In a time when cameras are getting smaller and every scene becomes a digital image at a tap on a smartphone screen, are prints still relevant?
Fujifilm’s Instax SQ10 aims to prove that they are. Following the wide success enjoyed by previous Instax models as the cutest niche product for print enthusiasts and go-to girlfriend gift of the past millennium, the brand tries its hand at a digital/analog camera hybrid.
The newest Instax is a serious-looking thing
Unlike the cutesy, colorful Instax cameras of the past, the SQ10 comes in a very serious black with a clean silver finish.
Everything is square including the film
This new film is being used for the first time on the SQ10. It’s bigger than Instax Mini’s prints but smaller than Instax Wide’s.
It’s a beautiful display of symmetry
Everything from the double shutters found on both sides of the camera, to the center flash, to buttons on the rear, are designed to be completely balanced. I must admit, although the camera packs more weight than I expected, it feels really good in my hands.
And of course, it prints on film!
The defining feature of any Instax camera: its analog film printing.
But now, there are choices
The unique thing about the SQ10 is that despite developing captured images on film, the camera itself is digital. Unlike Instax predecessors that were wholly mechanical, this particular model captures photographs the same way your smartphone does. Even without printing, your photos may be safely stored in a microSD card. This camera does not have Bluetooth capabilities and, consequently, you’d have to physically plug in the memory card to another device to copy or post the digital photos online. Not a problem, really, because a cuter post would be a photo of the printed Instax itself.
Additionally, this means that a simple switch will allow you to edit photos on this camera before printing — which includes filters, vignette, and exposure. It’s basically Instagram fun transferred to a camera for printing.
There’s a learning curve, though
There is an extra layer of navigating through the camera menu when you edit before printing. That, added to the unfamiliar way the buttons are arranged, can get a little confusing — especially if you’ve never used an Instax before. Unlike using Bluetooth photo printers and digital camera printers, this camera’s controls don’t feel as intuitive to digital natives used to tapping away on touchscreens.
Then, there’s the film which, as we 90s kids know, may be overexposed and ruined with one wrong move. I don’t expect young millennial SnapChatters to get this concept right off the bat, and honestly, it can get tricky. Even aware of film’s fickle nature, I managed to waste a couple of shots.
Once you get the hang of it though, it gets fairly easy and there’s nowhere to go but… out, to take more pictures!
Is this your GadgetMatch?
Get the Instax SQ10 if you’re a sentimental, nostalgic fool who likes preserving moments, all the while being a perfectionist when it comes to #feedgoals and photography. (I say fool in the most loving way.)
One big mistake when considering getting this camera is measuring it up against digital cameras in the market. Granted, it may be a digital camera, it’s still on a league of its own. The SQ10 is Fuji’s first attempt at a hybrid, and it seems like it’s going in a pretty good direction.
There’s one thing that stops me from getting this camera, however: the very steep price. Unlike the Instax cameras of the past, this particular model isn’t so friendly to your pockets. The SQ10 retails for a whopping US$ 280, and a pack of 10 film exposures will cost you US$ 17 in the US. In the Philippines, it’s priced at PhP 14,999 for the SQ10 and PhP 550 for a box of film. Indian pricing is at INR 22,999 for the SQ10 and INR 699 for film.
[irp posts=”17533" name=”Polaroid Snap Touch Review: Print photos with a digital camera”]
4 reasons the new Instax Mini LiPlay is perfect for any occasion
Small but packed with features
Fujifilm recently announced their new hybrid instant camera, the Instax Mini LiPlay. It’s the newest addition to the company’s lineup of Instax instant cameras and by far the smallest and most lightweight in its series.
Despite being small, it’s packed with features that every girl would love to have in different situations. Here are the reasons why:
1. You get to celebrate occasions in a special way
The Instax Mini LiPlay is not your typical instant camera. It comes with an LCD so you can review photos you’ve captured, and choose which one to print.
It also has a “Sound” button which is capable of recording up to ten seconds of audio. The Instax Mini LiPlay then converts the audio’s data into a QR code and adds it to the photo printed. Users can play and replay for at least a year by scanning the QR code. This function is perfect for adding greetings, songs, and other messages you’d love to share through the printed photo.
2. Definitely a travel companion
This hybrid instant camera is different compared to Fujifilm’s instant cameras. Its promise of being the smallest and most lightweight makes it an easy-to-carry travel-sized camera (that won’t take too much space in your bag).
In addition, solo and group travelers can enjoy the remote shooting feature, which remotely takes a photo and print it on the spot using your smartphone. Furthermore, it has a direct print feature so you can transfer your photos from your smartphone and print it using the instant camera’s film. Whatever device you use, the Instax Mini LiPlay is a travel companion you’ll love to bring anywhere you go.
3. For the times when you want to express yourself
If you love shooting flat lays or OOTDs, the Instax Mini LiPlay may be useful as a prop or as an accessory. It has a stylish design that matches your aesthetic, and it comes in three beautiful colors: Stone White, Elegant Black, and Blush Gold.
Moreover, it has an array of design frames. The camera comes with ten pre-installed frames, which you can select during or after taking a photo. When you download the free Instax Mini LiPlay app, you get to enjoy 20 additional design frames.
4. Enjoy taking photos wherever you go
Say goodbye to AA batteries that make you feel like you’re using a device from the early 2000s. The Instax Mini LiPlay uses micro-USB for charging and takes two to three hours to fully charge the device. Its battery can last up to 100 printed photos. Photos are also saved onto a microSD card so you can keep on shooting until your memory card is full!
The Instax Mini LiPlay is priced at PhP 9,999 and will be available around late June to early July in the Philippines.
DJI debuts the Osmo Action, their first action camera
This is DJI’s direct answer to GoPro
When DJI released the Osmo Pocket months ago, everyone went crazy because it’s the only stabilized camera that can fit in anyone’s pocket. Now, DJI has announced another camera creation, the Osmo Action.
Focusing on the camera, it can shoot videos of up to 4K resolution at 60fps. The lens is composed of three aspherical layers which reduce glare and distortion. It even has an anti-fingerprint coating that also repels water, oil, and other smudges while shooting. In harsh light conditions, it can shoot with enhanced HDR. You can attach a neutral-density (ND) filter on it as well.
So done with gimbals? The Osmo’s action camera has RockSteady technology that combines electronic image stabilization with other complex algorithms in order to achieve shake-free footage. The camera can survive the extremes — up to 11m (or 36ft) in the deep waters, and as cold as negative 10 degrees Celsius when shooting with the device.
The camera features various creative shooting modes like 8x slow motion and the Custom Exposure Mode that can shoot as long as 120 seconds — great for capturing the dazzling night sky. A Timelapse Mode is present, as well as a Timed Shooting Mode with support for shooting RAW file format.
The device is equipped with dual screens: one at the back for controlling the device and another in the front for framing yourself. With DJI’s custom ActionOS, you can use voice control to power up and operate the device. It has a Custom Mode which lets you choose your frequently used shooting modes, while a QuickSwitch button (labeled as QS) is present to let you switch modes in an instant.
The Osmo Action is priced at US$ 349, which is about the same price as the GoPro Hero 7 Black today.
Samsung announces the world’s first 64-megapixel phone camera
Better cameras are coming!
For a while now, the smartphone photography business has hovered around 48-megapixel cameras. Last year, the market released the first 48-megapixel smartphone cameras. Since then, more smartphones have adopted the new standard. Of course, progress never stops.
Already, Qualcomm is anticipating even greater heights for smartphone photography this year. Fulfilling the prophecy, Samsung has announced the first 64-megapixel camera sensor. The brand is expanding its 0.8μm lineup, adding the 64-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL Bright GW1.
Much like other 48-megapixel sensors today, Samsung’s new shooter uses the contemporary pixel-merging Tetracell technology. Further, the sensor will improve HDR shooting capabilities. The GW1 supports an HDR of up to 100dB. According to Samsung, the current industry standard goes up to only 60dB. (The human eye can detect up to 120dB.) Samsung’s HDR images should look more realistic compared to other market offerings.
Similarly, the GW1 optimizes collected light. Basically, the sensor should have fewer problems in low-light conditions. Image sharpness is supposedly sharper as well.
For video taking, the GW1 supports Full HD recording, shooting at up to 480 frames-per-second. The new feature is a huge improvement for slow-motion videos.
Besides the 64-megapixel GW1 sensor, Samsung is also releasing a new 48-megapixel ISOCELL Bright GM2. Though lower, the 48-megapixel sensor also offers the same capabilities as the GW1.
Currently, Samsung is sampling the new sensors for the market. The brand expects to proceed with mass production in the second half of the year. Unfortunately, Samsung has not revealed which smartphones or brands are on the market. Regardless, the new development is a huge and speedy step for smartphone photography. If Qualcomm’s other predictions ring true, we’ll see 100-megapixel cameras soon, too.
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