Fujifilm’s Instax series of instant cameras is super popular, having sold more than 25 million units around the world, and the company just announced the biggest shakeup to the line yet: Instax Square. Apart from the shift to an Instagram-friendly square film format, the first Instax Square camera works in an entirely different way to the rest of the Instax line. For starters, it’s digital.
Yes, the Instax Square SQ10 uses a 3.7-megapixel digital sensor, and you can frame shots by using a 3-inch LCD on the back of the camera. There’s a 28.5mm-equivalent f/2.4 autofocus lens. The camera has ten different filters that can be applied to photos before printing, as well as vignette control and brightness adjustment. Images can be saved to internal memory or a microSD card. Instax Square film is 86mm x 72mm, with the actual photo taking up 62mm x 62mm; for comparison, standard Instax photos are 46mm x 62mm.
The thought of a film camera that applies digital filters may be somewhat horrifying to film purists, and the ability to preview and print multiple copies would seem to undermine the ephemeral, only-one-print-ever appeal of Instax. But in other ways, this could be the best Instax camera yet. Fujifilm says it’ll be much better in low light, which is totally believable, and the lens’ autofocus and close-up capabilities should also be helpful. If your criteria for good Instax performance is the number of keepers you get from a pack of film, the SQ10 should make you happy.
FujiRumors previously reported on the existence of a film-only Instax Square camera called the Instax SQ, but Fujifilm isn’t announcing that today. If all you want is a traditional Instax camera that shoots square photos, it’s probably best to wait and see if that becomes official.
The Instax SQ10 will be available next month for $279.95, which is pretty expensive for an Instax camera — even Leica’s Sofort sells for $299. But the SQ10 is, of course, more technically advanced, though it’s hard to tell just how well it’ll work without using it. 10-packs of Instax Square film, meanwhile, will cost $16.99.