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

myFirst Insta Wi lets kids take and print photos, labels

Instant camera and printer in one!

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Photo by Oaxis Singapore

All-in-one instant cameras and printers aren’t new, but they’re not entirely kid-friendly. This is why myFirst — a kids tech collection by Oaxis in Singapore — decked out its newest product called myFirst Insta Wi.

It follows its previous models, bringing a 16-megapixel digital camera on its rear and a wide-angle selfie lens that lets you take crisp photos and print them in just 10 seconds.

Its newly added selfie camera sits above the 2.4-inch IPS screen — which also allows you to shoot full HD videos.

The Insta Wi comes with low-cost thermal paper and sticker thermal paper, perfect for printing photos and stunning labels.

There’s a dedicated app that lets you customize labels by drawing, typing text, or symbols. With an added Wi-Fi feature, you can bring the device and print stuff whenever you want.

More importantly, it comes with a memory card slot so you can save photos taken — which you can print elsewhere as colored photographs.

Since it’s designed to be lightweight for comfortable usage, kids will surely have fun using an all-in-one camera and portable printer for their adventures at home and outdoors.

Support the Kickstarter campaign

The myFirst Insta Wi is up on Kickstarter for a campaign, costing EUR 59/USD 69. The campaign’s target is to reach EUR 7250/USD 10,000 until October 14, 2021.

The official campaign starts on September 14, 2021. For more information, visit its Kickstarter page.

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Cameras

FUJIFILM reveals the GFX50S II medium format camera

This is by far their cheapest medium format camera

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It hasn’t even been a year ever since FUJIFILM announced the GFX100S, and now it has a new, yet more affordable, medium format sibling. Just a refresher, the GFX50S II (read as GFX50S Mark II) is the successor to 2017’s GFX50S.

Medium format camera for less

The FUJIFILM GFX50 S II has a 51.4-megapixel large-format sensor that’s 1.7 times bigger than a 50-megapixel 35mm full-frame sensor you’ll find on most high-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras nowadays. This means you get better image quality whenever you take photographs.

What makes this different is its specialized design. This camera uses smaller light-collecting micro lenses on the image sensor in order to create wider gaps between pixels. Not only does this result to sharper images, it also brings better ISO sensitivity, dynamic range, and better post-processing flexibility.

With a new Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function, the FUJIFILM GFX50S II can capture and generate 200-megapixel images without lapses in color presentation. This works by recording and combining 16 RAW images into one DNG (Digital Negative) RAW file via its “Pixel Shift Combiner” software.

A GFX100S minus the 102-megapixel image sensor

Some things stay the same though — but it’s not a bad thing. Just like the GFX100S, it weighs at just 900g (1.9lb). It also has a magnesium alloy body for utmost robustness and durability without sacrificing heft. The camera is also weather-sealed, dust and moisture-resistant, and most of all, can work in cooler places under -10ºC (or 14ºF). It even has the same 3.2-inch LCD monitor with support for tilting that an EVF (electronic viewfinder) cannot always shoot in high and low-angle shooting.

Moreover, the FUJIFILM GFX50S II is powered by the similar X-Processor 4 quad-core processor which fusions its high-speed image processing together with ultra-fast and high-precision Auto Focus (AF) system. The latest algorithm brings more life to the photos captured by this camera.

Stable, sharp shots

It even has the same 5-axis IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) but unlike the GFX100S, the GFX50S II is able to bring up to 6.5-stops of Vibration Reduction — which is the highest in the history of its kind. This became possible with a high-performance gyro sensor and accelerometer that can both detect motions with high accuracy rate. This just means you’ll get less-blurred shots with sharp details and more precise Face / Eye Detection as well as subject tracking.

For easier operability, it has six customizable C1-C6 controls that can be modified and assigned depending on your liking. There’s even a switch between shooting Stills and Videos for added convenience so you don’t have to rotate the Mode dial all the way. There’s even a 1.8-inch sub LCD monitor at the top for better control of the EXIF settings.

Lastly, FUJIFILM’s signature Film Simulation is still here and were not left behind. You can choose between 19 different presets designed for different types of subjects and scenes. An effect can be seen directly an image through Live View.

A new FUJINON lens

The FUJINON GF35-70mm F/4.5-5.6 WR is FUJIFILM’s new interchangeable zoom lens for their large-format GFX cameras. It weighs just around 390g, making it a total of only 1300g when paired with the GFX100S or the GFX50S II. Despite it being lightweight, it’s great lens that delivers high-resolution images with fast AF performance as well.

This is an 11-elements lens with one aspherical element and two ED elements in nine groups. Paired with a stepping motor, operability is silent when shooting fast subjects while still being able to retain focus and sharpness. Just like the new FUJIFILM GFX50S II, the lens is also dust and moisture-resistant that works in sandy deserts or tropical rainforests and can withstand temperatures below -10ºC or 14ºF.

Two new XF lenses, too

Other than the new GF lens, FUJIFILM also brings two new lenses for the X Series: the FUJINON XF 23mm and XF 33mm f/1.4 II LM WR. While they’re different in the size of focal lengths, they actually share the same aperture of f/1.4 with nine aperture blades. This not only provides brighter shots with less noise at night, it also brings the best of shallow Depth of Field while still being able to preserve sharper images.

Both of these lenses consist of 15 lens elements with two aspherical and three ED elements in 10 groups that reduces chromatic and spherical aberration when shooting. They even possess a silent yet fast and highly-accurate AF system. This is meant for photographers who love to capture fast-moving subjects.

Best of all? They’re also dust and moisture-resistant at 11 locations. The ability to withstand cold temperatures is still here so you can shoot astrophotography shots even in colder nights.

More lenses to come

If you’re a heavy FUJIFILM user, there are a total of 17 G-mount lenses being developed for the GFX series. One of them is a tilt and shift lens that can correct image distortions to produce undistorted photographs — more helpful in architecture shots.

For the X-Series, the current 2021 lens roadmap will bring a total of 40 interchangeable X-mount lenses. There’s the XF 18-120mm catered for videographers who rely on versatile zoom lenses. There’s also the XF150-600mm ultra-telephoto zoom lens ideal for wildlife and sports photography. Despite the long focal distance, it will actually be compact and lightweight lens meant for the XF camera line.

Pricing and Availability

A body-only FUJIFILM GFX50S II retails for PhP 223,990 and goes up to PhP 251,990 if you’ll buy it with its GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR kit lens. Both of these will be available by the end of September 2021. Practically speaking, it costs just like the usual full-frame cameras out there.

If you’ll compare it with FUJIFILM’s recent medium format camera releases, you’ll get a price cut of more than PhP 200,000 to 400,000. This makes it the cheapest medium-format camera available so far.

Meanwhile, you can grab it as early as September 9 until the 25th and enjoy their exclusive pre-order perks including:

  • Free 1-piece NP-W235 (worth PhP 3,990)
  • Free 1-piece BC-W235 Dual Battery CHarger (worth PhP 3,990)
  • Exclusive GFX workshop with FUJIFILM X-Photographer

For more details, just look at the pre-order mechanics below.

FUJINON Lenses

If you just want the lenses, you have to wait a little bit before you get your hands on them. The pricing and availability of the new FUJINON lenses (plus one lens hood) are as follows:

  • GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR – PhP 55,990 (Late November 2021 release)
  • XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR – PhP 45,990 (Late September 2021 release)
  • XF 23mm f/1.4R LM WR – PhP 55,990 (November 2021 release)
  • LH-XF23 II Lens Hood – PhP 3,990 (November 2021 release)
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Accessories

Dell UltraSharp Webcam promises a premium experience

A 4k webcam is on your way from Dell!

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Dell Ultrasharp

Dell introduced Dell UltraSharp Webcam, which was designed to give users a seamless webcam experience. Dependency on video conferencing is expected to continue as remote work is expected to be the norm moving forward. Additionally, Dell’s newest webcam promises best-in-class image quality, intelligence, and seamless experiences. True-to-life clarity, mounting options, and intelligence for customization and security are added features fr their 4K webcam.

The Dell UltraSharp Webcam provides 4K image quality and produces sharp video quality in any lighting condition. Taking inspiration from DSLR cameras, the Dell UltraSharp Webcam features a large 4K Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor and multi-element lens that captures more light. 

Regardless of lighting conditions, the Digital Overlap HDR capability in this Dell UltraSharp webcam helps preserve true-to-life colors and balanced exposure. The 3D/2D video noise reduction eliminates grainy images, ensuring images are captured clearly even in low light. 

Built-in security features

Dell is commited to developing intelligent products across its business PCs. The Dell UltraSharp Webcam is accompanied by intelligent features to adapt to any set-up and situation. Users will experience the Auto-framing feature that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to keep them in focus and center in every frame. Users can also customize their field of view from 65°, 78° and 90°, plus 5x digital zoom.

Windows Hello allows users to sign in securely using facial recognition. It is also embedded with Dell ExpressSign-in feature that enables proximity sensors on the webcam.  This detects the user’s presence as they approach and automatically logs the user out when they step away.

Price and availability

The Dell Ultrasharp Webcam is already available today at these prices — PhP 21,500 / SG$ 284 / US$ 199.99

 

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