Fuji­film Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9: Should You Upgrade

Namrata Gogoi

Few instant cameras have managed to achieve the level of popularity like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9. This instant camera not only produces excellent credit card-sized photos but is also affordable, unlike many of its rivals like the Canon Ivy or the Polaroid Now. And now, with the Instax Mini 11, we have a new successor in the house.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 9

The Instax Mini 11 is not just another iterative upgrade. It packs quite a few significant features. Like its predecessor, it's available in a bunch of attractive colors. And guess what, it uses the same film-based printing mechanism.

More importantly, it's dirt cheap (compared to its competition).

So, this brings us to an important question—what improvement does the Instax Mini 11 bring to the table? And is it worth upgrading to the Mini 11 if you already own a Mini 9?

Well, that's what we are going to explore in this post today as we compare the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 against the Instax Mini 9.

As it's going to be a long post, let's start straight away, shall we?

Specs That Matter

PropertyFujifilm Instax Mini 9Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
PropertyFujifilm Instax Mini 9Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
Printing MethodInstant FilmInstant Film
Maximum Paper Size2.44 x 1.81 inch2.44 x 1.81 inch
Paper Capacity1010
Video CapableNoNo
Light Metering LEDYesNo
Build-in Selfie MirrorNo (snap-on selfie lens attachment)Yes
Tripod MountNoNo
Charging MethodAA BatteriesAA Batteries

1. Design and Specs

It should be safe to say that the Mini 11 doesn't look much different from the Mini 9. While the Mini 9 is a little stouter, the Mini 11 has managed to achieve a slimmer and narrower body. That makes it easy to hold, even by children with small hands. All you need is a well-textured cover, and you will have a durable camera in your hands.

32 Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 9

Both the cameras are made of smooth matte plastic. However, if you take a closer look, you will find that Fujifilm has made quite a few changes to the new camera.

For one, the thumb rest on the rear is much pronounced, and the narrow build of the Mini 11 makes the camera easy to hold.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 5

There are a few subtle changes as well. For example, the viewfinder has embraced a circular shape.

When it comes to the specs, it's safe to say that there are quite a few well-placed changes. The Mini 11 sports a moderate wide-angle lens with a f/12.7 aperture.

Another major change of this iteration is the inclusion of an auto-exposure system with variable shutter speed. If you recollect, the Mini 9 had metering LEDs near the shutter. You had to manually adjust the exposure as per the ambient light around you before clicking a shot.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 1

Well, the Mini 11 can now compensate for the light and capture photos accordingly.

And that's not the end of the story. The Mini 11 also brings an extended lens to the table. If you want to capture selfies or close-up shots, you will need to pull out the lens barrel and film the shot. Seems, interesting right? When we talk numbers, pulling out the barrel reduces the focus distance between 35cm and 50cm.

Quite obviously, capturing selfies is little more than just turning the camera towards you, looking at the reflection at the tiny mirror next to the barrel. You will need a little experience before you land the perfect selfie.

The Mini 9 also comes packed with a clip-on selfie attachment. However, there's no concept of barrel lens.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 8
Instax Mini 9

Like its predecessor, the Instax Mini 11 also uses the in-house 2.4 x 1.8-inch Instax Mini Instant Film.

It's worth noting that the new camera does away with the tripod socket at the bottom. But thankfully, it sports a flat bottom and can sit up vertically without any issues.

2. Exposure Settings and Metering LEDs

As noted earlier, the Mini 9 comes with manual exposure settings and fixed shutter speed (1/60) and you'd need to pick the brightness settings manually as per the ambient light. There are five settings to choose from — Very Sunny, Sunny, Cloudy, Indoors, and High.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 vs Mini 9 7
Instax Mini 9

To switch between the five settings, you'd need to change the adjustment ring and then hit the shutter button.

As opposed to it, the Mini 11 comes with an auto exposure system with variable shutter speed. The shutter speed can vary between 1/2 and 1/250 as per the light captured in the sensor.

These settings will get you better photos. So yeah, you do not have to worry about the white-washed sky or dark frames in your photos to an extent.

3. Charging Methods & Battery

When it comes to battery life, Fujifilm hasn't changed the system much. Both the cameras run on two AA batteries and lets you get through 10 packs of film, before calling it a day.

About 10 packs of film or 100 individual photos are more than enough to get by in a single day.

The best bet would be to get a pair of rechargeable AA batteries (see Energizer Rechargeable Battery Charger). Not only does it help in lessening e-waste, but it also helps to prevent last-minute runs to the departmental store.

Performance

Let's get a few things on the table first. Instant films will never have the same camera quality as DSLRs or smartphone cameras. Instead, they have the old-world charm to it, thanks to the soft focus.

On the upside, film photos are much better compared to ZINK photos.

When it comes to the new Instax Mini 11, the photos appear more natural, and as you'd expect, the autofocus feature plays a major role in it. As noted earlier, there are lesser chances of overblown photos and overexposed skies. However, they are not completely gone, all thanks to the nature of the film used.

Photo Performance

Compared to the ones captured by the Mini 9, you'll see crisp and sharp images, and this is a huge plus. So, even if you capture photos indoor, the background will stay in focus. If you recollect, the Mini 9 churns out dark background in photos.

The same holds true for close up shots and selfies. The images are crisp and well-detailed.

Capture Beautiful Moments

The new generation of the Instax camera brings an improved set of features to that table. You get a better set of pictures in your hands, and that's one of the best things about this camera. With the autofocus kicking into action, you can do away with the hassle of adjusting the barrel's brightness ring. Hello, point & shoot.

And well, the ability to pull out the lens barrel to shoot selfies and closeup is the cherry on top.

The Mini 9 is a great camera in its own. It's one of the cheapest instant cameras out there. The operation is simple and easy, and the different camera and photo accessories add to the fun quotient.

It's not that the Mini 9 camera is a letdown. It lets you do all that you want with an instant camera. In fact, you can attach a selfie lens attachment should you want to capture the same. However, it's 2020, and those features do no cut it anymore.

So if you want the best of the Fuji Instax Mini series, the Mini 11 is the one you should invest in.

Next up: How does the Canon IVY CLIQ measure up against the Fuji Instax Mini 9? Check out the next article to know all about it.


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Namrata loves writing about products and gadgets. She has been working for Guiding Tech since 2017 and has around three years of experience writing features, how-tos, buying guides, and explainers. Previously she worked as an IT Analyst at TCS, but she found her calling elsewhere.