Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 review

Instant prints with digital camera extras

Performance

  • 3-4 hour battery life
  • Single, central AF point
  • Good AF speed

In more practical terms, the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 is a camera that thrives on light, and tends to struggle in darker situations. The upshot is that some unexpectedly arty images can be created in low light, but they will be rare.

Nevertheless, the small CMOS sensor deals with colorful subjects well, and some of the best images come from vibrant scenes in which there's a clear distinction between the subject and the background.

The autofocus works well even in some lower-light situations, although not surprisingly the camera had a tough time focusing on fast-moving subjects. The single AF point means subjects can only be placed in the centre of the frame, which precludes interesting angles.

Battery life is excellent, with a claimed time of three to four hours and around 160 prints, which is plenty enough for most considering the Instax Square film packs cost around $15/£10 a pop.

Image quality

Images printed on the new Instax Square film are perfectly acceptable for the medium, with enough resolution to make out subjects while exhibiting the grainy, vibrant look associated with this retro-feel format.

However, printed images tend to appear a lot darker than they do on the small LCD screen. As a result, it's best to bump up the exposure via the camera settings before hitting the print button.

Another sticking point is the process of transferring digital files from camera to computer. Anything stored on the internal memory will first have to copied to a microSD card, which is then manually plugged into a computer. There's no simple transfer ability here. 

That said, it's really not worth the effort, because the JPEG files are very small (under 1MB), and appear flat and uninspiring. Even the most basic smartphone produces much better shots.

When the Instax Square SQ10 is left to print directly to film, the results are fun, interesting, artistic and unlike anything else currently on the digital camera market.

In fact, owners can flick a toggle switch on the side of the Instax Square SQ10 that automatically prints every shot, and it's arguably more fun to use in this mode. 

Users can still use the rear monitor to set up shots and mess around with filters, but it reignites the sort spontaneity that makes this camera so appealing.

Fujifilm is not only competing with Polaroid in the instant print game, it also has to go up against the devices we carry around in our pockets everyday, and which are much more powerful photographic tools.

Thanks to the slightly half-baked digital camera element of the Instax Square SQ10, Fujifilm runs the risk of pushing consumers towards something like a portable printer, which might not be as instantaneous or interesting but it is smaller and cheaper.