Is the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 still worth buying?

Purple Instax Mini 9 on a dark background
(Image credit: James Artaius)

Launched in early 2017, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is now approaching its seventh birthday – yet it's still one of the best instant cameras you can buy. In fact, despite owning many newer Instaxes and Polaroids, the Mini 9 is the one I tend to use most often! 

That's partly because the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 comes in this exclusive Clear Purple colorway (along with the similarly exclusive, but less personal proclivity-tickling Clear Pink and Clear Yellow), which I absolutely love. And while the Instax Mini 12 is certainly a newer and, in terms of features, "better" camera, little things like color are actually quite a big deal.

Instant cameras, arguably more than any other kind of camera, are expressions of our personality. You have serious-looking, leatherette-clad affairs like the Instax Mini Evo, and the saccharine kawaii-inspired likes of the Instax Mini Hello Kitty. So don't be bashful about getting an instant camera based mostly on its aesthetics! 

Beyond the looks, though, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 is largely identical in performance to the Mini 11 and Mini 12 that succeeded it. They all employ 60mm f/12.7 lenses with flash and autoexposure – though the Mini 9 has a shutter speed of 1/60 sec, while the 11 and 12 can shoot at 1/2 to 1/250. 

So exposures can be a little more even on the newer cameras, but this has never been noticeable enough to make me pick them up over the Mini 9. In fact, the flash actually recycles quicker on the 9 (maximum of 6 seconds) than it does on the 11 and 12 (up to 6.5 and 7 seconds, respectively) – which would be more important to me under admittedly rare circumstances.

They also all take the same batteries, their overall size is much the same (the Mini 9 is slightly taller and slimmer, while the 11 and 12 squish that into slightly shorter and wider proportions). The only feature that makes a real difference, to me, is the parallax correction on the Mini 12, which can make it slightly easier to compose.

However, aside from that, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 gives pretty much on-par performance in every respect – and it has the bonus, as a slightly older camera, of being much cheaper than its younger brothers. 

So if you're looking for an instant camera, take a look at the best Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 deals right now – there are some offers where buying the camera with film works out cheaper than buying the newer models on their own!

Confused about the differences between the two big brands? Check out my Instax vs Polaroid guide, and make sure to check what type of instant film you need for your camera!

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.