Opinion: The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 isn’t a “proper” camera – but I like it anyway
When it comes to the best cameras for photography you can buy, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 will never be on the shortlist. Released in 2021, it’s clunky point and shoot with a striking charm – the kind of instant camera that’s great for a party room or wedding reception, but you’d never use to take photos during a professional shoot.
I consider myself (others may disagree) to be a fairly advanced photographer, and during my tenure as editor of Digital Photographer magazine, I tried and tested every brand of camera. Yes, I’m enthusiastic about new technologies, and I’m not one of those people who automatically likes a camera because it looks “retro”.
When I was given the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 as a one year old gift, I was skeptical. Surely the donor didn’t know me at all? Wasn’t I above such a simple device? And then I started to take the (very big) camera out with me. I thought I might as well use the movie that came with it – so once I shoot a few vintage scenes, I’ll probably leave it looking retro on a shelf and gathering dust.
What I didn’t expect was how much I would like the easy shooting process. I had been using professional DSLRs for so long, going with the Instax Mini 40 was a breath of fresh air. Without hundreds of mode dials, complicated menu screens, or different lenses to choose from, I could just walk around town and have fun!
Arguably, most of the best instant cameras offer users such simplicity, and as Jon Stapley agrees in our Instax Mini 40 review, “The Instax Mini 40 looks cool. is easy, carefree and fun.”
So why do I like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40? Because it reminded me why I fell in love with photography in the first place. It allows me to wander aimlessly around a city, I don’t care if it’s left on the table at parties, or if it’s protected when I throw it in a tote bag.
The lack of features is absolutely appealing. Much like some people who get a dumbphone when they want to get away from the world, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 isn’t trying to be smarter than it is, or the bigger camera, the best and lightest. It offers lo-fi charm and impressions that take 90 seconds of delayed gratification.
Do I like the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40? Yes. Would I use it as my main camera? Absolutely not. But there are different cameras for different days, and we all need to loosen up our snobbish attitudes towards camera technology from time to time. Don’t get me started on the cost of the film…
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