Most photos taken with a smartphone go straight to social media platforms, while some are transferred to the cloud or a computer. Then there are those that grow stale in the gallery. It’s easy to get rid of images you see on screen when there are still tons just a swipe away. With this development, finished prints have largely become more valuable than ever. There is just something about printed photos that make you want to treasure them. But when these two elements combine, there’s photography magic bound to happen. And this is what the Instax Square (SQ10) is all about.
A hybrid entry from Fujifilm’s line of instant cameras, the Instax SQ10 takes design cues from the Instax Mini series and elevates it. It has a certain premiumness to it, which is a total step up from the young styling of the Mini. The SQ10 has a characteristic boxy figure, with soft rounded edges for improved grip and easy control.
Front and center is a fixed lens bordered with chrome, that when turned, powers the device on. It is flanked by shutter buttons on either side, an instax SQ10 insignia on the upper left, and a flash stretched at the top. The film comes out atop, while the sides and bottom feature an eyelet for straps, auto/manual toggle switch, a flap that uncovers the micro-USB port and microSD slot, and another one for the battery. The back is occupied by its 3-inch display, a control pad just below it, and a slider that opens up for replacing the film pack.
Hardware on the SQ10 is what you’d typically expect of an instant camera: a meager image sensor and film output. But where the SQ10 goes above competition is in its digital imaging capabilities. You can store more or less 50 photos on its onboard storage, and store more via microSD or microSDHC expandability. There’s an appropriately-sized and bright display for reviewing and editing photos. It also has a nice mix of control buttons that allow you to do more than just pointing and shooting subjects.
User Experience: 4/5
Though we had a bit of trouble setting up the device, what with a new firmware update.
After we’ve got that down, usage was smooth sailing.
The SQ10 is a hybrid camera. Meaning, it can instantly print photos as well as function like your regular digital camera. Quality of the digital image is quite mushy when you transfer it to let’s say a computer where it appears much bigger compared to its 3-inch screen. Shooting in well-lit areas is a different story, though. Images have a bit of sharpness in them and colors are fairly realistic, as well. Meanwhile, shooting indoors could be made much better with its built-in flash.
The camera’s ability to customize photos and store as you shoot contribute to a pleasant photography experience. You will no longer have dilemmas choosing whether to shoot again or print, which is an issue with instant cameras. It has plenty of image filters, similar to the variety of effects on popular camera apps. You can also brighten images, take double exposure-, macro-, and bulb shots without a hitch, and even tile photos, all of which are a hit to photography junkies.
The SQ10 prints square photos, of 1:1 aspect ratio, in just a couple of seconds. There’s so much delight in watching it print photos and the unfolding of images on film, that it is easy to forget that it doesn’t have an unlimited supply of film. Sold separately, its film come in packs of 10 and sells for around PHP 500. Quite premium, but justifiable.
The Instax SQ10 shoots fast, prints fast, and focuses fast. It can be had at sub PHP 15k, which is pretty steep for cameras in this category. But do note that it comes with an expandable storage, a display, plenty of functions, and the Fujifilm standard of quality.
Instant print, instant joy!
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE May 2018 Issue.
Reviewed by Mia Carisse Barrientos