Appareil photo instantané Instax Square SQ6 de Fujifilm

Review: Instax Square SQ6 (Fujifilm)



After releasing the Instax Square SQ10 in 2017, the first Fujifilm Instax device to produce a square format picture, the Japanese brand is now expanding its range with a new model that goes back to the basics: the SQ6. Let’s see how the SQ6 differs from the SQ10 and what it has to offer to people tempted by the instant experience.

The Instax Square SQ10 was obviously an innovative product. With this camera, Fujifilm introduced a new square film format into its large family of Instax instant cameras. Then, this hybrid model, comparable in some ways to a printer, broke the codes of the snapshot industry by allowing photographers to edit their images on the camera screen and choose which ones they want to print out. Those who enjoy printed photography but don’t like dealing with failed shots will be reassured with the SQ10. On the other hand, purists could blame the device’s over-sophistication, betraying the spirit of the instant photography.

The SQ6 corrects this point by adding a purely analog member to the Square family. This device does not use its older brother’s technologies and offers a more competitive price.

Design and ergonomics

The SQ6 and SQ 10 have in common that they use the same type of film however, the SQ 6, while having its own specific look, has a similar design to devices from the Instax family.
The lens occupies a large portion of the front panel, which deploys automatically when the camera is switched on. It retracts and shifts to three different positions, depending on the selected shooting mode. On either side of the lens, the ribbed surface has a complementary color to the body of the camera. Three colors were available for the launch of the SQ6: anthracite grey (Graphite Grey), white (Pearl White), gold (Blush Gold). The blue and red colors quickly followed.
The shutter release is a round button, as always with Instax devices, and is located on the left side, under the right index finger when the device is held.
The front panel of the SQ6 has an interesting look, both modern and retro, which is reminiscent of the Instagram logo.

The model name is located on the front, just above the lens.
The small Fujifilm logo appears on the top center, and next to the slot through which the photos are ejected. It is close to the on/off switch that turns the camera on.
Not surprisingly, most of the back is occupied by the film cartridge loading hatch. The back also has a striated texture that looks like the one the front.
Most of the controls are located on the back.

On the left, two buttons allow you:

  • To activate or deactivate the flash,
  • To activate or deactivate the self-timer
  • A third button, the Mode button, allows you to browse through the different camera settings.

A series of symbols aligned at the top light up to indicate which mode is activated. Each time you press the mode button, you switch from one mode to another.

All controls are located on the back of the unit.

All controls are located on the back of the unit.

The viewfinder is shapped like a tiny little dormer window located on the back, in the upper right-hand corner.
The camera is turned on via an On/Off switch located on top, next to the picture ejection slot.
A small window, located at the bottom near the battery compartment, shows you the number of shots left on the cartridge.
The bottom of the camera has a screw thread to fix the camera to a tripod.

Functions and handling

Let’s look in detail at the different modes that can be used to shoot. We switch from one to the other by pressing successively on the Mode button, as described earlier. There are 7 different modes and they’re pretty similar to those of the 90 Neo Classic. It’s not a stretch to say that they precisely reproduce those of this model, with the exception of the Selfie mode, which isn’t present on the 90 Neo Classic (but is present on the Instax Mini 9 and Instax Mini 70, which are more recent models).

In order, we have:

  • The Auto mode
  • The Selfie mode
  • The Macro mode
  • The Landscape mode
  • Double Exposure mode
  • And the last two modes, modes L and D

The Auto mode

The Auto mode, the “basic” mode, is the one that is activated when you turn on the camera. It is suitable for most situations, over relatively close distances, ranging from 50 cm to 2 meters.

The Selfie mode

Not surprisingly, the Instax Square SQ6 is equipped with a selfie mode—an essential function that has become an important marketing argument. It can be found on all the latest instant camera released by Fujifilm. On the Instax Square, selfies are composed with the help of a mirror placed near the lens, and a specially designed shooting mode, which optimizes sharpness over a short distance. With the camera held at arm’s length, pictures taken with this mode are generally quite sharp.

The Macro mode

For close-up shots, it is best to use the Macro mode. It ensures sharpness over a range of 30 to 50 cm. Be careful to adjust your frame by placing your subject slightly higher and to the right of the center of the viewfinder. In fact, the Macro mode is probably identical to the Selfie mode. The lens is set to the same setting for both modes.

The Landscape mode

This is the best setting to use when you’re focusing on deep landscapes. Subjects that are more than 2 meters away, such as groups of people for example, should be shot in this mode.

Double Exposure Mode

Creative and adventurous people will appreciate the Double Exposure mode. This feature should be used in moderation, but some have turned the practice into an art form, producing truly creative jewels. This mode is activated by a button on the edge of the device. When this mode is activated, the first shot does not eject a picture. It is only after the second shot that your picture is printed. You can also turn off the camera between two shots, keeping the first one in reserve.

Modes L and D

Finally, modes L (for Lighten) and D (for Darken) allow you to darken or brighten your picture. It is therefore a matter of adjusting your exposure to the default setting of the camera.
As you can see, Fujifilm has taken the popular features of the previous instant cameras of the Mini and Wide ranges and applied them to this model of the Instax Square range.

Other features and color filters

In addition to the shooting modes, the camera also has some other features.

The color filters included with the camera are placed over the flash. The flash takes the color of the filter and gives an effect to the image.

The color filters included with the camera are placed over the flash. The flash takes the color of the filter and gives an effect to the image.

The control of the flash is done via a dedicated button, a much appreciated feature. You can turn it off if there is enough light and you are afraid of burning your subject over a short distance. It is recommended to disable it when using the Macro mode, for example.
A self-timer is also included to give you enough time to gather everyone in the picture. Once activated, the picture is taken 10s after pressing on the shutter release.
Fujifilm had the foresight to include a set of three color filters in the SQ6: red, purple, green. They are placed over the camera’s flash and tint the light, giving a dominant color to your images. On other Instax devices, these filters were purchased as a separate accessory and were never supplied as a kit until now. Unlike the filters on the Instax Mini 9, these ones are positioned on the flash, and do not clip onto the lens. This greatly facilitates their installation and removal. However, since they are not placed directly on the lens, they will only work if you use the flash and only over a short range.

Finally, it should be noted that the device comes with two CR2 batteries and a neck strap. The batteries can’t be charged like those of the Neo 90 or the Instax Square SQ10. However, the battery life is impressive, as always with Instax cameras, and guarantees you many shots before the batteries die.

The pictures

Unlike the SQ10, there is no integrated image editing software on the SQ6, no Instagram-like filters, and no brightness or contrast adjustments… nada! With the SQ6, you get an instant camera in its purest form: you shoot and the pictures come out. The upside is that the photos look a little more natural, with no digital artifacts as it is sometimes the case on the Instax Square SQ10.

Portraits and selfies are the SQ6's favourite playing field.

Portraits and selfies are the SQ6’s favourite playing field.

In addition, the presets for short distances are quite good. Portraits and selfies most often come out with a higher than the average sharpness and image quality compared to other Instax cameras. The SQ6 can definitely take stunning pictures.

Verdict

If the SQ10 was exciting because of its innovative technology, the SQ6 goes back to the basics of the Instax family, embodying analog devices such as the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic (but on the Instax Square side). As such, it shows off great qualities and we can only appreciate the deepening of Fujifilm’s range of instant cameras. Those who were hesitating between different models aren’t done being on the fence!

The Instax Square SQ6 and the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic offer approximately the same features. The images produced by the SQ6 are larger, but the camera’s size is also bigger.

The Instax Square SQ6 and the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic offer approximately the same features. The images produced by the SQ6 are larger, but the camera’s size is also bigger.

The SQ6 is also more affordable than its predecessor. Stripped of technological elements (such as the screen and software), the manufacturer can price it at around 129€. A market positioning that brings it closer to the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. Furthermore, with a larger image format than the Mini, it is easy to be tempted by this camera, rather than by Fujifilm’s veteran model.

Advantages and disadvantages of Instax Square SQ6

We like

  • The general look and colors offered
  • The filters delivered with the device
  • The different modes that offer good control and creativity

We like less

  • We would have liked the camera to be a bit more compact
  • Only three filters are included… and they only work when combined with the flash