In the age of Instagram and Facebook, the definition of photography has certainly changed. I don’t know how many people even use an instant film camera these days, but I bet the answer is “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. The latest Instax Square SQ10 is a hybrid instant camera that combines digital imaging capabilities and has the ability to print photos instantly. Here’s my verdict of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10. The Instax Square SQ10 doesn’t look too different from the company’s past offerings. The camera has a square-shaped plastic body with rounded corners and curved edges. With 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. Circular strap lugs are located on each side of the camera; a side wrist band is included in the box. Square SQ10 doesn’t ship with a neck band; you have to purchase it separately. The camera’s battery door can be found on the right. Above it, there is a switch to toggle between Auto and Manual modes. On the left side, is the microUSB port for charging and 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. Film for the Instax camera comes in a cartridge. And each cartridge comes in a pack of 10. A pack of Instax Square film costs Rs 690; 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, for monitoring the shot. Beneath the display is 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.
Performance and image quality
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. The battery lasts for three or four hours, so users can take up to 160 photographs on a full charge. Unlike smartphones, the Instax SQ10 doesn’t come with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. To transfer files from camera to PC, users need to copy those digital photos saved on the camera to a microSD card first.
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. 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? This SQ10 is meant for those who love the idea of instant film cameras but don’t care much about the image quality.
Estimated street price: Rs 22,999