Appareil photo instantané Instax Mini 9 de Fujifilm

Review: Instax Mini 9 (Fujifilm)



The waiting period was short between Fujifilm’s announcement of the launch of the Instax Mini 9 and its effective arrival on the shelves. What are the main differences between the Instax Mini 9 and its predecessor, the Instax Mini 8? What are the perks of this model, which will certainly become the new reference for the Instax Mini entry-level range? Learn more about it below.

Design

From a design point of view, the relationship between the Instax Mini 9 and its predecessor is obvious. No revolution on this side as the Instax Mini 9 keeps the warm, rounded design that made the success of the Instax Mini 8. The shape of the case remains the same, except for a selfie mirror added near the camera lens of the Instax Mini 9.

The packaging immediately sets the tone, literally and figuratively. The two new features (selfie mirror and close-up lens) are explicitly highlighted.

The packaging immediately sets the tone, literally and figuratively. The two new features (selfie mirror and close-up lens) are explicitly highlighted.

On the back, the film loading hatch takes up a large part of the surface. The viewfinder is located in the upper right-hand corner and the frame counter is placed a little lower on the same side. Snapshots are ejected through a slot on the top of the device.

On the front, a ring around the lens allows you to choose the appropriate exposure setting. When you hold the camera in your hands, the button that opens the lens sits under the left index finger and the circular shutter release button, under the right index finger.

The Instax Mini 9 is available in 5 colors for its launch: Coral Pink, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue, Ash White, Frost Blue. These colors—soft and almost pastel-like for some, more acidulous for others—are very pleasant and contribute to making the Instax Mini 9 an attractive object. It is likely that Fujifilm will add new colors later on, like they did on the Instax Mini 8 which is now available in countless colors and shades.

The Instax Mini 9 alongside its predecessor, the Instax Mini 8. The Mini 9 is clearly an upgrade of the 8, rather than a redesign of it.

The Instax Mini 9 alongside its predecessor, the Instax Mini 8. The Mini 9 is clearly an upgrade of the 8, rather than a redesign of it.

How it works

Operating the device remains very similar to the previous model: very simple.

Loading the film

Loading a new film cartridge is easy. Open the back, place the cartridge in the right direction by aligning the two yellow markings: the one in the chamber where the cartridge is placed, and the one on the cartridge itself. It is unlikely that you will make a mistake.

Be careful though, the first photo ejected after the replacement of a cartridge is not a photo. It’s a sheet which protects the photos from being exposed to light. It’s a bit of a shame that they didn’t include a system to automatically eject it. I may have some experience reloading my Instax, I still get fooled regularly. I reload the camera, I take care of framing and composing my first picture… I release the shutter… and I see the blacked out protection sheet coming out. “Ugh, that’s right… I forgot again. »

The Instax Mini 9 is your best companion for taking small snapshots of your loved ones.

The Instax Mini 9 is your best companion for taking small snapshots of your loved ones.

To turn the camera on, you must press the large button located near the lens. This opens the lens and powers the Instax Mini 9. The device turns off when you press the thick edges of the lens to make it fit into the body of the camera.

Exposure

There are very few settings on this device. Your choices are limited to selecting the appropriate brightness setting on the ring around the lens. The ring has different options symbolized by icons:

  • a house for indoor photography (opening f/12.7),
  • a cloud for outdoor photography in overcast weather conditions (opening f/16),
  • a sun for outdoor photography (opening f/22)
  • and a full sun, surrounded by rays, for outdoor shots with abundant luminosity (opening f/32).

Point the camera in the direction of the subject you want to shoot and a small LED will light up next to the setting recommended by the camera. You are free to ignore it, at your own risk, of course.

The only parameter you have control of on the Instax Mini 9 is the exposure. Pay attention to the small LED indicating which icon you should position the ring on.

The only parameter you have control of on the Instax Mini 9 is the exposure. Pay attention to the small LED indicating which icon you should position the ring on.

We would also like to mention the Hi-Key setting, the last option available. Use it sparingly. This setting was already present on the Instax Mini 8 and allows you to create very clear images with a creative effect used especially in fashion photography. Expect a few failures before you get used to this setting and identify the optimal conditions that will give you the expected results.

Finally, keep in mind that, no matter which setting you choose, the flash fires every time.

A glance at the frame counter at the back of the device allows you to know the current charge level at any time. This display is more accessible and easier to read than the one on Lomography’s Lomo’Instant.

The viewfinder

The viewfinder is still as inaccurate as on the Instax Mini 8. The final framing of the photo is a little different from the one you composed through the viewfinder. The image pulls to the right in the portrait setting. In the landscape setting, the top is cropped higher than expected. This is a glitch that will frustrate the most careful and meticulous photographers out there. They will always try to anticipate this gap in order to compensate for it, but will always find something to dwell on.

Without expecting a machine with surgical precision (in any case, precision isn’t what drives you to purchase this type of device), you are entitled to expect something a little more accurate. Let’s hope that Fujifilm will correct this issue with later versions of this range.

What about the new features?

What are the biggest differences between the Instax Mini 8 and the Instax Mini 9? There are two main ones and they confirm that the Instax Mini 9 is a camera which is designed for portrait shots.

The selfie mirror, a function that had previously appeared on the Instax Mini 70, has also been integrated into the new housing. Located close to the lens, the mirror is very reliable and practical. It serves as a guide which allows you to compose your images as accurately as possible. Portrait shots, whether taken alone, with two or even three people, have a higher success rate and will cut-off fewer faces. When you take a selfie, you automatically have to hold your device at arm’s length, and that’s where the second innovation comes in.

The close-up lens is sometimes a little tricky to put on and remove. You have to be careful not to lose it.

The close-up lens is sometimes a little tricky to put on and remove. You have to be careful not to lose it.

The Instax Mini 9 is delivered with a smaller close-up lens. It clips onto the lens, just like the color filters we mentioned previously. This lens allows you to improve sharpness over short distances. You should use it when your subject is 35 to 50 cm away—typically, for tight portraits. The lens is made of plastic but the image is actually quite sharp over these distances. This is a welcomed improvement.
However, you will have to be careful not to lose this small accessory, as clipping/unclipping it isn’t always simple.

Our verdict

The color filters, which added creative effects to the images and were already working with the previous model, are also compatible with the Instax Mini 9.

The color filters, which added creative effects to the images and were already working with the previous model, are also compatible with the Instax Mini 9.

Should you buy the Instax Mini 9 if you already have the 8? In theory, no. As long as you can boost your Instax Mini 8 with accessories that give you access to the same functions, it seems to be an unnecessary upgrade.
On the other hand, if you don’t have an instant camera yet, you’re on a tight budget and you’re looking for a “polaroid” to take pictures with, then the Instax Mini 9 is the perfect model for you.
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Advantages and disadvantages of the Instax Mini 9

We like

  • Fujifilm shows once again that they are listening to the public
  • It has everything you need to make great selfies
  • Very nice color models to choose from

We like less

  • No revolution or major progress compared to the Instax Mini 8.
  • Inaccurate viewfinder
  • No flash control