Instax Mini 9 Review

I have wanted an Instax camera for ages, but ever since my bestie brought her Instax camera to my hen do, It sealed the deal! She took such amazing pictures which were then used to make a gorgeous memory book of the amazing trip as a gift to me (we went for a long weekend to Milan).

I love how the photos look really authentic and vintage. Over the years photo quality has improved in quality and are mostly electronic so it’s lovely to have a feel of something old incorporated with something new. There is also something very special about taking a photo which you only have the one chance for and then having an actual copy of it instantly.

My sister very kindly gifted me the amazing Instax mini 9 for my birthday this year after she saw it on my Birthday Wish list. I did want a pink one, but when it came down to choosing one, my sister asked me and I decided the smoky white one is more chic and more me, although my favourite colour is pink. She got me the Artist Creative box which included some extra bits that would be useful and allow me display the pictures.

The Kit itself came with:

- Smoky White Instax Mini 9 – with a small attachment for short distance photos

- Black Case for the Instax, with shoulder band

- A shoulder & arm band for the camera

- A small wooden pear photo holder

- Wooden Pegs ( magnetic)

- 3 x Tapes in different designs


So let’s get straight in. To make the most of your camera and get beautiful photos, you need to understand how it works. Here a few tips/ info from my experience of the last couple of months that I would like to share with you all.

Understanding Shutter & Aperture

Normal Digital cameras allow you to adjust shutter speed and aperture. The Instax camera works differently as it is not digitalised.

- The shutter speed is fixed so you can’t change how long it will remain open. ( it is fixed at 1/60 sec)

- You can adjust the aperture ( how wide the shutter opens) to adjust how much light you allow in ( for brighter pictures)

The Instax has an adjustment dial on the front which rotates around some icons ( A House, Cloud, Sun, Very Sunny) and a red light against them which will flash against one icon, to representing how much incoming light it is detecting, when switched on. If you are to take pictures without no adjustment the pictures are most likely going to be dark and horrible. The first important step when using the Instax is, to ensure the mark on the dial has been turned to match with the flashing icon. This adjusts the aperture so you have the correct amount of light coming in. The camera will auto determine the best brightness for the picture, The cloud and house icons sense low lighting, so the camera will allow more light in. The sun and very Sunny icon detect more light, so the camera will let in less light to avoid over exposure.

These above steps will ensure that your photos have the correct lighting to give you clearer photos.

Brighter Photos

You may notice that some of the photos taken in cloudy lighting conditions/ in the house may still be a little too dark even though your flash is used (the flash will always be used and you can’t switch it off) . As you can’t change how much light is being sensed, you can manipulate the camera to allow more light in, to achieve brighter photos.

You can override the automatic camera setting to allow more light in by making it think its darker/ in low light setting to increase the aperture. To do this you can move the dial down to the darker icon. This way you are telling the camera that it is darker than it actually is, so it will make the shutter open wider to let more light in.

For example, if you are out on a cloudy day , instead of having the mark on the dial to match the cloud light , turn the dial down to the house, to make the camera think its darker. This will let more light in to give you a brighter photo.

If you are at home/ indoors, the dial would be moved to the HI-KEY to give you brighter photos. Do not use the HI KEY setting when outside. See below example. The left picture was taking using the standard setting. The right picture was taken with the dial moved to HI KEY for a brighter image.

The same concept also applies if you want your pictures to be darker, Turn the dial up to manipulate the camera to think its lighter.


The camera has a selfie mirror at the front, which you can use as a view finder to ensure you get your whole face/ or everyone in the picture. You can also use the close up lens which can be used for pictures that at up to 35cm away.

View Finder

I’ve had a few pictures taken of me, where it isn’t centred and there is too much excess at the top of the photo. When taking a picture and using the view finder, have a good look around on the inside to ensure the pictures are as you would like them. At a quick glance you will not get your picture centred!

Instant Photos

As the camera is instant your photo will print out and be developed in about two mins. I’ve learnt the hard way, but leave your picture alone to develop and don’t shake it about in the hope that it will develop quicker. They will get blackened and dark!

The photos are 46mm x 62 mm in size with a white border around it where you can personalise it.

Instax Mini Film

The camera creates instant photos with no storing, so you need film for every photo. A pack of 20* can cost up to $29 or a pack of 50 can cost up to $59. Buying more film can be more cost effective, but you will have to bear in mind that the films also have a expiry date. The film is a little pricey so I save my film for special occasions.

Different shades

The Instax Mini 9 comes in 5 different shades: Smokey White, Lime Green, Cobalt Blue, Ice Blue and Flamingo Pink

So a few points to remember when using the Instax Camera

  • The focal range of this camera is 2-8 feet. Anything closer or further away than this will probably not be sharply focused.

  • Photos taken outside will most likely be better than indoor photos.

  • For Brighter photos outside, Turn your dial down one click from the lit lamp.

  • For brighter photos inside, set your camera dial to “HI-KEY.”

  • Do not use the “HI-KEY” setting outside. This will overexpose your photos.

  • When in doubt, turn the dial to match the icon with the red light.

The Instax camera is a very novelty way of taking photos in the 21st century where you can create instant memories without previewing, having second chances or agreeing with your friends if the picture is good enough. Although the photos are not of the highest quality or the brightness may not always be what you hoped, it is a lovely way to create instant memories with a simple easy to use camera.

I hope my review was beneficial and informative. I am loving my camera and captured some amazing moments, so a big thanks to my sister for getting me this!

Sal x