Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 review: The best easy-to-use Instax Mini model

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 is a fresh entry-level instant camera from Fujifilm and an evolution of the Instax Mini 9 (there is no Mini 10). As the name suggests, the camera uses the Instax mini film format.

Improvements include a new “Selfie mode” and better auto exposure compared to its predecessor. But unlike its higher-end siblings, the Mini 25/26, Mini 70, and Mini 90, there are no additional creative exposure modes or special features worth mentioning. However, the camera is easy to use and capable of producing beautiful images in a variety of lighting conditions.

key specifications

  • Retractable 35mm Equiv. F12.7 lens
  • Fully automatic exposure control (flash always fires)
  • Variable shutter speeds from 1/2 to 1/250 sec and slow sync flash for low light
  • Selfie mirror on the front of the lens
  • Selfie/close-up mode
  • Automatic frame counter
  • Powered by two AA batteries (100 shots / 10 packs per fresh set of batteries)
  • Erhältlich in: Blush Pink, Ice White, Sky Blue, Lilac Purple, Charcoal Black

operation

 Instax
The Mini 11 comes with two accessory buttons that you can attach to the trigger with double-sided tape (included). I attached the glow in the dark button (see above).

The Instax Mini 11 is really easy to use, making it a great choice for kids. Just press the button next to the lens to flip it out, turn on the camera and press the shutter button next to the viewfinder to take a photo; There are no other buttons to fiddle with. When you’re done, slide the lens back into the housing to turn it off.

The camera has a selfie mode as well as a small selfie mirror on the front of the lens. To activate the mode, pull the front of the lens outwards until the words “Selfie On” appear (see image below); It admittedly took some digging through the instructions to figure this out.

user friendliness

ness
Selfie mode = engaged.

The camera is held in a vertical orientation by default, making it well-suited for portraiture. The viewfinder is a bit on the small side, but that’s par for the course with these Instax Mini-sized cameras.

In use, I’ve found that the shutter button can easily be accidentally nudged, and given the high cost of film, that’s a bummer. Fujifilm includes two additional triggers that attach to the button with double-sided tape – one glows in the dark! Installation is difficult, but once attached I was less likely to pop off an unintended frame.


It’s easy to accidentally hit the shutter button, and given the high cost of the film, that’s a shame

Another note on usability: the selfie mode mechanism is a bit difficult to activate and appears to be a flaw of the camera. It takes a lot of force to pull the lens forward into selfie mode, and pulling the lens back after activating selfie mode is a fiddly affair.

selfie mode
The Instax Mini 11 is held in a vertical orientation.

Picture quality

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Picture quality

The Mini 11’s picture quality is consistently good compared to its competitors. In most shooting scenarios, the camera can easily compensate for the ambient light with its flash output. The addition of variable shutter speeds and a slow synchro flash definitely seems to make it more versatile in tricky lighting conditions than the Mini 9, which has a fixed shutter speed of 1/60s.

If you’re shooting in broad daylight, it can be annoying that the flash can’t be turned off. There’s also no infinity mode, so shots where the subject is far away can look a bit soft (see examples in the gallery below).

Using selfie mode can sometimes result in exaggerated highlights

Like most Instax Mini cameras, the Mini 11 produces its best images in good and moderate light conditions with subjects at relatively close range (within the maximum flash range of 2.7m / 8.85ft). Very low light shots tend to be darker than desired. Some kind of exposure correction would be useful here. For example, the Mini 25/26 and Mini 70 both offer a “high key” mode that adds +2/3 exposure compensation.

I’m tempted to say skip selfie mode everyone. From my testing, a normal mode selfie seems to produce better exposure, although focus can be a bit soft. Using the dedicated selfie mode can sometimes result in exaggerated highlights. That being said, I’ve had some success with the close-up selfie mode, like the puppy shot that tops the gallery below (which was shot in a very dark room).

Fujifilm Instax Mini 11

Conclusion

Ultimately, the Instax Mini 11 is for those who want the easiest-to-use instant camera for the most popular instant film format. The addition of more reliable auto exposure is appreciated. And while I’m hesitant about the selfie mode, I guess most people who haven’t read the instructions will never find it. And that’s good.

The Instax Mini 11 is for those who want the easiest-to-use instant film camera for the most popular instant film format

For those who want something with more creative control, we highly recommend spending a few bucks more and getting the Instax Mini 70, which is more feature-rich and is our pick as the best Instax Mini camera for most people.

What we like:

  • Very easy to use
  • Powered by two AA batteries
  • Improved auto exposure over its predecessor

What we don’t like:

  • No creative modes or exposure compensation
  • Easy to accidentally press the shutter button before installing the accessory button
  • The mechanism for activating the “selfie mode” feels fragile
  • Flash always fires

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