Instax Mini VS Instax Wide

Instax Mini or Instax Wide? Which one should you choose?

Fujifilm’s Instax range includes two formats(for now), Mini and Wide, each of which has its own supporters. The Instax Mini and Instax Wide differ in size, price, but also in the devices that use them. So, Instax Mini or Instax Wide? Here is an overview of the points that will make you choose one over the other.

The same emulsion

Both the Instax and Wide films use the same emulsion.
From a qualitative point of view, nothing distinguishes the two formats from each other. Images develop in the same way within similar time frames (within 5 minutes of shooting).
The colors have a particular rendering, specific to analog photography. It should be noted that these films share the same defect: they do not tolerate bright lighting well. A very bright area, such as the sun or its reflection on a window, often creates small undesirable black spots on the picture.

Instax Mini VS Instax Wide: size differences

A comparison of the two Instax Mini and Instax Wide formats.

A comparison of the two Instax Mini and Instax Wide formats.

The most common criticism of the instax Mini is its size: 5.4 x 8.6 cm. No bigger than a credit card. The images look small, especially to people accustomed to the Polaroid photos of yesteryear, whose format is close to a square. Many people however enjoy the Mini format for its practical and small dimensions, since it fits very well into a wallet, for example, and allows you to always carry a picture of a loved one with you.
The dimensions of the Wide format (8.6 x 10.8 cm) are twice as large as the Mini format. In fact, it is as wide as the Instax film is long. The images are also more detailed and the colors are richer.

Instax Mini VS Instax Wide: the price dilemma

The comparison between Instax Mini and Instax Wide is subject to an irrefutable fact: more paper surface = more euros. The Wide surface is twice as large as the Mini surface, but fortunately, it is not twice as expensive.

A refill of 10 Instax Mini films costs about €9.90, while a Wide refill costs about €11.40.
The unit cost is about 1€ for a Mini photo, compared to 1.15€ for a Wide photo. Presented this way, it doesn’t make a big difference. However, when applied to a large volume of images, the costs difference starts to weigh down:

  • 100 Mini photos will cost you about 100€*
  • 100 Wide photos will cost you about 114€*

Something to consider…

The Instax Mini format is the cheapest instant film on the market today. For regular use, Instax Mini is budget friendly. However, if the price of an Instax Wide refill seems high to you, you should know that it is much more affordable than Impossible films. The cost of a cartridge of 8 Impossible Project films varies from 19 to 21€ from one store to another (some crooks sell it for 25€), which translates into a unit cost of nearly 2.50€. We’re on a completely different budget in this case.

*Assuming that you are buying one refill at a time, not by batch. I invite you to read this other article to save money and buy your Instax films cheaply

Instax Mini VS Instax Wide: not the same devices

Instax Mini 70 and Lomo'Instant Wide devices side by side. A big difference in size and space requirement.

Instax Mini 70 and Lomo’Instant Wide devices side by side. A big difference in size and space requirement.

The Instax Mini and Wide formats can be used on different devices. There is no device to date – and probably never will be – that works with both Instax film formats.
On the Instax Mini side, Fujifilm offers three devices that have been used for several generations: the Instax Mini 9, the Instax Mini 70 and the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. The Instax Mini 9 is the most affordable of the three, as well as the most accessible of them all. The others have additional functions and are aimed at a more informed and demanding audience. These cameras, particularly the Instax Mini 9, are available in a wide range of colors.

On the Instax Wide side, the Fujifilm range is less extensive, with two devices only: the Instax Wide 300 and the Instax Wide 210. The second being older and less sophisticated than the first one.

Mini cameras are clearly more compact and lighter than Wide cameras. The latter looks a little rudimentary and more cumbersome. I would hardly exaggerate if I told you that you will only need to make a little space in your bag to fit an Instax Mini, while you will need an extra bag just to fit you Instax Wide camera.

Other brands and manufacturers produce devices using Fujifilm’s Instax refills. This is the case of Lomography, which markets two lines of devices: the Lomo’Instant (working with Instax Mini films) and Lomo’Instant Wide (Instax Wide films). The Lomo’Instant is available in a wide range of finishes, and the Lomo’Instant Wide exists in a few variations. The rule followed at Fujifilm (large film format = large camera) is also observed at Lomography. The Lomo’Instant Wide is a very big camera.

So: Instax Mini or Instax Wide?

The Instax Mini format is now the more popular of the two, and Fujifilm reports that the Mini range represents 85% of its instant camera sales. The Mini format has several advantages for the public: the price of refills is cheaper, and it is compatible with a wider range of devices. It is also easier to use and more affordable than that of its big brother Wide. Buying an Instax Mini device is probably the best choice if you are not repulsed by the credit card size, or if you plan to shoot portraits of your loved ones, party pictures, etc.

If, on the other hand, image size is essential for you, and the thought of taking an oversized device for a walk does not scare you, then go for the Instax Wide.
In doubt, start with an Instax Mini device first, and if you enjoy the experience, try the Wide format later.

Instax Mini

The benefits

  • The price
  • A wider choice of devices, offered in different range levels
  • Lighter, more compact

The disadvantages

  • The image size

Instax Wide

The benefits

  • The image size

The disadvantages

  • The price (VS the Instax Mini)
  • Bulky
  • A narrower range of devices