Late last year, Fujifilm introduced the new Instax SQUARE SQ1 instant camera. Compared to Instax mini, it has a more angular design and works with square cards. This is not the first model in the SQUARE line, but it only has basic features, unlike the SQ6 and SQ20. Let’s talk about everything in more detail.
Instax SQUARE SQ1 Review – Nice design
As the name suggests – SQUARE SQ1 – the camera is square, as are the cartridges that fit it. It is slightly larger than other Instax models but still light enough to hold in one hand.
The novelty comes in three colours: blue, white, and terracotta. We had a blue version on our test – a fairly neutral but beautiful colour, which, for sure, will be the most popular with this model. The case is matte, not easily soiled, and not slippery.
The new Instax is more suitable for right-handers: there is a ribbed grip on the right side of the case, on which the release button is located. A block for batteries is also hidden here, and not the most standard ones: two lithium CR2s are needed for operation. The decision is controversial since it is much easier to find regular AA batteries on sale. However, the set includes two batteries at once, which will be enough for printing 300 photos.
Also on the handle is a card counter: it shows how many frames the camera can print. The cartridge contains 10 pieces – it is inserted into a separate compartment at the back of the camera. The design is standard and familiar to everyone who has ever held Instax in their hands. You can change the cartridge in a couple of movements – even a child can handle it.
There are strap loops on the body’s sides – you can use the supplied wrist strap or buy a neck strap not to hold the camera in your hands.
Instax SQUARE SQ1 Review – Clear functions
The camera is equipped with a lens with a focal length of 65.75 mm and an aperture of 1: 12.6 and a programmable electronic shutter (1 / 2–1 / 400 s).
The SQ1 is similar in feature set to the Instax mini 11, which also came out in 2020. There is nothing extra here: all shooting parameters are adjusted by themselves, and the user is only required to press the shutter button. For example, the camera automatically controls exposure by detecting light levels and choosing shutter speed and flash output. This is possible thanks to two light sensors on the lens: AE (Auto Exposure) and flash. After 5 minutes of inactivity, Instax automatically shuts down to save energy.
Shooting with Instax SQUARE SQ 1
To turn on Instax SQUARE SQ1, turn the lens to the ON position. If you scroll it again, the camera switches to selfie mode, which can also be used for macro shots (from a distance of 30-50 cm). There is a small mirror on the lens for composing portraits; however, taking selfies is not very convenient since you have to hold the camera at arm’s length. And the shutter button is easy to press accidentally: it reacts even to the slightest touch.
Before shooting, the camera needs to be “refilled” by inserting a 62×62 mm cartridge with cards. It is better not to look into the cartridge compartment until it ends; otherwise, there is a risk of light up the paper.
Everything is simple: you point the camera at the subject using the viewfinder and press the shutter button. When shooting from a close distance (up to 0.5 m), it is necessary to consider the shift of the frame relative to the lens and “aim” a little higher and to the right of the center. All these nuances are described in detail in the instructions.
The photo is automatically printed and developed in about 60-90 seconds. Perhaps we like this moment the most – and although this is not the first time we have tested Instax, the process of developing photos is always fascinating and makes you feel like an admired child who is waiting for a miracle.
The cards turn out to be very lamp-like as if a cozy filter from Instagram was imposed on the image. It is also convenient that they are small – you can make a collage of them or insert them into a small album, attach them with a magnet on the fridge or hide them in your wallet so that you can always carry your favorite photo with you.
As we said, the camera has a flash that automatically illuminates the subject in low light. It’s quite powerful, so the Instax can shoot even in the dark – although, of course, it’s better to choose more optimal conditions. In light, photos are clearer and brighter.
Should you buy the Instax SQUARE SQ1?
We think that Instax devices should not be perceived as ordinary cameras – they are an entertainment gadget that will help you quickly take a lot of cool photos. So there is no point in comparing the SQ1 with DSLRs or even point-and-shoot cameras in terms of the number of functions or the shooting quality. The camera copes with its functions perfectly, and if you are looking for a stylish gadget that can please even the most severe adult – Instax is a great choice.
Another thing is that Fujifilm has more interesting models – for example, the SQ20 with a built-in display and the ability to edit photos or Mini LiPlay, which prints pictures with a QR code in which the sound is encrypted. However, they are more expensive than SQ1.