but the Instax Mini film that the Mini 11 uses is our recommended choice right now for those who are starting out.

It's the most common format and also the most affordable, with new packs costing in the region of $8/£8/AU$15. That compares favorably to the Polaroid I-Type film used by the likes of the Polaroid Now, which costs almost twice as much.

We also generally prefer it to the Zero Ink format used by the likes of the Canon's Zoemini range, because these cameras effectively print your images, rather than using the chemical process used by Instax and Polaroid cameras.

So if you don't mind the relatively small size of Instax Mini film – and if you're mainly doing indoor snapping, it's ideal for that – then the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 could be the ideal family gift to help lift those quarantine blues.   

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.