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

GoPro HERO9 Black launched with improvements across the board

5K videos below $500?!

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GoPro has released the latest iteration of its flagship camera. The new GoPro HERO9 Black brings major improvements across the board from bigger resolution to a whole new display upfront. It also brings battery life and performance improvements over its predecessors.

The main highlight of HERO9 Black is its improved camera resolution. This year, GoPro is upping the resolution for photo stills: it can now shoot 20-megapixel images. This is a considerable improvement over its predecessor’s 12-megapixel photo still.

Video performance has been given a boost too. Users can now shoot up to 5K videos on this camera. However, frame rates are limited to 30fps so users should stick to 4K for recording 60fps videos. HyperSmooth 3.0 is here too, bringing in-camera horizon leveling.

This year, GoPro is also bringing back a huge, missing feature from last year’s HERO8: detachable lens cover. The company is introducing a “Max Lens” mod this October to make use of the feature. This mod brings ultra-wide lens and max HyperSmooth technology allowing for a more cinematic effect.

Speaking of mods, users can still select from a variety of choices such as media mod, light mod, and display mod.

Another addition to the GoPro HERO9 Black is an LCD color display on the front. As such, users can now preview images and videos on the fly without resorting to the display on the back.

Meanwhile, the display on the back also gets some nifty upgrades. The company is sticking a bigger 2.27-inch touchscreen display this time around, which is a boost from its predecessor’s 1.95-inch display.

To accommodate all these improvements, HERO9 Black comes with a bigger 1,720mAh removable battery. The company touts 30% more battery life with this when compared against the HERO8.

Pricing and availability

The GoPro HERO9 Black is now available to purchase for US$ 449.99. It can also be had for US$ 349.98 when purchased with a GoPro Plus subscription. Each purchase comes with an included 32GB SD card to get users up to speed.

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Cameras

The Sony Alpha 7C is a compact full-frame camera

World’s first smallest and lightest full-frame camera

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If you’ve been waiting for a full-frame camera that’s easy to carry around then this latest from Sony was made just for you. The Sony Alpha 7C is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera.

The new camera features a 24.2MP (approx. effective) 35mm full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine, offering high sensitivity, outstanding resolution, 15-stop6 wide dynamic range and high-speed image data processing.

At 124.0mm x 71.1mm x 59.7mm and weighing just 509g , the Alpha 7C is a similar size and weight to an APS-C camera. Sony achieves this build through upgraded 5-axis in-body stabilization and shutter units, and the utilization of monocoque construction, which is often used in the bodies of cars and aircrafts.

Full-frame image quality, Advanced Autofocus

Standard ISO extends up to 51,200 and is expandable to ISO 50-204,80012 for low-light environment captures with low noise. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW output13 for natural gradations.

The Sony Alpha 7C is also equipped with Sony’s vaunted autofocus tech. It has the Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals feature. In addition, “Tracking On + AF-On” is now assignable to a custom key. It can  be activated at once while the AF-ON button is pressed.

It locks onto the intended subject instantly without losing focus, thanks to its 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system covering approximately 93% of the image area, with an additional 425 contrast-detection points to ensure reliable focus, even in busy environments.

The Alpha 7C also features continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with AF/AE and it’s also possible to shoot continuously at up to 8 fps17 in live view mode, with minimal viewfinder/monitor display lag for easy, stable framing, even with intense subject motion.

Shoot 4K video

Full-frame full-pixel readout without the need for pixel binning makes it possible to capture
more than twice20 the amount of data required for 4K video (QFHD: 3840 x 2160). It’s then oversampled to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.

In addition, the Alpha 7C supports HDR (HLG21) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fps3 and other advanced video features which offer exceptional video capabilities to capture high quality video footage.

The Alpha 7C features a side-opening vari-angle LCD monitor, making it easy to record selfies, overhead shots, low ground-level shots or whatever the user requires. The Movie button has been placed on the top of the camera making it easier to operate while recording in selfie mode.

A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe, allowing the ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected to input digital audio signals directly to the MI shoe for cleaner, clearer audio recordings.

New lens perfect for the Sony Alpha 7C

Launching alongside the Alpha 7C are the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 and the HVL-F28RM.

The new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 offers the world’s smallest and lightest form factor in a standard zoom lens. From everyday shooting to scenery, portraits and travel, it’s the ideal lens for any type of on-the-go shooting in a wide variety of environments.

The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is dust and moisture resistant and accepts a variety of 40.5mm filters.

The HVL-F28RM is a compact flash designed to match Sony’s mirrorless cameras for a compact, manageable system. This compact, easy-to-use flash unit delivers the capabilities and dependability to meet the needs of both professional and advanced amateur content creators.

Pricing and availability

The new Alpha 7C compact full-frame camera will retail for US$ 1799.99 (body only)/ US$ 2,099.99 (with kit lens) and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from October 2020.

The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will retail for US$ 499.99  and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from January 2021.

The HVL-F28RM flash will retail for US$ 249.99 and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from November 2020.

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Apps

Imaging Edge Webcam lets you use Sony cameras for video calls, live streams

Adapting to the new normal

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If you’ve been working from home, chances are you’ve attended more than your fair share of video calls. If you have a Sony camera, you can elevate the quality of your video with the new Imaging Edge Webcam app.

Considering we’re months into being quarantined already, Sony sure took their time in launching this product. That said, it should still be a welcome addition for anyone who might possibly need it.

It currently only supports Windows 10 64bit so you might have to wait a while if you’re using a Mac. You may download the desktop app here.

The Sony cameras supported are: Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III,
Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, ZV-1.

There are more cameras supported and we’ll update this article once we have the full list.

Quick note for anyone who will use it: The aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9. It will remain set to 16:9 after using Imaging Edge Webcam, so set it to the previous value if necessary.

SEE ALSO: The Sony A7S III is a low light video beast

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