Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 9 has been a great budget option for newcomers to instant photo. It was easy to use and affordable. Also, the packs of film were not too expensive.
However, it wasn’t perfect. It was necessary to adjust the exposure manually for different lighting conditions. If you want your selfies to be sharpened, the clip-on attachment is required.
Fuji has improved the formula by introducing the Instax Mini 11 with a variable shutter speed and an adjustable lens barrel to allow for close-ups. The best part is that the price has been lowered.
It is the perfect starter compact camera if you are looking to get started in instant photography or to spice up events and parties with spontaneous, fun snaps that can instantly be shared. It’s even a giftable option due to its low price.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 still makes use of packs of Fujifilm’s Instax Mini film. This instant film is one of the most affordable. Each pack contains ten 54x86mm shots with a rectangular 46x62mm (2.4×1.8-inch) area.
Monochrome and color packs can be purchased for $8/PS8/AU$15 per pack. There are many border colors and patterns available beyond the standard white. Multipacks in different sizes may bring down the cost even more.
- Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, Amazon, US$79.95
Design and features
- Chunky construction
- Interchangeable shutter button
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 shares a strong family resemblance to its predecessor, the Mini 9 The new camera has the same rounded appearance as its predecessor, the Mini 9. It is still made of matte plastic.
Film format Fujifilm Instax Mini
Lens: 60mm, f/12.7 (34mm equivalent)
Shooting modes : Auto, selfie/close up
Viewfinder – optical, fixed
Battery – 2x AA, 100 shots
Although it’s now a little smaller, it’s still quite small. Fuji’s Mini LiPlay, which is more portable than the Instax, costs twice as much.
The front grip is now narrower and the rear grip has a ridged thumbgrip for one-handed operation. The shutter release is the other button, in addition to the lens barrel release which acts as a power switch for the flash built-in,
There is no way to turn off the flash, there is no self-timer and there is no tripod thread at the bottom. This is as easy as instant cameras can get.
The film packs can be loaded using a flip-down rear door. The viewfinder is shifted to the right. You can count down the remaining shots by a tiny counter so that you don’t accidentally open your film door and lose a half-finished pack.
The Mini 9 was not afraid to use bright colors and the Mini 11 follows suit. However, it uses pastels for a subtler effect. Fuji includes two rubber buttons to make it easier for blind users to locate the shutter button. However, the diamond effect finish will not suit all tastes.
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- 60mm, fixed lens f/12.7
- Lens adjustable selfie mode
The lens barrel will release by pushing the release button. A spring mechanism allows it to extrude, and the flash activates automatically.
It uses two AA batteries like the Mini 9. These are easier to find than the CR2 crappy batteries used in some Fuji instant cameras. The battery life is usually around ten packs of film or 100 shots. This makes it more than sufficient for a full day of shooting.
It is impossible to disable the flash manually. The flash fires automatically with each shot, regardless of whether it is needed.
This is because the auto exposure software can adjust the shutter speed from 1/2 to 1/250. It should therefore be able capture the right amount light in any shooting situation. This is a significant improvement over the Mini 9’s fixed shutter speed of 1/60. It also helps greatly indoors.
Although it may not be in the center, the Mini 11’s viewfinder provides a good representation for what the lens can capture. Once the print is developed, anything that appears to fit in the frame should be printed. A selfie mirror is built into the lens barrel to help align those arms-length shots.
(Image credit: TechRadar)
If you’re interested in taking selfies, give the lens barrel an extra pull to make it ready for close-up photography. This is a simpler method than the Mini 9’s clip-on attachment. However, you will need to hold the barrel of the lens with your hand to close it again.
Instax Mini prints are released from the camera’s top as soon as the shutter button is pressed. They take anywhere between three to ten minutes to fully develop. Although this is faster than Polaroid’s I-Type film but each print is still smaller than Fuji’s pocket-friendly film, it is much quicker.
- Lofi colors and moody contrast
- Common Highlights
- Focus Distance is a learning curve
Instax film produces pastel-like colors with soft-focus details. This gives your photos an unmistakable instant feeling. However, they are more accurate than competitors like Lomography and Polaroid.
These can look more dreamlike than Instax, but Instax is more natural. However, shadows and darker scenes appear more dramatic than real-life.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is much more accurate in correctly judging scenes than the Mini 9. However, overblown highlights are still common because of the nature Fujifilm Instax film.
Particularly the skies are easy to wash out, but the rest of the scene is well balanced.
Light flares can be a problem when you are shooting towards the sun with an off-center viewfinder. Even though it may seem like a well-made lens, direct sunlight can damage it.
This is an issue that we have seen with other instant cameras so it’s not a failure of the camera.
This camera is best used indoors to capture both the subject and background. This camera captures more detail than the Mini 9, which can often leave backgrounds looking dull.
Fixed focus lenses are able to preserve most portraits and middle distance shots crisply, while landscapes may appear softer and dreamier.
You can sharpen close-ups by putting the lens barrel in its selfie mode. However, you need to make sure you close it again before you take any further shots.
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The Mini 11 captures decent detail at all distances (Image credit TechRadar).
Indoor scenes may require a slower shutter speed. Shaky hands can cause blurred images (Image credit TechRadar).
Deep shadows and washed-out colours are trademarks of instant films. (Image credit to TechRadar).
Skies can be particularly difficult because the camera exposes for the foreground while blowing out the highlights. (Image credit TechRadar).
Outdoor photography is not without its challenges. Image credit: TechRadar.
The lens barrel adjusts to allow for better focus in close-ups and selfies than other lenses (Image credit: TechRadar).
Even scenes that appear well-composed in the viewfinder may end up accidentally catching sunlight (Image credit TechRadar).
Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a significant improvement on the previous Instax Mini. Instant photography has never been easier with an accurate auto exposure system, and an adjustable lens that can be used for portraits and landscapes, as well as close-ups.
It’s easy to pick up the camera and begin shooting, regardless of whether you are familiar with instant film.
The upgrades have not made the Mini 9 any more expensive, and it still retains everything we loved about it. The Mini 9 is susceptible to overblown highlights when outside, but these are not major issues.
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is the best option for anyone who wants to start instant photography at a reasonable price and enjoy the convenience of Fuji’s small prints.
Are you still not convinced? These are some other ideas…
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(Image credit: Fujifilm)
Fujifilm Instax Square Q6
The SQ6 is almost half the price, but it takes square, larger instant photos, which are more similar to the Polaroid style. The SQ6 is a larger camera that can be carried around, but it has advanced features such as double exposure, which allows you to create more artistic photos.
Check out our Fujifilm Instax Square Q6 review
(Image credit: Canon)
Canon Ivy Cliq+/ Zoeminis
Although it is more expensive than the Mini 11, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity as well as a rechargeable battery. The camera also uses Zero Ink film which is roughly the same size as Instax Mini. The camera essentially ‘prints’ your photos using heat-reactive papers, instead of developing them like instant film. Although the results are quick, they don’t seem as authentic.
(Image credit: Polaroid)
Retro-inspired Polaroid can be used in the same way as the Mini 11. It is also as simple to use, and has few additional features. However, its autofocus system can help you keep your photos more focused. It can shoot on I-Type film that is larger than Instax Mini prints, although it may be more costly.
Check out our Polaroid Now Review
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