!Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 review 4

For instant photography enthusiasts, there’s nothing like the shutter release and film roll sound of an Instax Mini. With every “pop! Rrrr” you hear, you know you’re about to see something interesting develop. While every model of Instax is universally beloved, there’s something special about the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 instant camera—something that makes it just a little better suited for longtime photography enthusiasts who are looking for a fun, affordable way to really hone their skills.

Keep reading to find out just what that magic detail is.

What’s in the box of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 instant camera?

In the box of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12, you’ll find the camera itself, two AA batteries, an instruction manual, and a colour-coordinated wrist strap. This camera has a built-in lens cap when in the “off” position. Film, which comes in packs of 10 sheets, is sold separately, and the camera you see in this post is the brand’s Lilac Purple colourway.

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Why use an instant camera?

Instant cameras are perfect for capturing moments as they happen. They’re a great choice for a lot of reasons: They keep you in the moment, create physical keepsakes, and simplify the photo-taking process. The number one thing that I think makes them really special, however, is the fact that you only get one chance at each shot.

When you’re using a smartphone or digital camera, you’re free to take as many photos as you’d like to get each shot just right. Your capture count is unlimited, so each shot is low-risk and most of the photos you take have very little meaning. This style is handy, and it feels comforting—even I love how easy it is to snap a quick pic on a smartphone! But when you’re shooting with an instant camera, each slide of film is precious. You have to think out each capture, just like you would on an old film camera. Then, when the moment is right, you strike!

So, while instant cameras are very popular as gifts for kids and teens, I think they have a lot of value for photography enthusiasts, too. Not only do they create a unique effect but they help train your eye to find a great photo every time.

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Fujifilm Mini 12 instant camera features

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 is available in pastel blue, mint green, blossom pink, lilac purple, and clay white. It produces 2.4″ x 1.8″ (62 mm x 46 mm) credit card-sized prints in five seconds. (Development time once the prints are ejected from the camera is 90 seconds). Use the Mini 12’s auto mode or close-up mode to get the perfect shot in any lighting condition and allow the camera’s auto-flash to fill in detail where you need it.

The Mini 12 has a selfie mirror, twist control, parallax compensation, and a five minute auto-off function. It runs on two AA batteries and works with the Fujifilm Instaxup! App, where you can scan your photos to create digital duplicates.

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 on standard (left) and close-up mode (right).

How the Instax Mini 12 compares to other models

Fujifilm rolls out a new Instax Mini every year or so. I’ve reviewed a lot of Instax models so far, just for Best Buy—at last count, I’m at nine. Three of those were Instax Minis, and I own a personal Mini on top of that.

In other words, I’m pretty familiar with the Fujifilm Instax Mini line. I really like each of the products. However, right off the bat, I can tell you right away that the Mini 12 is not a huge leap from the 11, 9, 8, 7, etc.

The biggest change from the Instax Mini 11 vs the Instax Mini 12 is that this new model features parallax technology. This technology (never seen before in the Instax Mini line—you can read more about it in my announcement post for this camera) helps line up what the camera lens sees and what you see through the viewfinder.

While this is a pretty small-scale modification, I think those who are really enthusiastic about their instant photography are sure to notice the difference. The new precision is great for capturing exactly what you want, and it’ll be great for new users, too. Aside from that, the only thing I really noticed is that the lens protrudes a little more in the “off” position and the camera’s grip is now thinner. So, just be extra careful not to accidentally set off the shutter release when turning the camera around for a selfie.

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Camera shape & fashion trends

Fun fact: The Mini 12 and all other modern Minis are actually a big jump from the Mini 10, which was the original model launched in the 90s! The Mini 10 was the classic, silver precursor to today’s line of soft matte pastels. The 12 looks and feels a lot like the 11, but features a straighter grip reminiscent of the 10.

Fujifilm’s little modifications to the Mini each year seem subtle, but they’re finely-tuned to suit what’s trending each year. You’ll notice that the colour ways and silhouette change each year to reflect what people are looking for. 2023-2024 fashion trends really pull back into the comfort of the 90s and I think that’s why we’re seeing a straighter, less campy Instax Mini silhouette. Similarly, this year’s colours are really soft—think Animal Crossing, Stella McCartney, and Victoria Beckham’s sheer, pastel vibes.

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My experience with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12

Like all Fujifilm Instax Mini cameras, I really enjoy using the Mini 12. It’s a stylish, durable instant camera that takes great photos and travels well. (And really what’s not to love about that?) The inclusion of parallax technology is a small change, but I do feel like it made a difference for me.

As usual, I ran this camera through a basic set of photo tests to make sure it measures up to the rest of the Instax Mini range. It did a great job of taking photos, selfies, and macro shots, both on and off of macro mode. This camera has a powerful flash and produces the same gorgeous, vivid, creamy analog photos no matter where you use it.

I think the Mini 12 is a great little camera, especially with its parallax technology update. The colours it comes in are right up my alley and the new, squared-off shape looks great. However, I do want to note that the new, straight grip made the camera more difficult to hold in my experience. I usually tuck my fingers into the shallow grove next to the grip bump on an Instax Mini; here, I couldn’t do that.

You may find this camera a little harder to hold onto than past models depending on your hand shape, and you may find that it has a slightly touchier shutter release. By my personal preference, that means that I probably wouldn’t upgrade from a working Instax Mini 9 or Instax Mini 11 to the 12. However, if I didn’t yet have an Instax and needed a new one, that small detail would not stop me from buying one or enthusiastically recommending the 12.

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Who will enjoy the Mini 12?

This version of the Instax Mini is pretty pared down, which I really enjoy. Some past Instax models have featured functions like landscape mode and brightness control, which adds an extra step of decision-making before you take your photo. If that’s what you’re looking for in an instant camera, then the Mini 12 is not for you. But if, like me, what you enjoy about instant photography is its simplicity, then the Mini 12 is awesome.

This camera delivers the true point-and-shoot experience with instant results, so you can focus on staying in the moment and capturing the exact shot you envisioned. I can see it being a great gift for kids and teens, plus an awesome tool for older photography enthusiasts who want to develop their eye for composure.

Shop the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 Instant Camera online at Best Buy today.

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at thenotice.net, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.


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