The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is the follow-up to the incredibly popular Instax Mini 8. The overall size, shape and look of the Mini 9 closely resemble the Mini 8; however, there are a couple additional features that make the Mini 9 a more user-friendly camera than the Mini 8 out of the box.
Because the Mini 8 (and the Mini 9) have a wide 60mm lens (for what is close to a 645 medium format frame), it isn’t completely impossible to guesstimate framing for a selfie. However, if you miss the framing, you’ve wasted a print and you have to wait a few seconds for the print to expose to know that you need to reshoot. One of the cheap and easy solutions was to add a selfie mirror and close focus lens that you can buy for around $5 and snap on to the end of the lens.
Fuji seems to have realized that this was a popular (if not essential) accessory for the Mini 8 and built the mirror into the Mini 9’s lens barrel. Additionally, Fuji included a close focus snap-on lens for when you need to focus closer than 2-feet from your subject. The close focus attachement gives you the ability to focus at about 14 inches (35cm) for tighter selfie framing.
Other than these slight upgrades, however, the Mini 9 is virtually the same camera as the Mini 8. The good news is that Fuji has kept the pricing the affordable and you can have an Instax Mini 9 for about $65.
Film is loaded as a pack of 10 prints that measure 62 x 46mm, which is a little larger than a 645 medium format negative. Practically speaking, a print with the border is about the size of a credit card.
The popular Instax Mini film still runs less than $15 for 20 exposures ($12.49 at the time of this review). Bigger discounts can be had when buying bulkier packs. Fuji also now has some black and white Instax Mini film available. All of the Instax Mini film is rated ISO 800 and, to my knowledge, is only available in daylight balanced color temperature.
The film exposes well and is forgiving, which is something you would hope and expect from a consumer grade camera. There are a number of options available for the Instax Mini film frames – from simple white, to black, to full color and a variety of designs.
Like the Mini 8, the Mini 9 is powered by a pair of AA batteries, which serve to drive the motor for ejecting prints and charging the flash. The Mini 9’s lens is a two element lens with a f/12.7 max aperture.
The camera’s built-in metering will offer an exposure suggestion via the LED light on the lens barrel. By turning the lens ring to the appropriate icon, you are adjusting the aperture between f/12.7 and f/32. The flash will always fire but the output level is adjusted automatically based on the camera’s metering of the scene. Flash recycle time can vary between 0.2s and 6s with new batteries and depending on the output. Shutter speed is fixed at 1/60s on the Mini 9.
As with the Mini 8, there are a ton of accessories you can find for the Mini 9 to make it your own camera. And, because the camera is rather cheap, the accessories won’t generally break the bank if you are trying to customize it.
The Mini 9 is the new standard bearer for the Instax instant camera line and should continue to reign as the best-selling camera until Fuji releases the next one. And, yes, in case you didn’t read the Instax Mini 8 Review, it was consistentally the best-selling camera on Amazon.com year-round. Instax Mini film remains the number one best-seller in the Camera department on Amazon. I’m not sure where the Instax line ranks among sales at more serious photography retailers like B&H but Amazon provides the numbers for us to see for ourselves.
I sort of love the fact that an analog camera takes the cake in our digital age. There’s just something special about holding a physical print that you just captured in your hand moments after you shot it. And because it is instant film, that print is a one of a kind. It’s 2017 and I still wow people with instant prints when I show up with an Instax camera.
Like the Mini 8, I highly recommend the Fuji Instax Mini 9 as a fun and affordable film camera. These cameras are a hit in my house and everywhere I take them.