The New Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 Hybrid Instant Camera
The Fujifilm Instax film cameras and film has been the shinning star of the film world for the past decade. As Polaroid declined in popularity and profitability, Fujifilm transformed their instant film business from passport and ID pictures to family and friends. The cameras were simple to use, cute to look at, and fun to share. One weakness of these cameras was that it was easy to mess up a picture, a costly mistake (about $1 USD per image at least). The compromise was the Instax printer. It could print directly from a Fujifilm camera, or using an app, directly from your smartphone. Another complaint was that the cute and fun Instax Mini prints were too small, and wouldn’t print the square Instagram images properly without cropping the sides of the image. How would Fuji solve this problem? A new film format and a new hybrid camera system would be necessary.
Welcome the Instax Square format and the new SQ10 digital hybrid instant camera. The camera is basically an Instax printer merged with a digital camera. The image area of the new square format is 62mm x 62mm, creating a respectable image size compared to the Instax Mini’s narrower 46mm x 62mm print. Although the new square format is smaller than the much larger Instax Wide’s 62mm x 99mm image size, the camera itself is significantly smaller and less clunky. As well, the advantages of having a digital hybrid Instax camera is obvious. You can take the picture, and then decide if you want to print it or not. If you don’t like it, delete it. If you want to modify it, then adjust the image (exposure compensation, filters, vignetting, cropping, rotate, date stamp). You can do this while you’re shooting real time, or even after you capture the image. You can store up to 50 images in-camera, or install your own micro SD card. Once you finish, you can upload the images to your computer and share your 1920 x 1920 (or 3.68MP) image on social media. Ok, the image isn’t that big (yet) but big enough to print to Instax, and convenient enough to print extra copies of the same picture (unlike the analog Instax cameras).
Perhaps you’re a purist and enjoy shooting analog Instax photography? I wouldn’t worry. There should be 100% analog Instax square cameras coming out soon. I think this was Fujifilm’s first attempt at making a hybrid camera, and I heard this is going to be a limited run. At just under $300 USD, these aren’t cheap, but if you’re an early adopter, you better get yours soon. The camera and the film should be available in May. Please enjoy my YouTube unboxing and first impressions video. I truly had no idea what I was unboxing, which adds to my unrehearsed pleasant surprise. I will need more time with it to truly see if this camera is a must-have for Instax fans, but so far I’m pretty impressed. The only thing I would ask for is a bump in megapixels, and a way to take selfie images easier (although with digital, shoot and chimp is possible without wasting film). Please read below for the official press release from Fujifilm for the new film and hybrid camera:
FUJIFILM INSTAX Square SQ10 with all-new hybrid INSTAX system
3” TFT color LCD monitor with 460K dots resolution
¼” CMOS image sensor with primary color filter
1920×1920 recorded pixels
Rechargeable Li-ion battery (NP-50) for up to 160 images per charge
Images taken and edited / processed can be saved in the internal memory (up to about 50 images) or on microSD microSDHC card slot (sold separately)
28.5mm fixed focal length (in 35mm format equivalent)
Micro USB for internal battery recharging
JPEG image file format
Print from internal memory or micro SD microSDHC card
New INSTAX SQUARE Film format (color) sold in 10 sheets per pack
Screen size – 62mm×62mm (L×W)
Film size – 86mm×72mm (L×W)
FUJIFILM Holdings America Corporation is based in Valhalla, New York, and is the regional headquarters for the Americas. It is comprised of fourteen directly owned subsidiary companies in the U.S. and Canada, and two in Latin America: Brazil and Colombia. The company manufactures, markets and provides service for a broad spectrum of industries including photographic, medical imaging and informatics, pharmaceutical and other life science industries. Industrial segments include data storage, electronic materials, chemical, and graphic arts products and services. For more information, please visit www.fujifilmusa.com.