A few years ago instant cameras had a bit of a renaissance with companies like Fujifilm benefiting from the resurgence. With their Instax range now commonplace there is a new offering on the local market in the form of the Instax Square SQ6.
This new instant camera serves up a 1:1 size ratio from the film it utilises, and as such a slightly different perspective to that of the usual Fujifilm and Polaroid-esque devices.
It also features a suitably square form factor, as well as a few different shooting modes being thrown into the mix.
At a recommended R1 999 (depending on the retailer), is this instant camera a viable option to add to one’s daily photography arsenal or simply a trendy gimmick that will lose its appeal after a while?
We recently gave the Instax SQ6 (how we’ll be referring to it) a spin to find out.
The first thing that you notice here is its design, which looks a tad more premium that the Instax Mini 9 cameras that people may be familiar with.
It also comes in some nice metallic finishes such as pearl white and graphite grey. Our review model is the blush gold variant, which is probably the most eye-catching and handsome of the trio.
As for the film it takes, the Instax SQ6 can house either the company’s own Square instant film which measures 86 X 72 mm, or the Instax Mini film which is a little less broad at 86 X 54 mm.
We exclusively shot with the Square film as it was specifically designed for this camera, and having used the Mini version in the past, the former feels like the better option.
It’s a relatively small difference in the greater scope of things, but the fact that you have a slightly wider piece of film to shoot onto makes the Square option a bit more versatile in terms of the subject matter you choose to capture.
Whether it be portraits, plants or other curious nik naks the SQ6 and its Square film are a good all-round option.
In terms of the picture it yields, the SQ6 takes less than two seconds to begin producing the picture once the shutter button has been pressed, with the film feeding out from the top of the camera.
From there it takes roughly 90 seconds for the image to appear, with it going from white to the object you snapped.
Over time, and exposed to heat or light in particular, the picture will get slightly darker and clearer in terms of quality, along with having that nostalgic look to it.
Flip the Instax SQ6 over and you’ll see quite a few small buttons ready and waiting for you to press them.
The most important ones are on the left-hand side, with three in total requiring your attention.
The top one allows users to toggle through the different shooting modes.
These are Automatic Exposure Control, Selfie Mode, Macro Mode (for close-ups), Landscape Mode, Double Exposure Mode and darken/Lighten Mode.
Most of the time we shot in Automatic Exposure, as it seemed to offer the best overall experience. You can experiment with other modes, but it does at the expense of wasted instant film if you’re not happy with the result.
With the film sold in pairs of 10 and costing R200, you can rack up quite the bill if you’re not careful.
There’s also a tiny window next to the housing which one places the film into to show just how many pics are left in a film pack.
As for the other buttons, one is a timer that gives the user about seven seconds to get into frame if that’s your desired shot.
The other button turns the flash off.
For those wanting to mix things up even more, there are three colour filters (orange, green and purple) that fit over the front facing flash. These offer pictures out the norm and at the very least will give your images a bit more uniqueness.
Despite being a bit of a niche product we enjoyed our time using the Instax SQ6 from Fujifilm.
It’s a handy addition to the smartphone, mirrorless camera and DSLR we routinely lug around when heading to interesting places where some nice pics can be snapped.
That said the SQ6 is a tad bulky, so if you’re going to take it somewhere you have to make sure you’ll actually use it. Otherwise you’re just lugging around this instant camera that looks cool, but goes unused.
That’s why we’re of the opinion that the Instax SQ6 is a perfect photography tool given the time and place, but will not be something that we’ll be carrying on us day to day.