Instax Mini 11 full review
The Instax Mini 11 is a polaroid-style camera for the younger generation who are looking for an instant camera to use on the go, and has some major improvements on its predecessor, the Instax Mini 9.
Due to the nature of the target market, this is quite literally a ‘point-and-shoot’ type of camera, with no additional functions. It’s designed for those looking for something that’s easy-to-use with friends, rather than those that are photography whizzes. Read on to see our full review - or alternatively check out our list of the best instant cameras.
Price and availability
The Instax Mini 11 is available now for £69.99/$69.95, and you can buy it from Amazon UK, Currys and Jessops if you’re in the UK, and Amazon US and Picture Line if you’re in the US. This price once again puts Instax as the most affordable brand in this space right now.
There are five colour options currently available: Pink, blue, white, black and lilac - which we tested for this review. As for additional accessories, you can also get a matching case in every colour available as you could with the Mini 9 range. Instax has also released mini leather photo albums in all the camera colours - great if you’re looking for a place to store all your snaps.
Of course with the nature of this product, you’ll also have to add the cost of film onto the base camera price. A pack of 20 Instax Mini Instant Film will set you back £14.99 in the UK, and $19.95 in the US. Rival instant camera prints Zink Paper - used for digital prints in cameras and printers from the likes of Polaroid and Kodak - costs £14.99 for 30 sheets on Amazon UK and $14.97 on Amazon US. Whilst that is a great deal cheaper, it's worth keeping in mind that this isn't technically real film.
Design and build
Instax has given this latest camera some serious upgrades in comparison to the Mini 9. First of all - size. The Mini 11 is slimmer than the Mini 9, and includes an ergonomic design, making gripping the camera in one hand much easier. It’s still not super small, but this slimmer version certainly looks more clean and polished.
One other major change is the omission of the manual exposure dial on the front, which again gives the lens a less bulkier finish and a more minimalist style. The addition of a black camera in the colour range is also a nice touch for those searching for something that's less flashy.
To activate the lens, you simply push a button to make it extend outwards. You get a mirror on the lens that's particularly useful for selfies, as well as another nifty feature - more on that later.
Other than that, most of the core stylistic choices are the same. It’s still got an overall funky feel that’s suited more towards casual users than seasoned photographers, and all the buttons are easily identifiable.
For extra customisation, you get two button covers included with your camera. It also comes equipped with a pre-attached hand strap. On the product that we tested, there’s no additional features like colour lenses, though we may see these extras on future editions of the Mini 11.
Features and image quality
As this camera is designed to produce polaroid-style images, they have quite a vintage look, with slightly washed out colours. As it has been with most other instant cameras, the Mini 11 works best in bright daylight, as the colours are the most vivid and textures are sharper. Sadly, cloudy days don’t produce as good of a photo.
Indoors, differentiating between similar colours is a little bit iffy - but this is the downside of having images from an instant camera. One of the major bonuses of omitting the exposure dial means a much quicker shooting process. No more worrying about whether you’ve got the camera on the right setting - it does the work for you.
Now, let’s talk about low-light conditions. Though this was something that the Instax Mini 9 completely fell down on, the Mini 11’s new auto exposure feature seems to really adjust well to darker environments. Neon lights pop especially well on photos taken of a night.
By simply pulling out the lens one notch further once the camera is on, you get a ‘selfie mode’, which gives a cropped version of an image, perfect for self-portraits or macro shots. Personally I found the camera to be fine taking selfies in the normal setting, but it’s a nice bonus for those who'll make use of it.
One you’ve taken a snap, the film prints instantly and takes a couple of minutes to develop, depending on the temperature and lighting. You only get ten pictures in one pack of film, so be sure to use your pictures wisely, as Instax film isn’t exactly cheap to purchase.
Instax has taken onboard the criticisms of the Mini 9 and has managed to produce a camera that performs much better - whilst staying in the affordable price point - with the Mini 11.
The slimmer and less-fussy design makes this a more portable instant camera, whilst the addition of auto exposure gives the user higher-quality images with less faff. The auto exposure needs a little tweaking for shooting on cloudy days/indoors, but this is absolutely a step in the right direction.
All-in-all, if you’re searching for an instant camera that requires minimal work, produces great polaroid-style pictures and won’t cost the Earth, there’s nothing on the market right now to rival the Instax Mini 11.
Instax Mini 11: Specs
- 107.6mm × 121.2mm × 67.3mm
- 293g (without batteries, strap, and film) Real image finder, 0.37x, with target spot
- Retractable lens with 2 components
- Programmed electronic shutter1/2 to 1/250 sec. Slow synchro for low light
- Automatic exposure control Lv 5.0 to 14.5 (ISO 800)
- Constant firing flash with automatic light adjustment
- 6.5 seconds or less recycle time
- 0.3-2.7m effective flash range
- 2 x AA-size 1.5V 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