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Photography is fun, addictive, and so does the love for vintage collectibles. And when a product promises to deliver on both in today's time, it cannot get any better. We are talking about Instant cameras, a category which is gradually picking up in the days of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. There are only a handful of camera manufacturers that offer instant cameras in the 21st century and Fujifilm happens to be one of the most aggressive of them. The company has a decent catalogue of instant cameras and the latest to join the Fuji's unique product lineup is also the company's first square format analog instant camera.
Fujifilm's analogue take on a square-film is achieved by Instax Square SQ6. Priced at Rs. 9,999, it is one of the most advanced digital-analog cameras Fujifilm has ever produced to create memories on square shaped instant prints. The retro-shaped instant camera comes bundled with colored flash filters, alkaline batteries and offers some useful camera modes. It is fully automatic and works on a fixed aperture and fixed focal length lens to capture instant images. The films are priced at Rs. 699 for a pack of 10 films.
We tested the Fuji's square film camera to create memories on square-shaped instant films and here's our experience with the new Instax Square SQ6.
Instax Square SQ6 Specifications
Viewfinder: Inverted Galilean finder, 0.4 x, with target spot
Focusing: Macro Mode (1 ft - 1.6 ft), Normal Mode (1.6 ft - 6.6 ft), Landscape Mode (6.6 ft and beyond)
Modes: Automatic Exposure control, Selfie Mode, Macro mode, Landscape mode, Double Exposure mode
Exposure control: Automatic, Interlocking range (ISO 800) : LV 5 - LV 15.5, Exposure compensation: ±2/3 EV
Film developing: Approximately 90 seconds (Varies depending on the ambient temperature)
Battery: Two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries
Battery capacity: Approximately 30 instax SQUARE 10-pack film packs with new CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries
Dimensions & Weight: 4.7 x 5.0 x 2.3 (inches), 393 g (Camera weight only)
Design: Retro-inspired design with fully automatic operation
Every Fuji product has one thing in common. They are designed to give you a sneak peek into the past without compromising on modern digital age features. The same can be said for the Instax SQ6. The square-shaped retro-inspired instant camera features a fully automatic operation and comes equipped with some useful shooting modes. There's no LCD to inform you about the mode, shots captured or flash status but a mechanical shot counter and LED lights to tell you about the current camera settings at a particular time.
Press the power button and the lens element extends from the camera's body to get you started. The instant camera allows you to select the mode according to the subject or your purpose of photography with the help of simple button operations. The LED lights up each time you press a mode button. If you switch off and on the camera, it returns to auto mode.
Film loading and batteries
When it comes to load and use the film pack, you need to be little careful. Loading the film is quite easy but make sure you don't open the back cover until you have used up the entire films pack, otherwise the remaining films will become exposed to light and turn white. Each film pack contains one black film protective and 10 usable film sheets. There's a film counter next to the battery lid cover that shows the number of remaining films in the camera. The camera works on alkaline batteries and you would require two CR2 lithium batteries to start shooting.
Strap it for a comfortable handling
As far as aesthetics are concerned, Instax Square SQ6 is not very ergonomic and requires some time to get used to for smooth operation. It's pretty big for one hand use and you would require a small bag to carry it around. A strap is provided to ease up the handling. The camera is made up of plastic but does not feel cheap. The ring around the lens has a metallic finish and its color is matched to the color of the main unit. Fujifilm ships the camera in three color variations- Pearl White, Blush Gold, and Graphite Gray.
Overall, Instax Square SQ6 is simple and yet looks stylish. Though, I would prefer Mini 90 any day as it has that extra retro camera character; the new Instax Square SQ6 is also very close and is indeed a head turner.
Features: Some useful photography modes
The Instax Square SQ6 is probably the most feature-rich instant camera I have used till date. It comes equipped with automatic exposure adjustment that can be used to brighten or darken a scene while you capture a shot. You also get "Double Exposure Mode" that allows two photos to be overlapped on a single film when the shutter button is pressed twice.
Fujifilm has also added two widely used modes- Macro Mode and Landscape mode to make the most out of your instant camera experience. The macro mode allows short-range shooting up to a minimum of 30cm, whereas the landscape mode enables long-range shooting from a minimum of 2m.
Besides, the camera also focuses on enhancing selfie experience by offering a dedicated selfie-mode. When activated, Instax Square SQ6 automatically adjusts useful settings to the optimum focus and brightness levels.
Bundled flash filters
To give your instant pictures an artistic look; you can use the bundled flash color filters- orange, purple, and green. Once placed over the flash, the filters change the color of the overall photo, allowing you to achieve a unique and textured photo.
Performance: It’s all about the ageless instant pictures feel
The best part about shooting with Instant cameras is the fact that there's very little room for mistakes. One wrong selection of mode or a small misjudgment of the subject/scene will cost you a film strip, and trust me you don't want to spoil these expensive films. One film will cost you Rs. 70. And as far as image quality is concerned, instant cameras were never about shooting pixel-popping crisp images. They offer warm and soulful instant images on film strips which you cannot create from smartphones or digital cameras.
Talking precisely about the Instax Square SQ6, the camera crates square shaped instant images that look good. Press the shutter button, wait for 90 seconds and witness the magic unfolding right in front of your eyes. The camera is fairly easy to use. Viewfinder comes handy to compose a shot depending upon your subject's distance measured from the camera. The images show warm and satisfying colors. The camera's focusing mechanism is also good provided that you have got the settings right.
Fujifilm has also added a couple of shooting modes which come handy but feels half-baked in the age of digital cameras. This is due to the fact that the provided modes are exclusive to their shooting scenes. For instance, I wanted to take a landscape shot but the overall light condition was very bright and the camera ‘darken' mode was of no use. There's no way that you can use different modes combination. I had to capture the landscape shot with darken shooting mode to suppress the harsh light.
I liked the ‘Double Exposure' shooting mode that allows you to create some artistic images instantly by combining two different exposures onto the same shot. If you have a creative mind, the possibilities are endless and results are just 90 seconds away. Fuji has also added a dedicated ‘Selfie mode' for the selfie-centric generation. A self-shot mirror is also attached to the side of the lens that gives an idea of the shooting range. Last but not the least; you can also use the trio colored filters to create some fancy square shaped instant pictures during a family holiday or a house party.
Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is fun and easy to use. There are few controls to play with and the camera comes equipped with some useful modes to enhance your instant photography experience. Instax Square SQ6 is a bit pricey and the film strips can be expensive but the end results are bound to give you a trip down to the memory lane.
If you are bored of digital photography and want to relive the good old days of instant pictures, the new Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is a great buy. It has the ability to deliver photos straight away on a square-shaped film strip, which is nostalgic and long lived in the days of JPEG and RAW files.1