Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Review
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Fujifilm’s new Instax Square SQ6 is the company’s first instant analogue camera to use the square Instax film. Although the SQ10 also uses it, the SQ10 is basically a digital camera with an inbuilt printer, whereas the Instax Square SQ6 is a completely analogue camera.
It features a fixed aperture, fixed focal length lens, with fully automatic operation. It takes 2x CR2 batteries, with an estimated battery life of 30 film packs (300 shots). At the time of writing, a pack of Instax square film retails for around £8.99.
Instax square film is 1.3x larger than Instax mini film, with a measurement of 86x72mm. There’s also a new black frame Instax film available as well as the standard white option.
Available in three colours, Graphite Grey, Pearl White and Blush Gold, we have been using the latter option for our review. The Instax Square SQ6 is available to buy for around £124.99.
Ease of Use
As an instant camera, the Instax Square SQ6 is reasonably large - it’s reasonably close in size to the SQ10, but it’s a little lighter. While you’re certainly not going to be able to squeeze this in your pocket, when switched off, you can happily fit it into a small bag or similar.
The camera is also much smaller than the only other fully analogue camera currently on the market using the Instax Square format film - the Lomo’Instant Square. It’s also much quicker to go from the off position, to the on position, with everything fully automated with no need to manually extend any part of the camera before you get going. It’s also considerably cheaper than the Lomo’Instant Square too.
When you switch on the camera, the front lens elements extends from the body of the camera - a switch on the top of the camera can be used to switch it on and off.
|Front of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6|
Loading Instax film is very easy - all you need to do is open the rear door and line-up the yellow mark on the film pack with a reasonably obvious notch on the camera body. Once you’re ready, close the film door - you’ll need to fire off the shutter release to eject the film pack’s protective film first and you’re good to go. On the back of the film door is a small window which you can use to see if there is indeed any film loaded on the back - this is good to know just as a double reminder not to open the back of the film door with film inside it - if you do, then any remaining film will be exposed to light and ruined.
It would be fair to say that the Instax Square SQ6 is not the most ergonomic camera in the world, but there is a grip on the rear of the camera (which holds the 2x CR2 batteries). It’s a little bit awkward to hold as there’s nowhere for your second hand to really go as the lens is in the way. While the batteries supplied with the camera are not rechargable, being as a set is rated to last around 300 shots - that’s 30 packs, or an eye-watering £270 on film - you’ll probably find that you won’t be replacing them very often anyway. Interestingly, the ergonomics of the camera are perhaps slightly improved when you’re holding it to face forwards to take a selfie - perhaps Instax felt it was more important for it to be easy to use when shooting selfies than anything else.
Although the camera is pretty much fully automatic, there are a few different shooting modes which you can choose between. In order to do so, you can press the Mode button on the back of the camera - you’ll see a series of icons at the top of the camera which have an LED indicator to show you which mode you’re shooting in.
|Rear of the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6|
Here you’ll find A (automatic), selfie mode, macro mode, landscape mode, double exposure, darken and lighten. These are mostly self-explanatory - selfie and macro appear to be pretty much the same mode, while darken and lighten changes the exposure by around 2/3 of a stop either way. Frustratingly, it doesn’t appear that you can combine modes together - for example it would be useful if you could use darken with landscape mode, if you’re shooting in very bright light.
A couple of other buttons of note are the timer button and the flash button. The timer gives you 10 seconds to compose yourself - a mirror on the front of the camera helps to ensure you (and your friends) are in shot. Meanwhile, the flash button simply turns the flash off - the flash is on by default, with Fuji recommending that it be left on in most cases, especially indoors. The flash itself is accompanied by a set of three coloured plastic “gels” which simply slot over the top of the flash - if using any of these, it’s recommended that you up the brightness setting a little.
To compose your image, you can use the small finder on the top right hand corner of the camera. This is useful when you’re photographing a subject at least a couple of metres away. A circle which is visible in the viewfinder helps you to get a good idea of what will be in the frame, but as is pretty much always the case with instant photography, it’s a little bit of trial and error figuring out what is likely to be in the shot and what isn’t - especially when you’re shooting close-up.
|The Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 In-hand|
Using the macro or selfie mode gives you a focusing distance between 30cm and 50cm, while using the normal mode gives you a focusing distance between 50cm and 2 metres. Finally, the landscape mode gives you a focusing distance of 2 metres “and beyond”, making it best suited for subjects which are in the distance. As far as I can tell, “double exposure” mode has the same focusing distance as “normal” mode. When using this mode, you can combine two exposures onto the same shot - by default the flash is left on, but you can switch it off for just one or both of the shots if you prefer.
When you’re ready to take a shot, the shutter release button is on the front of the camera and requires a fairly firm press. The image will pop out of the slot at the top - it takes roughly 90 seconds for the image to start appearing, with it developing fully over the next few minutes.
To the right of the film door is a small window which shows you how many shots you’ve got left in your current film pack. You only have 10 shots per pack, so it’s always worth having a spare pack while out travelling if possible, so you can take more shots as and when you need to.
Included in the box is a strap for the Instax Square SQ6. You can attach this to the camera by hooking it onto the two strap holders on the side of the camera.