Fujifilm’s hybrid Instax camera combines instant print with digital

by Haadi Bakar
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Nobody wants to print their photos anymore, but give your friends a printed photo of themselves and they’ll go nuts.

It’s probably why instant cameras like Fujifilm’s Instax series are such a novelty these days. They bring back the charm of the Polaroid into the digital age and manage to capture a small following (I suspect it’s the same crowd who are into lomography).

Hoping to lure in more people to Instax cameras, Fujifilm released the hybrid SQ10, which is the first Instax camera to combine instant photo print and digital image processing technology. It’s the first model in the series to have a digital sensor and preview screen, just like a digital camera, though it still retains Instax’s fun, toy camera design.

Going digital gives this new Instax camera greater flexibility than the analogue models. For the first time, Instax users will get to review and select their shots they want printed via the 3-inch colour LCD screen. users can also adjust brightness and vignette control as well as apply filters (there are 10 to choose from).

Meanwhile, the built-in editing software allows users to crop and add effects, while the internal memory stores the photos digitally. Having the ability to print what you want and when you want will save you Instax film cartidge refill costs.

Speaking of Instax cartridges, the SQ10 is also the first Instax to use Fujifilm’s new Instax Square Film format. The camera outputs 1:1 aspect ratio photos (86x72mm). A single cartridge allows for 10 prints.

The SQ10 uses a microSD card slot for storage, though its internal memory can store around 50 photos. The camera can take around 160 photos on a single charge.

It has a rechargeable Li-ion battery which can be charged via a Micro USB, the same standard port found in most smartphones, so you can charge it with your power bank when you’re on the road this coming Aidilfitri.

The camera has a symmetrical design with a unique dual shutter button (left and right), so it can be used in lefthanded or righthanded orientations.

The image sensor inside the SQ10 is a 1/4-inch CMOS sensor that takes 3-megapixel (1920×1920) JPEG images, while the lens is a 28.5mm (35mm equivalent) fixed focal length lens with an aperture of f/2.4.

At such a low resolution, 3-megapixels are fine for Instax prints, but your smartphone camera could probably take better quality images. If image quality and megapixels are important to you, the SQ10 shouldn’t be treated as a primary or replacement camera, unless if you’re the really super creative and artistic type or a film junkie.

Another downside of the SQ10 is limited connectivity options. Almost all digital standalone cameras made today have a way to transfer photos wirelessly to a smartphone or computer, but you’ll need to use the SQ10’s micro SD card if you want to get the photos off the Instax camera.

At around B$400, the SQ10 costs more than the analogue Instax models, while a pack of 10 square film shots costs around B$25.

So just consider this before thinking of getting an SQ10 – Instax cameras are all about making prints. Essentially they’re a fun camera to have, as long as you’re able to put up with restocking on Instax cartdridges every now and then.

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