Fujifilm has announced the latest instant camera in its Instax Mini series: the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12. The Instax Mini 12 is a new iteration of the Instax Mini 11 – our current top pick for instant cameras – and will be available around mid-March for $79. 95 .
Other than a few minor feature and design updates, the Instax Mini 11 and Instax Mini 12 look identical. However, the lens structure is the most noticeable change. For example, you can now rotate the lens to enter close-up mode instead of pressing a button, just like you would with traditional point-and-shoot. I’ve only just started testing the camera, but based on my first impression, it makes zooming in just that little bit more fun and intuitive.
You can also now turn the instant camera on and off by simply rotating the lens to clearly labeled “on” and “off” settings. Previously you had to click a button on the side to turn the camera on and unfold the lens, then push back to turn the camera off. That’s not exactly intuitive, and I imagine, coupled with the lack of clear “on” and “off” labels, it may have made it a bit more difficult for kids to use the Instax Mini 11.
While I like that it’s now more intuitive to turn the camera off, I prefer using the Instax Mini 11’s button to turn it on. That’s because the Close-Up mode is close to the “on” and “off” settings. This makes it easy to accidentally turn off the Instax Mini 12, which is what I did when I tried to put the lens in close-up mode. However, things may improve after I’ve tested the camera more and adapted to the change.
Fujifilm has also made some changes to the flash that are worth noting. While you still unfortunately can’t disable the flash, Fujifilm says the new automatic flash control should better optimize image quality in high-light and low-light environments. I’ll have to test further to see if that claim is true, but I hope so, as that was one of my main issues with its otherwise excellent predecessor.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the Instax Mini 12 has some design changes. Most notably, the body is more rectangular than square, but with the same rounded edges as its predecessor. It also lacks the curved side of the Instax Mini 11 and is less wide, making it easier to hold while taking photos. Additionally, Fujifilm has replaced the black colorway with a new and fun mint green hue that might appeal more to the younger crowd.
In addition to the Instax Mini 12, Fujifilm has announced the launch of a new free downloadable INSTAX UP! smartphone app to be released soon. Users can digitally scan, import, organize and store their photos in the app, regardless of which Instax print or camera they own, meaning Instax Mini 12 users can use it too.
I’ll be updating our instant camera guide shortly after I finish testing the Instax Mini 12 and will add my thoughts on how it compares to rivals from Polaroid and Kodak, so stay tuned.