FujiFilm Instax Square SQ10 camera review: For the love of instant photography

FujiFilm Instax Square SQ10 camera review: For the love of instant photography

nstant cameras arouse a curious sense of juxtaposition – they are a throwback to the good old days of cameras being simple and combine the wonders of modern-day technology. There’s something charming about cameras that print photos instantly and admit it, a printed picture is far better than one uploaded on a social network or on your smartphone. Fujifilm has launched a camera – Instax Square SQ10 — that prints instant photos but is also digital. Is it a perfect blend between vintage cameras and those that exist today? Or is Instax Square SQ10 still not good enough to survive in today’s world of Instagram and Snapchat?

Read review to find out if the Instax Square SQ 10 “clicks” or not:

Design
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 is a square shaped camera with rounded corners. Measuring 5 * 4.7 * 1.9 inches, the camera can easily fit into a small bag and is portable enough. It’s not pocket friendly but quite compact for an instant camera.

On the front, there is a 28.5mm-equivalent f/2.4 autofocus lens and 3.7MP digital sensor in the centre along with flash, the shutter and image capture buttons. On the back, there is a 3-inch, 460k-dot LCD screen through which one can take shots. Unlike other cameras by Instax, Square SQ10 lacks an optical viewfinder.

Beneath the screen, there are various control buttons which give you the option of editing photos – yes, this instant camera lets you edit pictures before taking a print. There is also the menu button in the centre. The left edge of the camera comes with a button which lets you select whether you want to click on auto/manual mode. Below it is the cover where the camera houses its removable battery.
On the right edge, there is a similar cover which has the charging and microSD card slots underneath it. Above the LCD screen is the small Film button, using which one can open the camera to place the film inside it. The top edge has the slot from where the images are printed.

Overall, we found the camera to be extremely pleasant looking. It’s compact as well as sleek-looking. We loved carrying it around when we were reviewing it.

Coming to functions, it is quite easy to use the Instax Square SQ10 camera. It comes with two modes – Auto and Manual. With Auto mode, images are printed as soon as you click them. However, with Manual mode, you can edit them with various settings in the camera.

Performance
Before we start talking about camera’s performance, we would like to clarify that don’t expect Instax Square SQ 10 to click images like a DSLR, or even your smartphone. It, for obvious reasons, cannot match up to that. Having said that, we’d also say that despite this, our experience with the camera was very good.

Firstly, using a camera that can print photos instantly has a certain vintage feel to it. And secondly, this instant camera is digital too. We felt that it strikes a good balance between the two, although we would have certainly liked a few more features, especially at the given price.

In the Auto mode, there isn’t much to do. You just focus on the object using image capture button, and then just click. The picture is printed instantly, and it may or may not turn out to be good. Also, focussing on an object may take longer than a smartphone, so you don’t rely on the camera to capture any candid moments. The Manual mode is where all the action is and you can do a lot more.

Once you’ve taken the picture, there’s an option to preview it before taking a print. The camera comes with around 10 filters that you can add to your photos. It also has an exposure or a vignette tool which can be used to edit photos. The best part about editing photos is users can go back to the original picture whenever they want and images can be re-edited as many times as one wishes to do.

We personally really liked these additions as they gave us more control over the pictures we wanted to print. Collectively, you can keep only about 50 photos in the camera. But then, if you need additional space (which we think you would), you can always add a microSD card.

Coming to the picture quality, we would repeat what we said at the beginning, they couldn’t match up to the photos we click from DSLRs or even our smartphones. But they were far better than our experience with other Polaroid cameras.

The colours were accurate and the images were sharp. The exposure almost always had to be adjusted in pictures, and the camera usually did a better job when we used it in well-lit conditions rather than dimly lit areas. Similarly, it worked better when we took pictures of brightly coloured objects. But the performance of the camera remained consistent with indoor and outdoor shots.

When we used the camera in low-light conditions, we invariably had to use the flash. Without it, the pictures were barely visible. But we must point out that the flash of the camera is another very good feature. The moment we turned it on to use it, the quality of images taken in dimly lit areas went up. We even printed some without editing.

Speaking of the images printed, they mostly turned out to be good compared to instant photographs from other cameras. But the digital copies were a little bit of a downer, as we couldn’t help but compare them to other digital images that we see.

We must point out that there was a lot of inconsistency in the printed images. While some of the images came out really impressive, a few were disappointing. There were certain pictures that turned out great on paper — even without editing. These images had accurate colours and the exposure and the sharpness was spot on. There were also some images that showed a difference in colours and appeared to be too bright.

But the camera was quick. It took around 10 seconds for a photo to print and a little more than a minute for them to finally appear on the paper. A few more minutes were required for the final outcome to appear.

Users can also try various modes of the camera like double exposure or bulb mode, as they can give you some interesting shots.

Coming to battery life of Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10, it lasted for days even after regular usage.

One feature that we would have loved to see in the camera is Bluetooth connectivity. It would have been great to connect like smartphones or laptops and then print pictures saved in them using Instax Square SQ10. Also, there is no way of transferring pictures from the camera to another device if you aren’t using a microSD card.
There are some obvious flaws which we encountered but having said that, we loved the experience of printing instant photos from the camera.
Verdict
In a nutshell, we really liked the camera. But we can’t overlook its cons, especially when it comes with a price tag of Rs 22,999. What works for the camera is that it boasts of all the features of a digital camera and allows users to edit pictures before taking a print. It’s a good blend of an instant camera and a digital one. An average photography enthusiast would be happier with a DSLR. The camera cannot match up to a DSLR or a smartphone with a good camera. As long as you don’t have DSLR-level expectations and are influenced by the vintage angle, this is the camera for you.

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