Fujifilm SQ10 Instant Camera

I've always loved Fujifilm's INSTAX film and when compared to Impossible Project/Polaroid Originals, it's always curried favour because of it's affordability, developing times and colour reproduction.

I have owned a number of INSTAX cameras over the years and have tended to lean more towards the mini film as the camera size is much more portable. Having said that, I've owned four INSTAX wide cameras and currently own the INSTAX 210 which produces beautiful images. 

I also (somewhat) reluctantly shoot Polaroid Originals film from time to time, preferring their black and white film due to poor colour reproduction of their colour films. I've always felt that Impossible/Polaroid Originals have benefitted from the hipster crowd wanting that 'vintage' look and so have never truly bothered to create a film much closer to the original Polaroid stock - which annoys me. It annoys me more so because of the price of the film which when added to the lengthy developing times and unpredictability of the colour casts, seems grossly unfair.

When I saw that Fujifilm were releasing a square format film and camera, I couldn't wait to try it out. Then, however, I read that the camera itself would be a sort of digital-film hybrid and felt less excited, meaning I didn't buy the camera when it first came out because of this fact. I felt that a large part of the asking price was down to the digital technology used and that was something that I wouldn't use or need.

Eventually though, I decided to give it a try and bought one and boy was I happy! HERE'S WHY...

Design

The camera is relatively small - a much better camera to film size ratio than that of any other INSTAX camera anyways. There is no optical viewfinder and instead you have to use the screen to frame your shots. This is something that put me off purchasing at first but I surprisingly enjoy it as the printed photos are almost exactly the same as what you have framed - not always the case with other instant cameras.

Because it has strap lugs at either side, you can add a neck strap, rather than the cheap wrist strap that it comes with and I think it looks great coupled with my brown leather strap (top).

Function

I have to admit that I haven't used most of the functions that this camera offers, simply because all I want it for is to frame and print instant photos - I'm not looking to play with the digital files or edit the images in-camera.

You have the option of MANUAL and AUTO which basically means you can either use this camera like any other instant camera whereby you take the shot and it is immediately printed, or you can save the images and print them later (where's the fun in that?).

Film

Whilst the film is square, it is noticeably smaller than that of Polaroid/Impossible. It's actually the same size as 1.5 INSTAX mini photos side by side which is decent enough in size for me. 

The detail and sharpness is excellent! Like all INSTAX film, the colour reproduction outperforms it's rival without any doubt.

The price of the film at the time of writing this is £8.95 for 10 shots if bought from Amazon. Thats 90p per image which, when compared to Impossible/Polaroid is less than half the price. Granted, the Polaroid is bigger but without doing the math, I'd say that the Fujifilm is better value for money per square centimetre.

Size comparison: Polaroid 600, INSTAX SQ10, INSTAX Mini & INSTAX Wide.

Final Thoughts
PROS:
  • Cheap to shoot with
  • Sharp and contrasty images
  • Square format
  • Digital storage option (for those that would use this)
  • Option to reframe and then print if needed
  • Compact given film size
CONS:
  • Smaller film size than Polaroid 600
  • Expensive camera considering a used Polaroid camera can be had for £25
  • No optical viewfinder
  • Digital-film hybrid (may be a pro to some)
fujifilm sq10 review