Instax Mini 40 review: True love at first selfie

Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 40 is as fun as instant cameras get and the retro design doesn’t look like a children’s toy.

Instax Mini 40 vs 90 vs 11 instant camera review

The charm of instant photography is that each shot feels personal. A 1/1 print that’s perfectly imperfect. The qualities that we scrutinize on smartphone cameras — sharpness, color, and resolution — are thrown out the window. Instant cameras are supposed to be fun and you better believe Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 40 drips fun all over the place.

The Instax Mini 40 does not hide the fact that it is a Mini 11 re-shelled with a plastic faux-leather aesthetic reminiscent of film cameras.


It's technically $99.95.


As such, the Instax Mini 40 is a simple, no-frills instant camera that completes any hipster OOTD. I’ve been using a Mini 90 Neo Classic for many years and although it has more capabilities, I never use features like double exposure.

Shameless photo of me and my Mini 90 that I bring everywhere like a total tourist.

The Instax Mini 40 is larger than the Mini 90 and about an ounce heavier. It’s still pretty compact.

As a guy, I find the boxier design and black/silver colorway more attractive than the bright-colored and bubbly design of the Instax Mini 11 (or other variants like the Mini 70).

Included features:

📸 Flash

🤳 Selfie mirror

🤝 Thumb grip

🔢 Film counter

🔋 Uses 2 AA batteries

🧵 2 Lanyard loops

Like I said, the Instax Mini 40 is a barebones instant camera. Whereas my Mini 90 has a timer, several shooting modes (i.e. double exposure, bulb, landscape), and a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the Mini 40 only has a flash.

One-of-a-kind photos

Instant photos will never be tack sharp, but you don’t want them to be fuzzy either. The Instax Mini 40 takes clear photos — sharper than my Mini 90, which tends to soften details more often I like.

Some photos are gonna be blown out and the flash can be harsh, but that’s all part of the Polaroid look. If you can’t appreciate that then stick to your phone camera.

Most surprising is how good the front-facing mirror is for framing selfies. Usually, these suck on other instant cameras. The positioning on the Instax Mini 40 is spot on and I’ve yet to be framed wrong through my reflection.

Should you buy it?

While not cheap (a regular Mini 11 is ~$70), the Mini 40 is pure fun to shoot with. You pay extra for the retro design. The Mini 90 has more features, but as I said, they’re unnecessary. Fujifilm’s combined the best of Instax film (~$15 for a 2-pack of 10 shots each) with aesthetics that don’t look like a kindergarten toy. If you’re looking for a camera that takes good instant photos and looks good, the Mini 40 is the one to get.

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