Go square or go home


HWM (Malaysia) - - APERTURE - by Michael Low

FUJIFILM’s in­stant cam­eras – par­tic­u­larly the in­stax mini se­ries – have been around for al­most two decades, but it was in re­cent years that they saw a boom in pop­u­lar­ity among fe­male users, youth, and par­ty­go­ers. Af­ter all, it’s a fun and easy way to have your im­promptu mo­ments cap­tured and printed on the same de­vice. The rise of Instagram and Snapchat soon swayed that very same au­di­ence in fa­vor of up­ping their selfie game with face-chang­ing ef­fects and mood-al­ter­ing fil­ters. Sens­ing an op­por­tu­nity to bridge the di­vide be­tween print and dig­i­tal once more, FUJIFILM re­leased the in­stax SQUARE SQ10, which also led to the in­tro­duc­tion of an all-new ‘in­stax SQUARE’ film for­mat.

Like the in­stax mini and in­stax WIDE, the films are sold in a pack of 10. Each of the 72 x 85.6 mm film houses a 62 x 62 mm im­age that mim­ics 1:1 Instagram ra­tio. In keep­ing with the square theme, the cam­era is squar­ish in shape and comes with rounded edges and strate­gi­cal­ly­placed in­den­ta­tions for a com­fort­able hold. It’s pos­si­ble to sit it up­right dur­ing photo print­ing, and there are two des­ig­nated holes to se­curely at­tach your cam­era strap. Look be­low and you’ll find the bat­tery com­part­ment on one side, and the Mi­cro-USB and mi­croSD card slots on the other. Nat­u­rally, the film dis­penser slot sits on top, while the tri­pod hole can be found at the base of the cam­era.

We should prob­a­bly men­tion that the cam­era body also un­der­went a small, but sig­nif­i­cant change. This time around, the flash and lens are cen­tered, the lat­ter which makes for a more ac­cu­rate com­po­si­tion, while two shut­ter but­tons are po­si­tioned where the user’s in­dex fin­gers typ­i­cally rest. The lens ex­te­rior – dressed in a cir­cu­lar spun­metal fin­ish – dou­bles as a power ring that activates the cam­era in just two sec­onds. Be­tween auto and man­ual shoot­ing, we’d pre­fer to go with the lat­ter, as the photos are saved into in­ter­nal mem­ory (or mi­croSD card should one be in­serted), to be printed at your leisure.

There are 10 fil­ters to choose from, along with bright­ness and vi­gnette con­trols. In­ter­est­ingly, you can still make changes to the saved im­ages, com­bine mul­ti­ple im­ages into a col­lage of four or nine sub-photos, or ex­per­i­ment with dou­ble­ex­po­sure and long-shut­ter cap­tures. Our test photos turned out well, very much in line with the Instagram aes­thet­ics, though some may balk at the price of the cam­era and film packs.

CON­CLU­SION An in­ter­est­ing hy­brid cam­era that’s pricier than its mini si­b­lings.

Con­trols are self-ex­plana­tory.

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