The Instax Mini 40 is a stylish number — think of it as a functional fashion accessory. It’s got classic retro vibes, and looks a lot less like a toy compared to the very popular Mini 11 and its predecessors. This is a camera very much aimed at people who want to be photographed while taking photos.
The whole point of point-and-shoot cameras like the Instax range is that they’re easy to use. Because if you’re really living your life, you don’t want to have to make a million setting adjustments on a camera just to take a quick happy snap.
You could say that the Instax Mini 40 is so simple to use that it’s child’s play. And with that in mind, I turned to my young nieces and very enthusiastic photographers, Maisy (5) and Phoebe (2), to help me test drive this new model. Kids are always blown away by instant cameras – to them photos just exist on-screen. But I grew up with a love of photography (so much so that I studied it at uni) and instant cameras just bring it all back for me. Plus they’re a great way of sharing the joy.
Look, I may be biased, but I think my nieces are pretty good photographers.
Cameras like the Instax Mini 40 work best outside in daylight. Inside, you just don’t get the same crispness in photos. The flash doesn’t allow for much wiggle room. But that’s not just an Instax Mini 40 problem – I have the same issue with the Mini 11, and pretty much any fixed-focus camera with flash.
The selfie mode on the Instax Mini 40 is a great feature, especially with the tiny mirror that helps you guide your framing. While you can also use the selfie mode to take close-ups of things like food (hello Instagrammers), you do have to keep in mind that the viewfinder on the back of the camera is slightly to the right of the actual lens, so you need to factor that in with framing.
Personally, I find that the cost of the Instax film really gets you to slow down a bit and think about what you’re photographing, rather than firing off dozens of shots of the same thing on your phone until you get the perfect frame. Although, I have taken to buying the Instax film in bulk, mainly because my nieces don’t want to give back the camera. This is Maisy’s portrait of me, by the way.
Phoebe, on the other hand, really knows how to nail a savage candid shot.