My Review Of The Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably seen me sharing some instant film photos on my feed and stories lately. On a whim last week, I decided I wanted an instant film camera, did research, and had Fujifilm's latest model ordered less than 15 minutes later. I'm not sure why I had never considered getting one before and less sure of why I woke up with the sudden conviction that I needed one like NOW, but my goodness I am so glad I have this!
I already have a Nikon DSLR and a vintage film Canon I'm thrilled with, but an instant camera brings on a host of different possibilities that I'm so excited about! I've used it sparingly around the house so far (film is expensive, yo) but with our variety of lighting scenarios I'm already getting a good understanding of how it works.
Appearance: 3/5. I'll be the first to say that I wasn't thrilled about how this model looks. In fact, when I found out that Polaroid had sharpened up their classic model, I was almost tempted to pay twice the price for the vintage feel. The Instax body has a lot of curves and "bubbles" to it, giving it the appearance of the classic cool Polaroid's younger, braces-wearing cousin. However, in person the Smokey White shade all but hides the weird curvatures, and looks like a much more grown-up tool than some of the other hues.
Features: 5/5. I almost docked a star for this because the selfie mirror irked me. However, selfie mirror aside, the other features the camera has are quite a selling point. I only shoot in manual on my DSLR, but with a simplified system like this the automated exposure nob is quite a nice touch. As I get more used to the design, I'll have the option to ignore the camera's advice if I want to experiment with lighting effects, but it is a helpful tool getting started. It also comes with a macro lens adapter for close-range shots.
Picture Quality: 5/5. When it comes to an instant film camera, there's only so much you can say about this. Obviously prints from my Nikon and Canon are going to be of higher literal quality, but these pictures print out exactly how you would want instant film prints to look, so I'm giving it 5 stars for that.
Overall: 4/5. This is honestly a great little camera. It's a joy to use and I'm already thinking of ways to push past the run-of-the-mill portraits I've used it for so far. While I can't speak to if the Polaroid brand model is of much higher quality, I will say that this camera feels sturdy and is straightforward enough to make me think there's not a lot to break. Of course, who wouldn't love the classic Polaroid style, but I'm not sure if it's worth an extra $60 to procure. This is also a fun, no-pressure way to experiment and grow artistically through a new medium. I love photography of all kinds, but my perfectionist tendencies when setting up a DSLR shot can make things less than enjoyable. My digital photography philosophy is about scenery, lifestyle and aesthetic — my instant photography philosophy is about capturing an uninterrupted moment in time. They both have their place, I'm just thankful I could round out my collection so I can experiment and learn what each medium has to teach.