Fujifilm is taking the guesswork out of shooting great analog instant-film photos with the Instax Square SQ1. That’s a good thing because instant film isn’t cheap — about 60 to 70 cents per print — and the last thing you want to do is get poorly exposed shots.
The $120 Square SQ1 trades the 3.4 by 2.1-inch (86 by 54 millimeters) prints of the company’s Instax Mini cameras for square 86 by 72 mm film (3.4 by 2.8 inches) with the actual picture portion measuring 62 mm square (2.4 inches). I prefer this size simply because I find it easier for framing shots, especially for selfies.
Like theannounced earlier this year, the SQ1 will automatically adjust shutter speed and flash output according to ambient light conditions. From my test shots, the exposure adjustment was reliable, but you have to be prepared for the flash to go off when you might not expect it. Without a doubt, it worked better than me remembering to change exposure settings on older Instax cameras.
The camera kicks on with a twist of the lens. The lens has two positions: one for subjects a foot (0.3 m) or more from the camera and a Selfie mode when you’re between 12 to 20 inches (0.3 to 0.5 m) from the lens. There’s also a small mirror on the front of the lens barrel so you can make sure you’re framed up properly.
However, while the grip looks nice and has a ribbed texture to help you hold it, it was tricky for me to hold when shooting selfies. If you’ve got larger hands, you’ll definitely want to use the included wrist strap and watch where you rest your thumb.
Along with the new camera, which will be available in mid-October in blue, orange and white versions, Fujifilm announced new Instax Square Rainbow and Monochrome instant packs. Like the regular square film, each pack contains 10 prints. They’ll also be available in mid-October and will sell for $15 a pack.
Although a large portion of the digital camera market has disappeared due to the prevalence of excellent phone cameras, the instant film camera market continues to be popular. Since the line’s introduction in 1998, Fujifilm has sold more than 40 million Instax models globally, according to the company.