Buying Guide: The best instant cameras
Published Jul 9, 2018 | Dan Bracaglia
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
Instax Mini format | 35mm equiv. F12.7 lens | Auto exposure control
What we like:
- Very affordable
- Easy to operate
- Included closeup lens
- Small and light
- Accurate shooting mode indicator
What we don't:
- No true exposure compensation
- Unsophisticated auto exposure
- Flash always fires
- No macro mode
The Mini 9 is Fujifilm's most entry-level camera using the Instax Mini format and is also among the most affordable instant models available. It's simple to operate and light on features.
Because of its entry-level status, it's bit chunkier and heftier than some of its other Instax Mini siblings, but not to the point of being burdensome. The body is built entirely of plastic, but seems well-constructed. Held vertically, the camera's rounded grip is fairly comfortable and the front-facing shutter button is easy to access. The camera is powered by two AA batteries which should be enough juice for up to 100 shots (10 packs).
The shutter on the Mini 9 is fixed to 1/60 sec, and the flash always fires
The Mini 9 is bundled with a close-up lens attachment for shots as near as 35 cm / 1.1 ft, but parallax makes using the viewfinder to frame quite difficult. The close-up lens is much easier to use in tandem with the front-facing selfie mirror. The camera offers four shooting modes and indicates which it thinks is best by illuminating an orange LED next to the mode - It's up to the user to dial in the appropriate mode. There's no info LCD, but a small window on the back displays the number of shots left.
The shutter on the Mini 9 is fixed to 1/60 sec, and the flash always fires (with a max range of 2.7 m / 8.8 ft), which can be very annoying. Exposure is controlled via the various shooting modes, which progressively stop the lens down. There's no true exposure compensation, but the camera does offer a 'High-key' mode which overexposes by about 2/3rd stop. Focus is fixed on this camera, with an effective focus range of 0.6m / 2ft to infinity; however, we found shots taken at infinity tend to look a bit soft.
The Mini 9 is going to win over a lot of people thanks to its aggressive pricing alone. For the money, it's an easy-to-use camera with a couple of tricks - like the close-focus lens - up its sleeve. But for just a little be more cash, you can get yourself into a camera with more sophisticated auto exposure and more features.
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