Fujifilm Instax mini 99 review: Instant fun!

A new and exciting analog instant camera for creative photographers

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 on a marble pink surface
(Image: © Future | Ben Brain)

TechRadar Verdict

The Fujifilm Instax mini 99 is an impressive addition to the Instax family. Its considered, ‘grown-up’ design and solid build are perfect for creative camera adventures. The camera's intuitive controls make it easy for beginners to capture moments with artistic flair, while more seasoned photographers will appreciate its manual shooting options for creative experimentation. The extra controls, effects and features come at a price and the Instax mini 99 is not at the budget end of the Instax lineup, factor this along with the cost of shooting film on an analog only Instax camera and you’ll need to budget accordingly.


  • +

    Excellent range of creative effects

  • +

    Easy to use

  • +

    Good looking and well-built


  • -

    The battery cannot be charged through the camera

  • -

    Parallax compensation takes a bit of getting used to

  • -

    Film cost

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Fujifilm Instax mini 99: One-minute review

The Instax mini 99 is the latest addition to the ever-growing and evolving Fujifilm Instax family. It's a delightful addition to the range, too, and likely to seduce photographers beyond the ‘typical’ Instax crowd, along with anyone with a keen interest in instant photography. Its design, vibe and feature set feel inherently more ‘photographic’ and less ‘toy-like’ than some other Instax cameras. 

Not only does it look more serious than its brightly colored cousins, but its range of extra controls and funky effects add to the creative possibilities. You have the option to tweak exposure using the Brightness dial, along with a modest selection of shooting modes such as Sports Mode, Bulb Mode (for long exposures) and even Double Exposure, and the Instax mini 99 really comes into its own with a palette of cool color effects, adding funky hues to your prints by exposing the Fujifilm Instax mini Film to LED lights in the camera.

Fujifilm Instax mini 99 held up to the eye

(Image credit: Future | Ben Brain)

However, while initially seduced, I can't see a compelling reason why I wouldn't plump for a digital hybrid instant camera, such as the slightly more expensive Fujifilm Instax mini Evo, or even the comparatively priced Fujifilm Instax LiPlay. While the Instax 99 might tick the analog box for ‘purists, it’s the tangible-ness of the print that entices me to the Instax cameras, and not necessarily how I got there. The digital hybrids allow for a little less guesswork and, as such, are a more economical option in the long run.

Fujifilm Instax mini 99: design

  • Classic retro look
  • Lens with a macro mode but no selfie mirror
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery

The overall design, aesthetics and ergonomics of the Instax mini 99 are lovely. It feels slick and stylish, and it will appeal to ‘photography’ folk more than some of the youth-oriented lollipop color palettes of other instant cameras in the Instax family. It's solid but not too heavy, and it feels well made and balanced in the hand.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 price and release date

The Fujifilm Instax mini 99 is available now and costs $199.95 / £174.99 / AU$279.

You switch on the Instax mini 99 by twisting the lens, and the camera’s three shooting modes – Landscape, Standard, and Macro Focus – are also accessible by twisting the lens. Landscape Mode focuses on subjects positioned at a distance of 3.0m to infinity; Macro Mode is perfect for close-ups and selfies taken at between 0.3m to 0.6m, and Standard Mode covers everything in between. Once the camera was on, I repeatedly forgot to change the lens settings; fortunately, defaulting to Standard seemed to cover most subjects well enough.

The Fujifilm Instax mini 99 is powered by a 680mAh lithium-ion battery, unlike some other Instax models, which use AA batteries. Annoyingly, though, the battery can't be charged through the camera, and you’ll need to remember to take the small charger and USB-C cable with you. This isn't necessarily a hassle, but it is yet another charging accessory to potentially forget, and you’ll be in a real pickle without it.

Fujifilm Instax mini 99 on a marble pink surface

(Image credit: Future | Ben Brain)

While I’m no stranger to being aware of and dealing with parallax, it seemed harder to calibrate my eye/brain with the Instax mini 99. I guess with more time this would become less of an issue, but the difference of view between the lens and viewfinder seemed especially displaced. The viewfinder, too, felt strangely awkward to look through at first.

The Instax mini 99 is not aimed as directly at the ‘selfie’ audience as other members of Fujfilm Instax family, such as the brightly colored Instax Mini 12; that said, it wouldn’t have been a stretch for Fujifilm to have included a front-facing mirror to help users compose and pose for some more accurate naval-gazing. 

Fujifilm Instax mini 99: Performance

  • Manual control over brightness
  • Fun shooting modes including multiple exposure and color effects
  • Handy Instax UP! app to digitize your prints

Unlike other cameras in the Instax range, the Fujfilm Instax mini 99 gives you considerably more control over image brightness, which is great. The Brightness Control dial, which looks and feels like a typical exposure compensation dial (it’s even in the ‘right’ place on the top plate), offers five levels of dark and lightness: the Light (L+) setting selects the brightest exposure; the L, D, and N settings offer a normal range of brightness; and the Dark (D-) setting represents the darkest available brightness level. However, you’ve got to wait 90-odd seconds to see and to assess exposure, which can be frustrating. However, this is really just part of the slow, mindful, creative experience, which is fundamentally a good, albeit a relatively expensive, thing. Generally, in ‘normal’ conditions, I found ‘underexposing’ by one value to work best.

Fujifilm Instax mini 99: specs

Film type: Fujifilm Instax mini film
Print size: 62 x 46mm
Lens: Retractable lens, 2 components, 2 elements, f = 60mm, 1:12.7
Shooting range: Manual 3-point switching type (0.3m to 0.6m/0.6m to 3.0m/3.0m to ∞) Shooting range: 0.3m to ∞
Battery: NP-70S, charged through USB-C
Dimensions: 103.5 x 117.5 x 60.0mm
Weight: 340g

The Instax mini 99 comes into its own with some fun and funky shooting modes, with a wide variety of options to enhance the shooting experience. Indoor Mode is designed for low-light situations, Sports Mode increases the shutter speed for action shots, Double Exposure Mode lets the user combine two images into one, and Bulb Mode increases the amount of light let in when shooting a night view, for example. I gravitated to Multiple Exposure as the most potential fun, but I ran out of Instax mini color film before I’d nailed the technique.

When you want to really flex your creative muscles, the Instax mini 99 features a cool creative palette of fun and funky color effects, which are accessed via the Effects dial on the top plate. You can select from one of six snazzy looks: Faded Green, Warm Tone, Light Blue, Soft Magenta, Sepia, and Light Leak. Light Leak was my favorite. 

Unlike the Instax mini 99’s hybrid digital cousins, the effects are cleverly driven by LED lights inside the camera; the Colour Effect feature exposes the chosen color onto the Instax mini instant film, creating the desired effect on the print. It's pretty clever, and very cool. The effects are marginally cooler than similar ‘emulated’ effects on some of the Instax digital hybrid cameras; it's only a small margin, but you will bag more analogue kudos points.

The Vignette switch is an interesting new function. Located on the lens housing, it can darken the corners and edges of the frame for artistic purposes. It’s a nice touch.

A range of the same Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 instant print of a tree silhouette on crest of a hill with variety of creative color effects applied

(Image credit: Future | Ben Brain)

Making instant prints will always be more expensive, period. That said, Instax mini prints do offer the best value for money. A twin-pack of Instax mini color film, each containing 10 exposures, costs $20.99 / £14.99 / AU$28, and in this digital day and age it’s making an actual physical print that makes Instax such a delight. However, if you want to digitize your instant photo print, you can scan and share on social media platforms using (another) new app released by Fujifilm called INSTAX UP! The smartphone app most usefully allows you to scan your work, crop to the corners, and even remove reflections. It also has a bunch of album features, enabling users to organize, store, and share their digital Instax photos. I found the scanning feature the most useful.

Should I buy the Fujifilm Instax mini 99?

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 camera

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You love print!  
There’s nothing like making a real, tangible print, especially at the point of capture.

You have a creative spirit
The pallet of cool color effects cleverly controlled by in-camera LED lights was a delight to use, along with the rich variety of shooting modes and exposure controls.

You dig the old-school analog vibe
There is something beautifully satisfying about working with a purely analog camera in the digital era; even the funky color effects were analog in origin.

Don't buy it if...

You can’t afford it
While Instax mini film is the most economical on the market, the cost of film will still add up. Quickly.

You like complete control
If you like to be in complete control of your image-making you may find the happenstance nature of instant photography frustrating.

Sharing online is a faff
Unlike its hybrid counterparts, to share images shot with the Instax mini 99 online, you’ll need to scan your Instax prints using the new INSTAX UP! app to get a digital copy.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 camera

(Image credit: Future)

How I tested the Fujifilm Instax mini 99

  • I used two packs of Instax Mini film
  • I tried all the creative color effects
  • I experimented with the Shooting Modes

Using the Fujifilm Instax camera for a week with two packs (20 shots) of Instax mini film, I carried the camera with me on several walks in and around my local area - South-West UK. Unlike its digital hybrid cousins, such as the Instax Evo, I had to be more considerate, mindful, and measured in my shooting, as every click of the shutter cost money. This slightly discouraged the spirit of experimentation, and every action was tinged with economic anxiety. Just like life! That said, working on location and waiting 90 seconds to see results was also a refreshing and exhilarating way to work in the field. It encouraged a slow and considerate approach to photography, which I think is good.

First reviewed May 2024

Ben Brain

Benedict Brain is a UK-based photographer, award-winning journalist and author. He balances his personal practice with writing about photography and running photography workshops and enrichment programmes. He writes a monthly column called The Art of Seeing, and his first book, You Will Be Able To Take Great Photos By The End of This Book, was published in 2023 by Ilex Press in the UK and by Prestel in the USA with translations in Spanish, Bulgarian and German; his second book, A Camera Bag Companion, was published in March 2024. Benedict is often seen on the panels of prestigious photo competitions, and in 2020, he founded Potato Photographer of the Year. Benedict exhibits his work internationally, and travels the world as a public speaker, talking about the art and craft of photography.