The Fujifilm Instax line of instant cameras has been around for a while. Which is to say that most of us have probably come across one recently, and know the pain points of using one: the film is expensive, and getting just the right shot is a game of chance. Don’t even get us started on taking selfies with the thing. I guess that’s the price of taking nostalgic prints of you and your friends, right?
You might say that all of this is the appeal of owning an instant camera, but let’s be honest: a little flexibility would be more than welcome. Well, the new Fujifilm Instax Square SQ20 is here to save the day. Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you that this revamped model addresses most of the hassles of owning an Instax. But don’t just take my word for it.
Unlike previous Instax models, the SQ20 is a hybrid instant camera, which means you get the flexibility of a digital sensor and the nostalgic appeal of a physical printed photo rolled into one. It still looks very much like an Instax camera, with a squarish shape that comes in either a glossy beige or matte black. It has a screen at the back, and below are buttons for adjusting the exposure, choosing a filter, applying a vignette, and more, all arranged around a click wheel for navigating the user interface.
The best thing about this screen is that you can — apart from using it as the viewfinder — preview the photo you just took, like any regular digital camera. That means no more guessing if everyone fits into the frame, if you got the exposure right, or hoping that the photo didn’t straight up turn out blurry. You can do as many takes as you want before printing anything, and this allows you to use the film wisely. To print a photo, you simply press the button with the green printer symbol (duh!) while viewing your photo, et voila, a perfectly framed Instax print.
Print ’til you drop: The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ20 lets you apply filters and other edits to your photos way after you take them, and allows you to print multiple copies.
It gets better: you don’t have to print the photo right away. The camera comes with built-in memory along with an SD card slot, so you can store literally thousands upon thousands of photos for printing later. The built-in memory stores up to 50 photos, while Fujifilm approximates that about 1,000 photos will fit into a gigabyte of memory. What’s more, you can print multiples of a picture so that everyone in the barkada gets one.
Another new feature of the SQ20 is that it takes video. But before you let your imagination go too wild and think that you can finally print moving photos à la Harry Potter, calm down. The video mode allows you to capture 15-second clips that you can later roll through frame-by-frame (it takes 15 frames per second) and select one for printing. Basically, it’s useful for moving subjects like your baby cousin, your dog, or your friend who just, I don’t know, moves too much.
This option of processing those frames minutes, hours, or even days after you’ve captured them runs throughout the camera. You can apply a filter later, adjust the exposure, zoom in or out, and more way after pressing the shutter. As cheesy as it sounds, it encourages you to be present and just capture whatever catches your eye, without having to think and fiddle around with the settings beforehand. It really comes in handy when you’re just walking around taking photos, or when you decide to bring it on a night out. The Instaxes that came before this one always required an exacting standard in taking pictures, since the cost per print is not exactly cheap, so this new way of Instaxing is definitely welcome.
The SQ20 comes in either a glossy beige or matte black.
The only possible thing to complain about is the size — the SQ20 isn’t really what you’d call compact. You’re most likely gonna need two hands to hold it up, and you’ll need ample space in your bag to stash it when you’re not taking pics. The plastic casing feels solid though, and you won’t be afraid of just swinging it around on the hand strap it comes with. If a more compact instant camera that has a screen is a must, the Instax Mini LiPlay is an option, but that one uses the rectangular film. What the SQ20 trades for the LiPlay’s ultraportability is, for lack of a better word, fun. The size is a small price to pay for everything it brings to the table. Now print away.
The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ20 retails for P12,999 at Fujifilm authorized dealers nationwide. For more information, visit instax.ph and follow @teaminstaxph on Instagram.