Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera Review

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Quick verdict

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 takes the updates introduced by the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, but wraps them in a cooler, more retro-styled instant camera body. Instant film fans will probably love it and with its improved design, there’s a chance that those who aren’t instantly drawn to this form of photography will just want to play around with it. Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 too. It does cost more than the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 though, so you’ll have to decide if the fresher design is worth the extra £20.

+ Benefits

  • It’s funny
  • Excellent party camera
  • Easy to use
  • It looks cool

– The inconvenients

  • Cinema is expensive
  • Viewfinder could be better
  • Powered by AA batteries

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is one of the newest instant cameras in the popular Fujifilm Instax Mini camera line and it is a reincarnation of the Fujifilm Instax 11 in a much more eye-catching design. It’s available now on Amazon for £89.99 and we’ve put it to the test to find out if the extra outlay (it’s £20 more than the Instax 11) is worth it.

Features of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Like the Instax Mini 11, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 features an auto exposure mode with an improved flash that automatically calculates surrounding brightness and adjusts shutter speed accordingly (an improvement over previous Instax cameras released before the Instax Mini 11). There’s also the same selfie/close-up mode accessible via the adjustable lens barrel.

You will also need to purchase Instax Mini film and optional accessories such as camera cases are available.

Main characteristics

  • selfie-mode
  • Auto exposure mode
  • Improved Flash
  • hand strap
  • 30-50cm close-up range
  • Optional Accessories

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Film Camera Handling and Performance

Instax Mini 40

Previously, some of the Instax Mini cameras released seemed quite child-friendly with their thick plastic design, but the Instax Mini 40 is much more grown-up with its leatherette outline, silver accents, and much more structured design. In fact, it looks like the Instax Mini 90 released a few years ago but offers better value for money.

Even though it’s made entirely from plastic, it doesn’t feel like it, which keeps it from looking cheap. In fact, it looks rather retro – something that will be popular with instant photography fans.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

The Instax Mini 40 is slightly smaller than the Instax Mini 11 but it’s not a camera you’ll be able to slip into a pocket, which may make some a little embarrassed when using it as it stands out. We really like the look of the Instax Mini 40, way more than the Instax Mini 11.

You hold the Instax Mini 40 vertically when using it, and you can hold it comfortably with one hand thanks to the rubberized texture of the camera body and the perfectly placed thumb rest that provides a good grip. Admittedly, left-handed shooters won’t find the same ease of use/comfort in it, but it will fit your right hand just fine.

On the front is a large flash which stands out prominently from the camera body, branding and the Instax 60mm lens which has a focus range of 0.3m to infinity and consists of 2 components with 2 elements.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

On the side of the lens is a button you press to activate the camera which automatically extends the lens and an orange light appears to let you know the camera is ready to capture your shots. Once the camera is on and the lens is out, you can pull the edge of the lens out further to reveal the text that says “selfie on” so you know the camera is in selfie mode. You have to be a little firm with the lens when you pull it out, which was a bit daunting at first as it felt like we were trying to damage the camera rather than accessing an inbuilt mode, but it was done once, and it was OK after that. There’s also a selfie mirror on the lens so you can check your framing and you can also use selfie mode to capture close-ups of subjects from 30-50cm away.

The shutter button sits below the viewfinder and is just one of two buttons on the camera, which means it couldn’t be easier to use. The viewfinder, however, is slightly off-center from the lens, so what you see isn’t quite accurate to what will show up on prints.

Flip the camera over and you’ll find the film slot, film counter and a handy 0.37x real-frame viewfinder with target dot. On the top is a battery compartment and on the side is where the film is printed. AA batteries are used and they are supplied but you will need to replace them unless you are using rechargeable batteries of course. To save energy, the camera automatically turns off if not used for 5 minutes.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

There’s a programmed electronic shutter that goes from 1/2 to 1/250 sec and slow sync is available in low light. Exposure is automatic and a constant firing flash is built in that automatically adjusts to the light levels in the scene. The flash recycle time is approximately 6.5 seconds and the effective flash range is 0.3-2.7m. The slight issue with the flash is that it’s automatic, so even in direct sunlight you can’t turn it off, which can lead to washed out images.

Film ejection is automatic and fairly quick at 90 seconds and waiting for the film to develop and watching the image slowly appear never gets old.

As far as camera performance goes, it really can’t get much easier unless the camera learns to take pictures for you. It’s also great fun to use and will make a great accessory for a party table. You can get closer to subjects than the viewfinder suggests, but as you play, you’ll soon get used to it.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Remember to remove the selfie lens extension if you’re shooting landscapes as shots can get blurry and although we said the auto flash can be a bit of a pinch outdoors it’s actually very useful when capturing footage indoors. We’re not saying the captured photos look completely natural, but you don’t get large shadow areas. Portraits are also fun to capture with instant cameras and suit the retro feel of the prints with their soft colors and softer look. Scenes with wide dynamic range can be tricky, especially if you’re facing the sun, so take that into account. Glare can also happen when you don’t think it is, and that’s because of the positioning of the viewfinder relative to the location of the lens. That said, the flare can be fun and you might like the look.

P1010024 |  1/60s |  f/2.8 |  14.0mm |  ISO 320

P1010028 |  1/60s |  f/2.8 |  12.0mm |  ISO500

The slight problem we still have with all instant cameras is their unpredictability, as you can either get a really good shot or a really bad shot that isn’t properly exposed. We know some people say that’s the beauty of the medium, but when you’re paying over £1 per print it’s a costly waste if your photos don’t turn out quite right. That said, there’s something good about the quirky, retro feel of the prints with the exaggerated colors and faded tones.

We have said it before and we will say it again; Instax Mini cameras aren’t for everyone, but for those who love the spontaneity and fun that these cameras provide, the Instax Mini 40 will be a popular choice. Even more so with the improved design that gives it that retro feel that we’re seeing appearing more, even on newer digital cameras.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

Value for money

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is available now from Amazon, priced at £89.99. You will also need Instax Mini Film which starts at £14.25 for 20 photos. Other options include the Instax Mini 11 (similar specs but £20 cheaper), the Instax Mini 90 NEO, previous Instax Mini models, the Impossible 009001 I-1 Instant Cam and the Instax Hello Kitty Camera.

For more options, take a look at our list of the ‘best instant cameras’.

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera Verdict

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 takes the updates introduced by the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11, but wraps them in a cooler, more retro-styled instant camera body.

We always think instant film cameras are something you’ll either love or never consider buying – there’s no middleman, but for those who love them, the Instax Mini 40 adds a level of freshness that will make it even more appealing than other previously released Fujifilm Instax cameras.

The downside is that you don’t really know what you’re getting until the photo is printed and sometimes the results aren’t great. We know some will say that’s the beauty of this style of photography but since film is quite expensive, you have to really like this type of photography and/or really know how to get the most out of the camera. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is also more expensive than the Instax Mini 11, so you’ll have to decide if the updated design is worth the extra £20.

Overall, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is a retro looking piece of kit and for the right person will bring a lot of fun to their photographic adventures. It would also make a cool gift for a photography fan.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

  • It’s funny
  • Excellent party camera
  • Easy to use
  • It looks cool

Disadvantages of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera

  • Cinema is expensive
  • Viewfinder could be better
  • Powered by AA batteries

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