Amateur Photographer verdict

The Instax Mini 99 is easily the most capable Instax instant camera yet – with many fun features for photographers looking to take their instant photos to the next level.
  • Elegant look
  • Manual controls
  • Good closeup and action capabilities
  • On the pricier side
  • No selfie mirror

The Instax Mini 99 looks and feels different to other Instax instant cameras. Gone are the camera’s quirky pastels and simple controls… The Mini 99 instead sports a host of  manual controls and a new look reminiscent of Fujifilm’s X-range, including the new Fujifilm X100IV.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 at a glance

  • Redesigned body with classic black finish
  • Compatible with Instax Mini instant film
  • Price $199.95 / £174.99

Camera body and design

The Instax Mini 99’s new look caters to photographers looking for a more classical look in their instant camera of choice. It comes in one colour option: black. While its overall shape is still very much that of an Instax instant camera, a more stylized Instax logo and the top of the camera in particular, are new. While it’s around the same size as the Fujifilm Instax Mini 12, it has slightly rounded square corners instead of rounded corners.

Instax Mini 99 front view. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

There are two dials on the top of the camera, used to control exposure and select one of six colour effects. The colour effects are powered by colour changing LEDs inside the camera, which include Light Leak (LL), Warm Tone (WT) and Light Blue (LB). The exposure control dial includes a few options such as L+ for the brightest exposure and D- for the darkest exposure.

It has dual shutter buttons, one on top of the camera meant for landscape shots located inside the exposure control dial and the other on the front of the camera meant for portraits, right under the viewfinder and in-camera flash.

The Instax Mini 99’s colour effects and exposure control dials. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

On one side is the slit through which the camera prints photos. There is a tripod mount on the other side, into which you can screw the Base Grip accessory that comes in the box.

When turned to the left, the lens can be used to turn on the camera as well as select one of three settings (3m to infinity, 0.6-3m and 0.3-0.6m). The Instax Mini 99’s lens lacks a selfie mirror but has a Manual Vignette Switch instead.

At the back sits a small LCD screen and buttons that can be used to select shooting modes, the self-timer and flash settings. The Instax Mini 99 is powered by an removable rechargeable battery, which along with a charger and USB-C cable, are provided when you buy the camera.

Instax Mini 99 seen from the back. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

The shooting experience

The Mini 99 has a 60mm lens with a f/12.7 aperture.  It has the following modes: Auto Mode, Indoor Mode, Sports Mode, Double Exposure Mode, Bulb Exposure Mode. It has several different flash modes too: fill-in flash, red-eye removal, automatic flash or flash off.

The Mini 99 also has a self-timer of approximately 10 seconds, which along with the tripod mount, will prove very useful to those looking to take self-portraits with it.

I took the Mini 99 with me to an Analogue Wonderland / SheHearts film International Women’s Day photowalk in London and really enjoyed playing around with the Double Exposure Mode in particular.

Portraits with the Instax Mini 99 at Analogue Wonderland / She Hearts film International Women’s Day photowalk. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

To my surprise, I managed to capture two young boys rollerskating towards me when using the Sports Mode. Both subjects are frozen in action.

When trying out other Instax cameras, such as the Instax Mini 12, I’ve rarely gotten detailed closeups but the Mini 99 captured some flowers with my lens set at 0.6-3m and the result had a level of detail I didn’t expect from this camera. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s an improvement, all while retaining the Instax film look we all know and love.

The Instax Mini 99 has good action and closeup photography capabilities. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

It did take me a while to get acquainted with the camera, and I mistakenly snapped a few photos with the D- setting thinking it was for dark settings when it actually darkens an image. But hey, it’s part of the fun, right? That said, I found it helpful to keep notes of what settings I was using.

The exposure control worked well along with the flash, and it helped add some much-needed brightness to a photo taken in a London Underground station. With the flash on but the exposure set low, a photo of a cherry blossom tree taken at night got contrast while the flowers remained visible.

Low light and night photos with the Instax Mini 99. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Bulb Exposure Mode

The Bulb Exposure Mode was one of the ones I was most excited to be using. When selected, this mode keeps the shutter open for up to 10 seconds., though it’s worth noting you do need to keep pressing the shutter button.

While I got a few decent photos with the camera hand held and putting the camera down on a stable surface works too (though be careful if you are shooting in portrait orientation as the camera is way less stable than when you’re shooting in landscape orientation), getting a tripod is a good idea if you plan on doing long exposures regularly. This mode is one that will probably require more experimentation and trial and error to get right, and it is worth playing around with the camera’s exposure control dial and how long you press the shutter for.

Photos of a carnival taken with the Instax Mini 99’s Bulb Mode. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

When trying out this mode, I set my exposure control dial set to the dot in the middle. My photos taken earlier in the evening when the sun was still out or on brightly lit streets where a bus and several cars zoomed past right in front of me had quite a lot of overexposure that gets in the way of seeing the light trails in the photo properly. In darker settings where the light sources (a carnival) were farther away, my photos had more contrast and you can see the light trails are much clearer and easier to see, even if the image is a little blurry.

I mistakenly pressed the shutter button once, and not pressing the shutter button for the full 10 seconds did yield darker images with cleaner (if shorter) light trails.

When testing, this mode required a lot of experimentation and trial and error. You might just need a tripod to get it right. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Value for money

The Mini 99, priced at $199.95 / £174.99, shares the title of most expensive Fujifilm Instax instant camera with the Fujifilm Mini Evo. While it does not give you the choice of what photos to print, it similarly delivers a ton of colour effects and modes. When choosing between the two, it will most likely depend on what you want out of your camera.

Another recent instant camera with manual controls is the Polaroid I-2, which is priced at $599.99 / £599.99. While the Instax Mini 99 shares some features with the Polaroid I-2, the Mini 99 is a much more simplified version that still manages to give you a lot for your money.

Photos taken with the Instax Mini 99’s colour effects. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

At less than $200 / £200, the Mini 99 is the more affordable option. Instax film is also generally cheaper and allows you 10 shots per pack, while Polaroid film allows you 8 shots per pack.

With the Mini 99, it’s worth noting that you don’t need to buy batteries and your only additional cost will likely be the film. However, you might also want to buy a tripod if you plan on using the camera’s Bulb Mode regularly.


As is the norm with Instax cameras, this camera is very fun to use. You may always use it on Automatic Mode but there is quite a lot to choose from if you’re looking to give your photos a particular look.

Photos of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Crystal Palace transmitting station taken with the Instax Mini 99. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti.

Its stylish redesigned exterior will appeal to those who don’t love the colourful look of other Instax cameras as well as those looking for a camera that will go with everything.

While I won’t be abandoning my point-and-shoots any time soon, as someone looking to step-up her film photography with a film SLR, the Mini 99 makes a compelling option, and might just be the most capable Instax instant camera.

Amateur Photographer Recommended 4.5 stars

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