Cameras

Shooting with a Fujifilm Instax SQ6: Walkthrough, review, and sample shots

Squares are fun!

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There’s still something about instant cameras that excites me. Even in the age of Instagram and digital photos, I still find myself curious about the next new shooter that’ll be able to instantly print my pictures.

Fujifilm’s newest release, the Instax SQ6, is the latest camera to feed my instant photo obsession, and it uses the square film format.

What can it do and how is it different from previous Instax releases? Keep reading.

Looking retro

Right off the bat, let me say it: This is an Instagrammable camera. It has a cool retro look that makes it look classic, but fun. It looks so nice, it can pass as a set prop. 

It comes in three colors: pearly white, slate metal black, and my favorite, a pink one.

This simple camera is pretty straightforward. Up front is a beautiful textured finish. You can find the flash, shutter button, and a selfie mirror here.

On the back is a slight grip, which houses batteries that power the device. There’s also the viewfinder, compartment for the film, and the different mode buttons.

Up top is where the film comes out, and of course, the on/off switch.

The SQ6 comes in a lightweight plastic body, but the design makes up for that. It’s not the most compact camera, but judging by how pretty it is, it seems this is a device that’s designed to be seen and shown off as opposed to being kept in a bag.

Getting started

Before anything else, let me go through loading film, as this is always the trickiest part to any new instant camera.

With the SQ6, it’s pretty simple: Load the cartridge, make sure the yellow strips match (on the cartridge and the camera) and you’re done! There’s also a counter on the lower right that shows how many shots you have left.

Now, there are a number of shooting modes on this camera. There’s automatic for normal shooting conditions, Macro mode for close-up shooting, Landscape mode, double exposure mode, and even modes to lighten or darken your shots.

The topmost button on the left controls the modes; below that is a Timer button, and under that is a Hold Flash button. Like most instant cameras, the flash goes off every time a photo is taken. If you’re in a super bright place and you want to take a photo, you can press the Hold Flash button so that the photo won’t come out as too bright. Fair warning though, the flash is automatically on for good reason.


Speaking of the flash, the camera comes with flash filters in different colors for some fancy Instax photo effects.

The SQ6 is a square format camera meaning it shoots in square film. These are available in white, and just recently, black — which looks awesome! Each cartridge houses ten shots.

Time to shoot photos!

Picture perfect?

I just love that there’s a Selfie mode on this thing. Being on this mode calibrates the settings so that it takes the best photo from as far as your selfie-taking hand can go. That selfie mirror in front really helps, too.

Of course, that was a mode I used a lot. The Double Exposure mode is pretty cool, too. When on this mode, you can press the shutter button twice and the effect is pretty trippy prints. Speaking of trippy prints, those colored filters also add a subtle color effect to photos that give them more character.

No samples from the Macro mode as I wasn’t even able to take a decent one; the photo shifts to the side when you shoot. 😅

My go-to for group photos was the timer shot. This ensures no shaky hands and wider space so that everyone can potentially fit. This yielded nice, clear photos — when we framed it right.

Admittedly, mistakes on instant cameras are pretty common, and that’s the beauty of it.

I can’t tell you how much film I wasted on shots I screwed up. Whether I accidentally pressed the shutter, framed it wrong, or cut somebody out, these are all moments that will be remembered years from now, all frozen in Instax photos.

Do I likey?

The SQ6 follows the SQ10 as part of the Instax square format camera line. But, that’s about all it follows from its semi-digital predecessor.

This camera looks retro because it is. It’s fully analog, meaning no photo saving or editing, and it runs on replaceable batteries, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Taking photos is as quick and simple as hitting the shutter button.

It’s an instant camera that’s straightforward and easy to use, which means it racked up fun points in that regard. Photo quality is definitely better compared to other instant cameras I’ve tried, and admittedly, that square black film looks great. Not to mention, it’s a pretty camera that’s very fun to use.

Yet another plus: The SQ6 retails for US$ 130 in the US, which is more than half the price of the previously released SQ10.

If you’re an avid instant camera fan and are into the old-school Instax feels, this shooter might be worth checking out. It’s a new camera with old tricks up its sleeves — and that formula actually works for it.

Cameras

Sony A9 II launches, improves speed and durability

Still made for sports photographers

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Sports photographers looking to upgrade their gear have something to look forward to with the announcement of the Sony A9 II.

This second generation camera builds upon the legacy of its predecessor. It maintains high speed performance which include blackout-free continuous shooting at up to 20 frames per second with Auto Focus and Auto Exposure tracking, 60 times per second AF/AE calculations.

The more significant updates are faster connectivity and file delivery, continuous shooting at up to 10 FPS with mechanical shutter, evolved AF performance with newly optimized algorithms, and a re-designed build to enhance durability.

The dust and moisture resistant design has been upgraded to meet the needs of professionals in the most challenging outdoor conditions.Stronger sealing provided at all body seams as well as the battery compartment cover and media slot. There’s also Improved grip configuration for better comfort and a sure hold. It’s compatible with the Sony VG-C4EM vertical grip.

Other features include an upgraded BIONZ X™ image processing engine gains maximum benefit from the sensor’s fast readout speed. Processor works with front-end LSI to enhance speed in AF/AE detection, image processing and, face detection and accuracy.

The Sony Alpha 9 II will be available in selected countries in Asia Pacific starting October 2019. Pricing will be announced at a later time.

SEE ALSO: 24 Hours in Baguio with the Sony A9

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Cameras

Canon finally brings the EOS 90D and M6 Mark II to the Philippines

The Canon refresh we’ve all been waiting for

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It was not too long ago when Canon Philippines announced EOS RP, their second full-frame mirrorless camera at a cheaper price. This time, Canon unveiled not just one, but two cameras — the Canon EOS 90D, successor to the EOS 80D from three years ago, and the EOS M6 Mark II, successor to 2017’s EOS M6.

Don’t confuse yourself

If you are confused with Canon’s camera lineup, here’s how you can differentiate them easily: Four and three-digit Canon DSLRs are for starters. Two-digit units are prosumer APS-C cameras, while one-digit models (except 6D and 7D) are full-frame DSLRs for professionals. 6D and 7D are for professionals too, just with cropped APS-C sensors.

Meanwhile, the M and R-series are Canon’s mirrorless line. In a nutshell, the M-series are shipped with APS-C sensors while the latter are equipped with full-frame sensors.

What’s new?

The Canon EOS 90D and M6 Mark II live up to their midrange powerhouse title by bringing significant upgrades over their predecessors. They both feature a larger 32.5-megapixel APS-C sensor (versus 24.2-megapixel sensor) with a newer DIGIC 8 processor.

Another major upgrade is the ability to capture 4K UHD videos. The previous models can only shoot Full HD videos in certain frame rates. The new models can also now shoot in Full HD 120p for slow-motion and/or smoother videos.

Canon has also thought of shooting better in lowlight scenarios. The lowest intensity limit can be lowered down to EV -5, which allows sharper and vivid photographs even in dark scenarios. ISO sensitivity also goes up to 25,600 in stills and 12,800 in videos.

What’s different?

As said earlier, they can both shoot 4K videos, but here’s the catch: The EOS 90D can shoot in 30p or 25p, either cropped or uncropped. The M6 Mark II is limited to 30p with no cropped option in tow.

Canon also highlights faster focus and continuous shooting speeds with these cameras. You can shoot as fast as 1/16000 sec for both cameras via electronic shutter, but only 1/4000 sec in mechanical shutter in M6 Mark II, unlike 90D’s 1/8000 sec.

The 90D has up to 10fps in viewfinder shooting (either fixed AF or AF tracking), 11fps during Live View shooting (but with fixed AF) and 7fps during Live View plus AF tracking. On he M6 Mark II, you can shoot up to 14fps, plus up to 30fps in RAW burst shooting.

Hardware-wise, the EOS 90D brings another multi-controller joystick along with the existing multi-controller to provide better tactile when it comes to selecting points when focusing a subject on screen. The M6 Mark II only relies on touch controls, plus a touch and drag function as well.

Although there is no significant difference with the equipped 3-inch Vari-angle touch LCD monitors, the EOS 90D has a Zero Lag optical viewfinder, while the M6 Mark II has none. You can buy an optional viewfinder separately, just like in the previous M6. The Eye AF (autofocus) also works both on the viewfinder and Live View with the 90D.

Major difference goes to lens choices. You can choose a wide variety of EF-S lenses for the 90D, just like what any other two-digit models can have. The M6 Mark II relies on EF-M lenses, something you can only use for Canon’s mirrorless mount. The EOS R and RP relies on newer RF lenses, while the professional DSLRs are stuck with EF lenses.

What should you get?

These cameras are not built for the same market. The EOS 90D goes for prosumers who would love to take their camera in action. The 90D is built not just for speed, but also for durability. Its dust and drip proofing make this camera a triumphant in build quality.

Canon EOS M6 Mark II

On the other hand, the EOS M6 Mark II is particularly for consumers who would love to get most of the newest camera features without compromising size and heft. It’s a versatile camera in a more stylish and compact form.

Pricing and availability

Both cameras will be available across all authorized Canon Dealers nationwide starting on October 10. The Canon EOS 90D retails for:

  • PhP 74,498 (body only)
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-55mm IS STM lens); and
  • PhP 94,498 (with 18-135mm IS USM lens)

While the EOS M6 Mark II pricing is as follows:

  • PhP 56,998 (body only)
  • PhP 62,998 (with 15-45mm kit lens); and
  • PhP 81,998 (with 18-150mm kit lens)

Promos will also apply to early buyers from October 4th until the 31st:

  • A free TIMEX Marathon Watch
  • PhP 4,000 discount on EVF-DC2 viewfinder (SRP PhP 11,998) for M6 Mark II buyers
  • PhP 1,000-worth Canon Red App points; and
  • Free pass to Canon PhotoMarathon 2019

Registering through Canon’s Red App will not only give you these promos, but also incentives such as 2-year extended warranty, unlimited CMOS cleaning for one year, free trial of lenses up to 3x, earn points to claim gifts and vouchers, and the ability to join and avail Canon-exclusive programs in the Philippines.

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Cameras

Sony launches the A6600 and the A6100 mirrorless cameras

Can focus on subjects in just 0.02 seconds!

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Even with recent camera launches, Sony is already expanding its camera family once again. Announced today, the company will launch two new APS-C mirrorless cameras. The flagship Alpha A6600 will replace 2016’s popular A6500 model. Meanwhile, the lower-tier Alpha A6100 will succeed the A6000 model.

Like its predecessor, the Alpha A6600 sports a 24.2-megapixel APS-C image sensor. It also comes with in-body 5-axis image stabilization, Real-Time AF tracking, and Real-Time Eye AF tracking. With 425 phase-detect points, the camera can track subjects in real time for both photo and video modes.

More importantly, the Alpha A6600 will feature Sony’s AI-powered Z-Bionz image processing tech. With the new technology, the flagship model can focus on a subject in an astonishing 0.02 seconds. As such, it can shoot in a blazing-fast 11 shots per second. Inside, the camera is also speedy. The new BIONZ X image processing system touts almost twice the processing speed of its predecessor.

The Alpha A6600 is also armed with impressive video-taking capabilities. The camera can take videos in 4K resolution. For ease of use, it comes with a 180-degree rear touch screen and a headphone/microphone jack.

Finally, the camera will have a larger Z-battery inside the package. Supposedly, it will last much longer than the previous A6500. More specifically, the battery will shoot up to 720 shots on just one charge.

The Alpha 6600 will launch in November for US$ 1,400. It also comes in a package with an 18-135mm kit lens for a pricier US$ 1,800.

For the budget conscious, the upcoming Alpha 6100 will pack almost the same features as the Alpha A6600 — except for the headphone jack or the bigger battery. For a lesser package, the camera will retail for US$ 750. Like the flagship model, a packaged variant with a 16-50mm kit lens will retail for US$ 850. Finally, a larger 55-210mm lens package will retail for US$ 1,100.

SEE ALSO: Sony’s A7R IV has a massive 61MP sensor

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