If I’m honest, I’m impressed by how many Instax models that FujiFilm keep releasing, and you’ll be forgiven if you’ve lost count, or not entirely sure where it fits in. To give you a brief overview, Fujifilm have the Instax Mini, Instax Wide, and Instax Square range. This doesn’t even touch on the Instax Share SP-3 printer I reviewed in June/
To bring you back to speed, the Instax Square range was introduced only last year, in 2017. Let’s just say that Instagram gave rise to the 1:1 ratio of photos and Fujifilm wants you to be able to print instant photos in the same format. Even though the social network now allows you to share photos in a wide or longer formats, I still prefer square photos. The same goes for the Instax range.
Enter the Instax SQ6, Fujifilm’s first square analogue instant camera. You may think in 2018 who cares about instant cameras, let alone analogue ones, but most people I showed it to thought it was the coolest gadget they’ve seen in a while. Maybe it’s the result of the mainly digital world we live in where photos remain in our camera roll and life goes on.
The SQ6 I had on test was blank and metallic pink in colour. So if you don’t particularly like full pink gadgets like me, this is done in a bit more to accentuate certain parts, like the front bit, on the lens, and the power button. The rest of it is black. It’s not that heavy to carry around, you can get away by popping it into a handbag, and it does come with a neck strap. The angular square look and feel it has is comfortable in the hand, especially when you’re ready to snap a photo. The accents on the front is matte with horizontal stripes, giving you a nice grip.
There is a viewfinder at the back on the top right. Don’t be too hard on yourself if the photos didn’t come out exactly as you saw it. As with most instant cameras today, the loading slot for the film is at the back. Next to it is the photo count for the film, which is mechanical. It is powered by batteries. I also received three filters with it: green, pink and purple.
The SQ6 has a bunch of modes we’ve seen on the Instax Mini range with the credit card print outs, such as: automatic, selfie, macro, landscapes, double exposure, light and dark modes. Separately, there’s a 10-second self-timer and flash button. For the most part, it’s safe to shoot in auto mode, but if you’re outside, switch to landscape. I attempted a macro shot but I didn’t get it right and decided after wasting two film sheets on it, it was not worth trying anymore. The selfie mode works well as there is a little mirror on the front so you can see what you look like before snapping. It kinda zooms in a bit more, than when you are shooting in normal mode, of course.
The double exposure mode is well, best left for the expert photographers. Again, I tried it but I may not have had the best scenario for it. I liked the lighten and darken modes, which would depend when you are shooting. The lighten came in handy for a bunch of photos I took at night. The only mistake I made with one shot was snapping a photo at night with the flash off. So if you’re at night, it is best you put the flash on. Not so much for day shots in well lit areas.
EASE OF USE
The camera may have a bunch of modes, but one thing is certain – it’s simple to operate. Even if you don’t like taking photos and you’re asked to snap a photo, you can’t really mess it up. Just make sure the correct mode is selected, and look through the viewfinder before snapping a photo. The result always amazes people: from when the film ejects out of the camera instantly, to when the photo darkens. Unlike the Polaroid, you don’t have to shake the photo; it darkens within a few minutes. The results are nostalgic even though it’s in an Instagram-like square format.
I must be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the filters. The natural shots were better. Reminds me of those filters you can for smartphones, I’m just not a fan of a pink/green/purple hue over a regular shot. This is subjective.
The camera is not cheap, and neither is the film. The square format film is pricier than the credit card sized ones from the Mini range, and comes in packs of 10. It’s a cute camera to have if you love taking photos with friends and family, if you’re out and about, travelling, or just want to do something simple like document your child’s journey as they grow up. The results literally make for lasting memories, so if you show up to a celebration with one of these, you’re definitely going to make a lot of folks happy. Just be mindful of the cost of film and how many photos you’re snapping at a time because mistakes can get expensive. It is available in pink, grey, and white.