Fujifilm's Newest Instant Camera Is A Summer Staple That's Worth Your $$$

Photographed by Madeline Buxton.
"Hey, what is that?" is a question I heard from at least four different strangers this past week as I walked around my Brooklyn neighborhood taking photos of flowers, restaurant signs, and random street graffiti with the Instax Square SQ10 — Fujifilm's latest addition to its Instax instant camera line.
The questions were on point: The camera is (and looks) different than the ones that have come before it. For one, it's more of a square shape than previous Instax instant cameras. It also prints square (instead of rectangular) format snapshots — this is an Instagram camera for an Instagram-formatted world. But the larger distinction is that this new camera from Fujifilm, the company that made instant film cameras cool again, that merges the features of a digital camera with an instant camera. (Polaroid Pop, which will come out later this year, is another digital-instant camera hybrid).
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Where most instant cameras simply allow you to shoot and print your photo, the SQ10 lets you edit your photos on screen and store them in the internal camera roll to print at a later time. If you shoot a bad photo, you don't have to waste film printing it. You can delete the bad photos, and try again. These extra features add up to a higher price point. Where most Fujifilm Instax cameras cost less than $100, the SQ10 costs $279.95.
Ahead, take a closer look at the camera's various editing features and see why it's worth the investment.
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The Basics

The SQ10 is boxier and slightly heavier than other instant cameras, weighing in at almost a pound compared to the Instax Mini 9, which comes in at three-quarters of a pound.

The shutter control that you use to take a photo is located on the front of the camera, so it's easy to wrap your pointer finger around to take a shot. You can focus your image by holding your finger down slightly on the exposure button, activating the AE/AF lock (the same yellow box that shows up on your iPhone when you tap and hold your finger on the camera screen).

There is an additional shutter control on the front that lets you change the shooting mode, providing more options than usual. Besides the regular mode, there's bulb (which is nice at night since it adds light trails) and double exposure (where both shutters go off).

The three main editing controls on the back of the camera are similar to the ones you'll find on Instagram. You can minimize or maximize the vignette and brightness, in addition to adding a filter. You can also zoom in on an image.
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Ready, Set, Print

When you decide you're ready to print, simply press the print button and out pops your photo from the top of the camera (each pack of film comes with 10 prints). The image takes about three minutes to develop. Unlike other Instax cameras, you can choose to print four or nine thumbnails on one frame, too.

Your camera roll holds up to 50 photos, which is a major plus. I was able to go out, shoot my images, and then come home to edit them and decide which ones to print and which to delete. Without the option to save, I would have needed to edit and print on the spot — having to carry all my prints with me and risking bending them.
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Brighten Up

The option to edit means printing better photos. The difference is noticeable: The photo of the adorable puppy on the left was printed without being edit, while the photo on the right was edited by upping the brightness.

The image on the right makes it far easier to see the photo's depth and distinguish the pup from the background.
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Filter Friendly

The 10 filters available on SQ10 have different names than the ones available on Instagram, but are very similar in color. In addition to black and white Monochrome and reddish-brown Sepia filters, there's Immerse (used in the photo on the right) which adds a slightly blue tinge to parts of the photo and Marmalde, which reminded me of Instagram's Nashville filter.

The option to use filters is nice, even if you don't end up using them for all your photos. They make already old-school prints look even more retro and can help even out the color of the photos.
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Ready For A Close-Up

I was especially impressed with the SQ10's zoom capabilities. While taking a photo, or even after, you can zoom up to 2.4x. Granted, this is no 10x digital zoom like the one you get with the iPhone 7 Plus, but it's a nice bonus for an instant camera and can offer a completely new perspective on your photos.

The photo on the right takes advantage of the zoom option; I also added a vignette to darken the periphery ever so slightly.
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Instant Success

At almost $300, the SQ10 is definitely pricey. If you're already an instant camera lover looking to upgrade your game, it's definitely worth it for the added editing controls and sleek design. If you're just entering into the instant camera universe, it might be worth it to start smaller, and more affordably, with the recent Instax Mini 9.

But if you want to up your instant photo game, the SQ10 is a summer staple.
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