Fujifilm is known for making fantastic film cameras, and their Instax line of instant cameras are incredibly popular. In 2020, they released 2 new instant cameras: the Instax Mini 11 and the Instax SQ1. Both cameras are stylish and capable, however, there are some key differences. We compared the Instax SQ1 vs Instax Mini 11 to help you identify which camera is right for you.
Build & Film Size
The Instax line of cameras employ colorful, sleek designs, and their latest models are no different. Both cameras are available in a range of different pastel colors, and look and feel great.
The most notable difference between the cameras is the size of film they use. The Instax SQ1 prints large, square photos, 1.5 times the size of the Mini 11’s photos. Mini 11 pictures are close in size to a business card, and will easily fit in your wallet.
The build of each camera reflects their differing photo sizes. Without batteries, a hand strap, or film, the SQ1 weighs 390g (13.8 oz), while the Mini 11 weighs 293g (10.3 oz). The SQ1’s bigger, square-shaped body has rounded edges and a textured grip. It’s comparably sized to its predecessor, the Instax SQ6. Conversely, the Mini 11 is noticeably slimmer than the Mini 9, its previous model. Check out our previous post about the Mini 11 vs the Mini 9 for more details on how they compare.
Like the SQ6, the SQ1 uses 2 CR2 lithium batteries that offer an impressive 300-shot life. The Mini 11 has a 100-shot battery life, and uses 2 AA batteries. Other than the shutter, there are no buttons on the back or top of either camera. The minimalist interface reflects the simple capabilities of both cameras.
Functionality & Performance
If you’re looking to buy your first instant camera, either model is a great choice. Both offer simple, user-friendly features that make them perfect for beginners. Unlike the SQ6 and Mini 9, neither of the new cameras offer manual exposure control. Both the SQ1 and Mini 11 automatically adjust the shutter speed for every exposure. The return to simplicity is liberating, allowing you to focus on framing and having fun.
Like most Instax models, there’s a small “selfie mirror” on the front of each camera. Both models also offer Selfie Mode. That is, you can narrow the focal length, which makes for better selfies or close-up photographs.
Disappointingly, the focus on simplicity means neither camera offers a self-timer mode, nor any other additional functions. This is more surprising for the SQ1, given the SQ6 had a variety of additional features including multiple different shooting modes. The removal of these bells and whistles means the key difference between the SQ1 and the Mini 11 is the size of their bodies and photos.
Nobody buys an instant camera for outstanding image quality, yet both cameras perform well. The SQ1 and Mini 11 deliver detailed imagery with nice color and contrast. The automatic exposure on both cameras does a great job; just keep in mind that the flash fires with every shot. You can also now get Square format Instax monochrome film, which was previously only available for Instax Mini and Instax Wide formats.
The Instax SQ1 is currently available for $99.99, discounted from $149.99 until early January. Meanwhile, you can get the Instax Mini 11 with a pack of film and other accessories for $89.95.
Which Camera Should I Buy?
With the release of the SQ1, Fujifilm has made it very easy for you to decide between their Square and Mini instant cameras. Comparing the Instax SQ1 vs Instax Mini 11, there is no clear winner. Instead, it comes down to your personal preference for photo size.
The Instax Mini 11 has a smaller body, shorter battery life, and produces photos that fit in your wallet. The Instax SQ1 has a bigger body, bigger photos, and a longer battery life. Both cameras are simple and fun to use. Whichever model you choose, you’ll have no trouble smiling when the flash goes off.