Instax Mini 40: A nostalgic nod to time before digital cameras

Review: Simple model with an automatic flash and exposure control

Fujifilm Instax Mini 40
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Price: €100
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Fujifilm Instax Mini 40 €100

“Do your best pose.” My six-year-old has taken over as head photographer in our house, and now demands we perform for the camera at random moments during the day.

She is wielding an Fujifilm Instax Mini 40, the latest addition to the company’s line-up of instant cameras. And she finds it fascinating in a way that I never anticipated.

There is something very simple about the Instax Mini 40. There is no hybrid system, no digital screen. You just point and shoot – and hope for the best.

It’s a nostalgic nod to a time before digital cameras and 165 images of the same event uploaded to Facebook before anyone has even left the building. The Instax Mini 40 even looks the retro part, with a textured leather-look case and a pop-out lens.

It has an automatic flash and exposure control, with a selfie mode so you can still take shots of yourself in all the interesting places we can now go, thanks to the easing of restrictions. And best of all, none of them can end up on social media, accidentally or otherwise.

Our house is now littered with bleary photographs of me, taken at 7am complete with “morning hair”, bleary-eyed and harrassed by the mini-dictator demanding I dance to her tune. There are also a fair few of an ear, or the dinosaur pattern on pyjamas, because my four-year-old hasn’t quite figured out that when you push the button, there are no do-overs.

Still, their excitement when the photograph pops out the top is infectious. And although instant gratification is a fairly heavy feature of their lives – at least when it comes to taking photos and videos – they find the process of waiting for the photograph to develop fascinating.

They’ve even embraced the selfie mode, although popping the selfie mode lens out of the camera takes a bit more effort than they could manage. In the interests of making sure the camera stayed in one piece, I took over that particular jobs. The Instax Mini 40 is quite sturdy though, and stood up to quite a bit of bashing about with no ill effects.

One thing to note though is the camera uses film cartridges, the mini format rather than the square. If you are concerned about unnecessary waste, this may turn you off.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist