I’ve had my Instax Mini 8 for six years now, since my first year in university, and used it first to document my everyday life and recently for more ‘serious photography’. When Fujifilm released its latest Instax model, the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12, I was curious to see how it had upgraded the camera, especially as the Mini 12 only has two modes compared to the Mini 8’s five modes. The latest model boasts automatic exposure and flash control, and a handy selfie mirror.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 at a glance:

  • Choice of five colours: Lilac Purple, Blossom Pink, Clay White, Mint Green, and Pastel Blue
  • Compatible with Instax Mini film
  • 86mm x 54 mm print size
  • https://instax.co.uk/cameras/mini-12/


INSTAX UP! App screenshot

The process for scanning your prints, in brief. Credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

When this camera was announced, an accompanying app, the INSTAX UP! App, was released too. It can be used to scan, store, edit and organise your instant photos (mini, square, and wide). You can also share your images directly to social media

I was quite happy with the results from copying my prints using the app. It was like having OneDrive (which I used to scan things previously) and Adobe Lightroom in one app. In some cases, further tweaking was necessary, as the app does not always detect the edges of a print accurately (which can be time-consuming when you’re scanning 20 prints in one go, as I was). Also my phone (an iPhone 8 Plus) got hot and went from 40% to 14% in around twenty minutes.

INSTAX UP! App screenshot

You can export your scanned prints directly to social media. Credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 key features:

  • Standard mode: The standard shooting mode employs automatic exposure and flash control
  • Close-up mode: This enables shooting in a range from 0.3m to 0.5m
  • Built-in selfie mirror: A small mirror is located just to the side of the lens
  • Smaller re-designed body: There’s no separate ON button, just twist the lens ring to turn it on

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12: Camera body and design

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 with Instax Mini 8

Photo credit: Isabella Ruffatti

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 is smaller and lighter than the Instax Mini 8, something that I did not notice until I put it into a camera bag I bought for the Mini 8, and it looked like me in ill-fitting jeans.

The design is also boxier – and relatively slippery. As someone who’s ever anxious about dropping my camera (which has only ever happened once or twice, but that’s anxiety for you), this took some getting used to.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12: The shooting experience

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 with Instax Mini 8

Photo credit: Isabella Ruffatti

Despite the upgrades, the shooting experience with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 felt largely the same (like a random, but fun, science experiment).

I did find that the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 was easier to shoot with and did not feel the loss of the many modes of the Mini 8, which gives you the option to select a different mode depending on the lighting conditions around you. This is a good idea in theory, but in practice, I saw very little difference in my results, and I found myself manually using flash for almost every photo. The Mini 12’s results were still fairly random, but I expected this given the minimal settings available.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12: The final product

Instax mini 12 review

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 is particularly good for shooting portraits, selfies and travel snapshots taken from afar. Photo credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

All the images I took using the Close-up mode came out blurry, though to be fair I may have been too close. I still would not say that the camera lends itself to close-ups, as on one occasion I tried shooting my Sylvanian families figurines and they came out looking as though they were in a negative (and the Psycho soundtrack rang in my ears). That said, this camera really shines in taking selfies and portraits and took some nice travel snapshots from afar too.

Overexposed Sylvanian families instax mini 12

Instax Mini 12 vs iPhone 8 Plus. Photo credit: Isabella Ruffatti.

Fujifilm Instax 12 Mini: Verdict

Joy seems to be at the very heart of Instax cameras and the Fujifilm Instax mini 12 definitely delivers this. If I’m being nitpicky, as week by week this camera has grown on me, I prefer the older camera’s design and I still have to fully figure out the close-up mode. But overall, less is best in this case.

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