Fujifilm Instax cameras can be counted among the best instant cameras on the market, and it’s amazing just how many iterations there are.
On a recent trip to Japan, I was impressed to see dozens of different themes applied to the existing Fujifilm Instax camera range. Hello Kitty, Minions and of course Pokemon themes were added to make the camera bodies look like animated creatures. A clever marketing idea given the following those particular brands have, especially in Japan.
At the other end of the design spectrum is the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 instant film camera. This is the first Instax camera that utilised the new Fujifilm Instax Square film over the traditional Instax Mini film.
When it comes to design, the camera is very square and very simplistic and in no way replicates an animation character.
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is a very simple shoot and print version of an Instax camera. There is no digital hybrid system as found in other Instax models that allow you to preview the image before you choose to print or delete it.
…yet there is something very analogue about shooting an image and being bound by whatever prints out.
The greatest appeal of this camera is the Fujifilm Instax Square film that provides more print real estate and allows for more story to be captured.
The other appeal may just be the special Taylor Swift edition released at a higher price point to the standard version, making this the best camera for an 11-year-old who’s into T-Swizzle!
Many thanks to Instax Australia for supplying us with the review unit.
Table of Contents
Fujifilm Instax SQ6 Specs
- Instant gratification with instant printing
- Well designed with good ergonomics and strap support
- Simple functions suitable for anyone to use
- No rechargeable battery
- Costly consumables
- Available in Blush Gold, Pearl White, Graphite Grey and Taylor Swift Black
- Automatic exposure control
- Multiple shooting modes
- Strobe coloured filters
- Retractable lens at F1/12.6
- 118.7 mm x 128.1 mm x 58.1 mm (4.7″ x 5.0″ x 2.3″)
- 393 g/13.9 oz. (without battery, strap, and film pack)
Build & Appearance
Unlike some of the earlier models of the Fujifilm Instax cameras that felt light and flimsy, the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is quite solid and weighty.
It feels oversized when you’re holding it but when you consider the size of the Fujifilm Instax Square film cartridge you have to load inside the camera, the size makes sense.
It’s a very square camera, perhaps to replicate the introduction of the new square film.
The squareness of the camera is softened slightly by the light curves on its edges. The front of the SQ6 is dominated by a large silver ring that holds the retractable lens that shifts in response to the selection of various shooting modes.
This area also includes a sliding lens cover and a small selfie mirror to make taking selfies easier.
The shutter release button is to one side of the lens ring and is flush with the camera body to avoid accidental presses.
The top right features a flash that can have coloured filters attached (these are included) to achieve a different effect on the images.
Each side of the camera has a sturdy metal lug for attaching the included Fujifilm branded camera strap.
The strap is of a good length for keeping the camera on your front ready to bring up to eye level. It’s also straight-forward to attach and easy to secure.
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 looks stylish and modern with some hints of retro styling – especially given the strong use of geometrical shapes.
The rear of the camera is occupied by the large square door that is used to install new film cartridges or removed used ones. To one side of this are a Mode, Self Timer and Flash button.
Across the top of this backside of the camera, there are small diagrams of the various shooting modes and these are indicated by tiny LED lights.
To the right of the film cartridge door, there is the optical viewfinder and a thumb rest to provide greater grip when holding the camera. Finally, on top of the camera, there is the felted-slot where the printed film ejects from.
Ergonomics & Handling
The front and rear surfaces of the camera have small grooves etched into the molded plastic body. When holding the camera in either traditional or selfie mode, this provides a greater amount of grip, especially when combined with the protruding thumb grip on the back of the camera.
Given the size and weight of the Fujifilm Instax SQ6, I’m glad that it comes with an included neck strap. To hand-hold it for a long period of time would cause some strain.
I’m used to cameras having a viewfinder either in the centre of the camera body or to the very left of the body rangefinder style. This camera has an optical viewfinder only and it’s located to the far right of the camera body.
I found this quite an awkward placement given that I’m holding the camera with my right hand on the very same side of the camera.
The buttons are of a suitable size and are flush with the camera body to prevent any accidental presses.
The Mode button on the Instax SQ6 allows you to select one of the seven modes. Whilst a change in shooting mode alters how the retractable lens moves to achieve focus, this does not change the view in the viewfinder.
For me, this resulted in some images having a closer subject out of frame. After some practice, however, you easily get the hang of how close or far away to stand to get a fully framed shot.
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 has an automatic focusing system that allows for the focus to be gained.
Given that the aperture on this camera is a fixed f/12.6, anything from around a meter to infinity is going to be in focus – that’s provided there is good light and that the subject or camera is not moving.
Low Light Performance
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 provides two ways to control the light when shooting in low light. The first is through the use of the built-in flash that can be suppressed or always on.
The flash can also support the addition of physical coloured filters that are included with the camera.
The second way to control light is to use the Mode function button to select the L option, which lightens the image considerably.
This is not a true ISO change and does not have any impact on the ability of the camera to achieve function in low light. Again, this is a true analogue shooting experience where having the right lighting is crucial.
The image quality produced by the range of Fujifilm Instax cameras is quite good and those produced by the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is no different.
It is important to keep in mind that this kind of instant printed image is not going to be of a high resolution. This is especially the case for images shot in low light where image noise is evident.
Images shot in good light and from a good distance are relatively sharp and clear, however, the tiniest amount of camera shake will show up in the final image.
With the prints from this Instax camera, the colours are reproduced accurately and the level of contrast is good. In lower light, the contrast areas can blend and give a muddy quality to the printed image.
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is another great entry into the Fujifilm Instax camera range – especially given that it is the first camera from Fujifilm to print in the square format.
The bigger sized film has not impacted the overall size of the camera, unlike the Fujifilm Instax Wide, which was a giant camera that required two hands to shoot.
The Instax SQ6 comes with a basic range of features and shooting modes that is perfectly aligned to its intended purpose and overall analogue functionality.
There is the ability to pre-lighten or pre-darken the exposure and/or use a flash depending on your lighting conditions. Other modes include Auto, Landscape, Macro and even a double exposure mode.
The SQ6 will even adjust its focal distance when Selfie Mode is selected to compensate for how far away you hold the camera for such a shot.
Value for Money
The Fujifilm Instax SQ6 retails for around US$100, which puts it in the middle of the price range for all Fujifilm Instax cameras.
Personally, I think that this is a fair price for such a fun little camera that gives you a physical print and lasting memory of a moment in time.
The flip side to the price of any Fujifilm Instax camera is the cost of consumables.
The cost of the Fujifilm Instax film is always worth considering for those wanting to buy an Instax camera. For a 10 pack of Fujifilm Instax Square film, you can expect to pay around US$12.
This is even more expensive than the Fujifilm Instax Mini 10 packs, but of course, you are getting a larger film size with the square film.
Another consideration with the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is that it is not rechargeable but rather uses two CR2 batteries.
Perhaps this was a choice made by Fujifilm to keep the overall cost of the camera down at retail, however, it seems odd given the availability of rechargeable battery technology via USB mini cables.
Fujifilm Instax SQ6 Review | Conclusion
I really enjoy getting my hands on and shooting with the Fujifilm Instax range of cameras, and the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is no exception.
I love the simplistic analogue nature of the camera as I have to be thoughtful about my composition and lighting more so than when shooting with a digital camera.
The shot I take is the print I get – just like back in the film days.
I could see this camera suiting any demographic including kids learning photography for the first time and young people at a party capturing fun images to stick on the fridge during the event.
I have even used Fujifilm Instax cameras in my event photography at a 21st Birthday Party where guests could take the shot and paste it into a blank book with a message to the birthday boy. At times like these, it provides instant gratification.
Above all, the Fujifilm Instax SQ6 is a fun entry-level Instax camera with a larger print size that will please those that felt that the Fujifilm Instax Mini prints were too small.