Beauty on the Outside. Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Review

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is another camera from Fujifilm that shoots the Mini film format and doesn’t do much else.

Sometimes I really scratch my head at Fujifilm’s cameras. The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is a great example of this. Granted, they made one of the most stylish Instax cameras I’ve ever seen. However, the Instax lineup feels a lot like what Canon used to do. Years ago, Canon used to recycle the same parts over and over again. Some of their cameras felt like they were just phoning it in. (The Rebel series is a great example.) And for Fujifilm, Instax very much feels like that. Fujifilm, by all means, could surely do more! They could give it glass lenses and manual controls, but choose not to. What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but using the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 felt like eating durian with ice cream on top. I hate durian.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is very easy on the eyes. If you can really justify spending nearly $100 on an Instax camera, then go for it. But the Lomography Lomo’Instant is a far better series and sometimes even more affordable.

In all honesty, this will be a very short review because there isn’t a lot to this camera.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It’s very nice looking.
  • Your friends will be jelly of your pretty camera.

Cons

  • It spits out the same images every other Instax camera does.

Innovations

Fujifilm found a way to repackage the same thing they’ve been doing for years in yet another stunning package. That’s a long way of saying that Fuji put the latest fashion styles on the same camera from before.

Tech Specs

Specs for the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 were summarized from the Fujifilm website.

  • 60mm f12 lens with two components and two lens elements. It’s plastic
  • 1/250th max shutter speed
  • Automatic exposure control
  • Uses two AA batteries

Gear Used

We tested the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 with Instax Mini film.

Ergonomics

Here’s the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40. The front of the camera has a shutter button, flash, viewfinder, lens, and a selfie mirror. Note, the viewfinder won’t show you what the lens sees. Next to the lens is a button to activate the camera and extend the lens for use.

On the top of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is where the film will be ejected. The leatherette finish extends to there, which is a nice touch.

Here’s a closer look at the lens. As you can see, it focuses from around 1 foot away to infinity. Plus, there’s a little mirror for selfies.

At the back of the camera, you’ll find the film door. This is where you can find the film counter and the door to load up film.

Build Quality

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is built very plastic-y with a leatherette exterior. It’s not solid at all. It feels like every other Instax camera. Basically, just be careful with it because it can likely break easily. This is standard and on par with most Instax Mini cameras. The best-built ones are made by MiNT. 

Focusing

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 doesn’t really focus. Instead, it just shoots and has a whole area in focus instead. It states that pretty much everything is in focus right on the lens. This translates into a more carefree experience. I guess that’s part of the charm of shooting Instax. In fact, it’s probably the best thing about using a camera like this–just how easy it is to use.

Ease of Use

The really nice thing about the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is that it’s pretty impossible to mess up. You load the film using the color-coded sections. Then you turn the camera on using a button by the lens. This extends the lens. If you want to power it down, you push the lens back in. That’s it. 

Quite honestly, this has always been a wonderful part of Fujifilm’s Instax cameras. But at the same time, I wish that they paired them with real neck-straps. I’m always afraid that someone will drop one using the chintzy little wrist strap they give you. 

Metering

Luckily, you don’t really need to worry about metering with this camera. It’s done automatically. For the most part, too, the images are well exposed. I can’t complain about the camera in this department.

Image Quality

I’m using the contact sheet Instax film here. It’s the same film as the others when it comes to image quality. And like most Instax cameras, you can’t tell the difference in image quality apart. But the tones are nice and pleasing, and you’ll be satisfied with the photos. Again, that’s more of the film than the camera itself.

Conclusions

Likes

  • It’s nice to look at.

Dislikes

  • Fujifilm continues to do little to innovate or make their Instax Mini cameras better.

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 is essentially the same camera that we’ve gotten for years over and over again. But it’s now got new clothes, and it’s more pricey. You’re better off spending your money on other options like those from Lomography or MiNT. With Lomo, you’ll get more value. With MiNT, you’ll get more control for the money. 

If you really like the look of the Instax Mini 40, they’re available for around $100. We’re giving the camera a very generous 3 out of 5 five stars.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.