Hero Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 review

I love Fujifilm’s Instax instant cameras—but I don’t always want to carry around their bubbly, retro designs. Fujfilm provides the same Instax Mini quality you’re used to in their vintage Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 line. Each vintage-look Mini model features a classic twist to its camera body design, with bright silver details and pebbled vegan leather.

What’s in the box of the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40?

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera with Instant Film kit reviewed here comes with—you guessed it—film! This makes it a little different than other Instax cameras, for which you usually have to buy your film separately.

The film itself is different, too. Fujifilm’s usual sheets of film has a plain, white border. These have a matte, black border with orange lettering instead, and that lettering numbers your prints in reverse order. (You can see that my selfies are marked #28 and #29 in these photos. The tripod shot, which I took first, is #30, and Fern, rolling around on the sidewalk, was #27 the next day.)

Along with one ten-sheet pack of film, the Mini 40 comes with the camera body itself, a wrist strap, and two AA batteries. I think that makes this set the perfect gift—with the included film and batteries, it’s ready to go right away. There’s no charging time or remembering to stop for supplies. Your recipient can simply open the box and start snapping photos!

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 selfie mode
Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 with selfie mode off (left) and on (right)

What is the Mini 40’s special selfie mode? 

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 was announced in April 2021. I talked about how the Mini 40 is essentially just a Mini 11 with unique styling in that announcement, which gives you a great idea of how the camera will perform.

The Mini 40 features simple controls, automatic adjustments, and a unique selfie mode with built-in mirror. (If you’re a Fujifilm fan, you’ll recognize this selfie mode from the Fujifilm Instax Mini 11‘s launch, which I reviewed at that link in 2020.) The Mini 40 has a retractible lens that helps you enter selfie mode, which you can see both popped out and pushed in throughout this review.

This camera is in standard mode when it turns on, with the extra 1/2 cm at the front pushed in. It focuses at 0.6 metres and beyond in its regular setting, giving you an infinite focus range that creates more engaging images. All you need to do to switch to selfie mode is to pop out the front extension of the lens. This elongates the lens and gives you a selfie focus range from 0.3 to 0.5 metres.

In selfie mode, newer models of Instax cameras like this one offer slightly different flash compensation, which is designed to help you get a steadier, more evenly-exposed shot.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 review and samples

What are the Mini 40’s other key features?

In addition to their exciting updates to their selfie mode, Fujifilm includes a built-in auto shutter, auto brighter, and auto exposure in their Mini 40 Instant Camera model. These features work with the camera’s high-performance flash to give you the most balanced photos possible—which is something that I noticed a big difference in when comparing the Mini 40 to cameras like the Instax Mini 9 (and earlier).

With the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40, my photos seem steadier and better-balanced without losing any of that unique Fujifilm creaminess. They’re still moody and impactful; just a little easier to see! The 40’s automatic, electronic shutter works from 1/2 sec to 1/250 sec, which makes it perfect for brightening dark backgrounds with the camera’s powerful flash.

Each sheet of Fujifilm Instax film takes about 90 seconds to develop, and (I cannot emphasize this enough) does not have to be shaken! I promise: you can just set down your prints and they will develop just as well and just as quickly. I promise!

The recycle time of the Instax 40 is about 6.5 seconds, or less with brand new batteries.

Fujifilm Instax Mini film

My experience with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40

No matter how many cameras or instant cameras I try, the Instax Mini line always feels special to me. I love the creamy effect that you get with analog photo processing. I love the punchy, impactful contrast in each frame.

While I do very little with my instant photos, I can’t stop myself from taking more. I don’t have a cool laundry line dotted with pictures from all of my favourite parties, nor a pinboard with moody snaps of architecture. What I have, instead, is a little stack of photos that I keep on my bookshelf. Tiny little 5.3 by 8.4 cm prints. They’re scattered across my workspace and tucked away in my favourite purses.

(In my everyday purse, I have an Instax of one of my best friends and I, from one of the first times we spent time together. It’s been there for years, but—despite being tossed in with everything from my iPhone to my keyring—still looks like it’s a fresh print.)

The Instax Mini 40 is a joy to use, with sleek, chic lines and responsive buttons.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 review

How the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 compares to other Instax models

One of the things that makes me like Fujifilm’s Instax line so much is how simple each camera body is. Over the years, they’ve launched many more complicated models; cameras with different white balance settings and full back screens and sticker placement options. But in the Mini’s most recent incarnations, the Mini 11 and the Mini 40, you just get wonderful, sleek simplicity.

Turning this camera on and taking a photo takes mere seconds. I like the soft-touch shutter button and the automatic flash, and Fujifilm’s selfie mirror (just a convex piece of reflective plastic) always impresses me with its sheer simplicity.

One thing that I noticed is that the Mini 40, like the Mini 11, works best in darker settings. I filmed this review on an extremely bright day (right before Edmonton entered a record-breaking heatwave) and found that my photos were a little blown out. In darker environments, however, the quality improvements between the Mini 40 and older Instax Mini models are significant. Their automatic exposure performs well, especially with a dark background.

That makes the Mini 40 ideal for things like friendly get-togethers and escape room victories. It’s perfect for events you’ll be attending at night. The camera’s classic silhouette and vegan leather design feel great to hold, and provide a stylish accent for any outfit.

While the Mini 11 line is punchy and bubbly, the 40 has a vintage look—and I love the way it matches the feeling of Fujifilm’s beautiful, vintage-y photos.

Shop online for the Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 Instant Camera at Best Buy today.

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