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Instax Mini 40 review


The Instax Mini 40 is the latest instant camera from Fujifilm, with a retro-inspired square design. Running on Instax Mini film, this is a simple ‘snap-and-go’ camera for those who want something a little more artistic for capturing memories.

I’ve spent some time reviewing the Instax Mini 40 to see how it performs in day-to-day life and stacks up against competitors.

Design and build

The camera measures 104×121×65mm and weighs 330g. It can easily slip inside a small bag but is not as easy to use one-handed as other devices from Fujifilm are.

In the box, you get a hand strap that can be attached to the camera. Film is sold separately, and you can pick up a matching case for around £17.99. Amazon also offers bundles with both the film and case included.

At the time of writing, the Instax Mini 40 only comes in one colour option – black with silver accents. This is quite surprising, considering that Fujifilm usually offers several different colourways for its products.

Instax Mini 40

Nonetheless, this is a good-looking device. The body of the camera is square in shape with slightly curved edges. The overall finish is textured, giving it a leather-like look from afar. It is under-stated, and perfect for those who want an instant camera that looks retro, without having to pay crazy prices for it.

The 60mm lens can be activated by pressing a button to make it pop out. This can be pulled out even further if you want a picture to be taken slightly closer. This is a point-and-shoot camera, so is extremely easy to use. There’s even a mirror next to the lens, should you want to snap a selfie.

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To load the film, you simply click open the back panel and put in the pack, as per the instructions. Once it’s in, you can’t reopen it or the film will be ruined. 

Features and image quality

The Instax Mini 40 produces polaroid-style photos. Due to the muted colours and style, they have quite a vintage feel to them and are good for decorating your desk, putting in a scrapbook or in your wallet/purse. There is a border around the pictures – Polaroid’s photos make better use of the space in comparison.

Instax Mini 40

The camera takes the best photos outdoors in bright sunlight. Overcast weather often washes out the colours, and indoors the colours are much darker. Though this camera has a flash and auto-exposure, it is quite hit and miss. It is also not the best for large landscape shots, as some details end up being lost.

That said, the Instax Mini 40 is perfect for taking photos of humans and animals, as well as closer up shots of monuments or plants. Of a night, neon colours do pop – but without a little bit of light, you can’t really get many details to show up.

Photos start to develop as soon as you click the shutter button and take on average 90 seconds to fully resolve, depending on your lighting and temperature conditions.

Price and availability

The Instax Mini 40 is available now for £89.99/US$99.99. If you’re in the UK, you can buy it from Amazon UK, Argos, Fujifilm and John Lewis, and Amazon US and Best Buy if you’re in the US.

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In comparison to cameras from competitor brands such as Lomography, this price is still relatively good. However, the cost of Instax film can also add up – something that isn’t included in the base cost of the Instax Mini 40.

A pack of 20 Instax Mini Instant Film costs around £14.99 in the UK, and $19.95 in the US. Rival instant cameras – like the Polaroid Snap – print on zink paper instead, which costs just £9.99 for 20 sheets on Amazon UK. Whilst that is a great deal cheaper, it is, however, technically not film.

Instax Mini 40

If you don’t mind a funkier and more colourful design, then the Instax Mini 11 is essentially the exact same instant camera. It takes the same Instax Mini film and has auto-exposure and a selfie mirror. However, it’s currently retailing for around £69.99/$69.95 – a big step down in price from the Instax Mini 40.

Personally, I don’t think there’s justification for this much of a hike in price. The design is more sophisticated and suited to older audiences, but £20/$20 more, without any new or improved features, it’s a little disappointing.

To see how rivals compare, take a look at our roundup of the best instant cameras. We also have a similar guide for instant printers, should you want polaroid-style prints of the images you have on your phone’s camera roll instead.

Verdict

The Instax Mini 40 produces mostly great polaroid-style prints and is easy-to-use, even for complete beginners to photography. It especially shines when taking photos in the bright sunshine.

Though the retro design is refined, and the price is better than some rivals, there’s no getting around the fact that the Instax Mini 11 is a much more affordable option that has all the same bells and whistles as this. Plus, the auto-exposure feature doesn’t work consistently well.

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Only go for this camera over the Mini 11 if the aesthetic is important to you.

Specs

Instax Mini 40: Specs

  • 104×121×65 mm
  • 330g (without batteries, strap, and film)
  • Real image finder, 0.37×, with target spot
  • Retractable lens with 2 components and 2 elements
  • Programmed electronic shutter 1/2 to 1/250 sec. Slow synchro for low light
  • Automatic exposure control Lv 5.0 to 14.5 (ISO 800)
  • Constant firing flash (automatic light adjustment)
  • 0.3 to 2.7m effective flash range
  • 2 x AA-size alkaline batteries
  • Hand strap
  • Requires Fujifilm Instant Colour Film
  • Film Size – 86x54mm
  • Picture Size 62x46mm
  • 90 secs approx film developing time depending on ambient temperature
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