In the age of Instagram and Facebook, the definition of photography has certainly changed. For instance, Facebook has emerged as the largest platform for sharing photographs on the web. Likewise, iPhone is the world’s most popular camera. I don’t know how many people even use an instant film camera these days, but I bet the answer is a “very few”. The market might be small, but the hobbyists sure take this stream of photography seriously. This is why Fujifilm’s Instax series of cameras are still popular in the market.
The latest Instax Square SQ10 is a hybrid instant camera that combines digital imaging capabilities and has got the ability to print photos instantly. It’s an eye catching camera, and everyone noticed it during my visit to the magnificent Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. So what’s it like to actually use the Instax Square SQ10 ? Is it different from a digital camera? Here’s my verdict of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 specifications: 3.6MP 1/4-in CMOS sensor|3-inch LCD| 28.5mm Fixed lens|F2.4 aperture|Auto ISO (100-1600)|Shooting modes: Standard, double exposure, bulb mode|microSD card slot|Micro-USB charging| Weighs 450 grams|
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 price: Rs 22,999
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Design and Display review
The Instax Square SQ10 doesn’t look too different from the company’s past offerings. Even though the company has made sure that the the camera does look sophisticated, the fact remains that the Instax Square SQ10 still offers the toy-like exterior. The camera has a square-shaped plastic body with rounded corners and curved edges. Although there is nothing wrong with the build quality, I’d have a liked a slightly better finish.
The Instax Square SQ10 comes in a black matte finish. The design is simple with a metallic ring around the lens that can be rotated to turn the camera on and off. Just above the lens is a small xenon flash, and a red autofocus assist light. You will also find two customisable buttons that can be used as the shutter button or for shifting the shooting mode.
Circular strap lugs are located on each side of the camera; a side wrist band is included in the box. Unfortunately, the Instax Square SQ10 doesn’t ship with a neck band, something you need to purchase it separately since the camera can feel slippery at times.
The camera’s battery door can be found on the right. The camera uses a rechargeable battery. Above the battery door, there is a switch that allows you to toggle between Auto and Manual modes. On the left side, you’ll find the microUSB port for charging and a microSD card slot. Although the camera’s in-built storage can store up to 50 images, I’m sure, you’ll want to save more images using a microSD card slot.
Film packs are loaded by opening the rear of the camera, while the pictures are printed out of the top of the device. If you’re using a Fujifilm instax film camera for the first time, film for the Instax camera comes in a cartridge. And each cartridge comes in a pack of 10. A pack of Instax Square film will cost Rs 690, which isn’t cheap by any means. Of course, you’re paying a premium price for the Square film which prints in Instagram-like 1:1 aspect ratio.
On the rear, there is a large non-touch display, which can be used to monitor the shot. Beneath the display, you will notice a circular wheel along with other buttons surrounding it. This is where you’ll find an easy access to review photos, playback, printing, filters and vignette settings.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Performance and Image quality review
Using the camera is not so simple as it may seems. I could count number of instances when I wasted the print. So I’d recommend to read the manual carefully before you start using the camera.
The image quality is good, but not the best. Once your learn the tricks, it’s easy to operate the Instax Square SQ10, just like a standard digital camera. I got the best results in the right light. Don’t expect the Instax Square SQ10 to be at par with smartphones or DSLRs in terms of image quality – after all the camera uses a 0.25-inch CMOS sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The camera takes average shots in low light, although the image quality isn’t bad. The SQ10 also includes a number of Instagram-style filters that can be used to alter images, as well as a vignette effect.
On screen, photos appear to be look good, mostly bright. However, I found that that once you print the images, they tend to get darker. Fortunately, though, you can preview and tweak the image before it gets printed. Images take about a minute to develop, and the feeling of holding one of these in your hands is something you will not get on smartphones.
The battery lasts for around three or four hours which means users can take up to 160 photographs taken on a full charge. Unlike smartphones, the Instax SQ10 doesn’t come with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which makes it really hard to upload photos on Facebook and Twitter. Another feature I didn’t like about the Instax Square SQ10 camera is the whole process of transferring files from camera to PC. Essentially, users first need to copy those digital photos saved on the camera to a microSD card, making the process of transferring file troublesome.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Verdict
Fujfilm’s Instax Square SQ10 is fun to use; the joy of printing photographs in front of your eyes is something you need to experience. This camera is unlikely to bring back the era of instant film cameras, but the inclusion of the digital camera aspect into the instant film camera is much appreciated. However, this also increases the cost of owning the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10. So who should buy this camera? Well, as I said in the beginning, this one is clearly for the enthusiasts and does not make much sense for others. Maybe a good birthday gift for children or elders. This SQ10 is meant for those who love the idea of instant film cameras but don’t care much about the image quality