Building on the features of the Instax Square SQ10 that it launched in 2017, Fujifilm has announced the SQ20 square-format camera.
Like its predecessor, the SQ20 is a hybrid device offering digital shots as well as instant prints using its Instax film system.
So, what’s new? Notably, the SQ20 becomes the first among Fujifilm’s range of Instax cameras to shoot video, though clips are limited to just 15 seconds and have no sound. Its primary purpose is really to enable new photo effects, among them Frame Grab that lets you pick out and print your favorite frames from your video clips.
There’s also a new Sequence feature offering “dynamic and dreamy” images at the press of a button, which again draws on the video footage to create the photo.
Time Shift Collage lets you shoot four sequential photos with one shutter press, with the time lag able to be set at intervals of anywhere between 0.2 seconds and 2 seconds. All of the photos can then be printed out together on a single sheet, with equal space given to each image. Collage, on the other hand, offers irregular frames within the print into which you can place any images you like.
The Fujifilm SQ20 is also the first Instax camera to offer a zooming function (4.0 x), allowing you to adjust the frame of a shot without moving, or to get closer if the subject is far away or hard to reach.
Like its predecessor, the SQ20 also lets you add a range of different filters to your images before you print them.
Don’t expect amazing digital images — the SQ20 is really all about instant fun. The digital images are shot at 1,920 x 1,920 pixels with a 33mm, f2.4 lens, an aperture that makes it usable in low light although it has a built-in flash if needed.
The camera also has an unspecified amount of built-in storage good for “about 50 images and 30 seconds of video,” though you’ll be happy to hear there’s a slot for a memory card, too.
Fujifilm’s Instax Square SQ20 camera comes in two colors — beige and matte black — and will be available globally for $200 from October 20, 2018.
The fall and rise of Fujifilm’s Instax system
Fujifilm’s Instax cameras have been selling well, by all accounts, and are particularly popular with the younger demographic, with shipments exceeding 30 million units globally since it introduced the system 20 years ago.
When Fujifilm released its first Instax device in 1998, digital camera, smartphones, and apps like Instagram and Snapchat were still many years away from seriously disrupting the market.
The company achieved a million Instax camera sales for the first time in 2002, but just two years later, as digital cameras started grabbing consumers’ attention, Fujifilm managed a mere 100,000 Instax camera shipments.
With consumers taken by digital camera technology and, later, smartphones and their accompanying apps, Fujifilm puts its Instax business on the back burner and instead focused on its high-end X-series of mirrorless digital cameras, which have helped to revive its fortunes.
But then, around six years ago, the company detected renewed interest in analog technology, prompting it to once again invest time and money in its Instax business. A refreshed line of Instax cameras have proven popular and sales have been climbing ever since.
Besides the SQ20 and SQ10, the range currently includes the Instax Square SQ6 along with the Instax Wide and five different Instax Mini cameras. It also has a Hello Kitty-themed Instax Mini, and this week the company announced a Taylor Swift-branded SQ6.
Lots of other companies have also launched their own instant cameras — Leica announced its first one just a few days ago. Here’s our pick of some of the best.
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