Do you find square photos nostalgic? If yes, you are up for some good news as Fujifilm has introduced a new iteration to its Square instant film lineup—the Instax Square SQ1. This camera follows two years after the launch of the Instax Square SQ6 and brings home a ton of features. More importantly, it can churn out adorable 2.4 x 2.4-inch photos, which you can stick on the fridge or share it with your friends and family. The SQ1 packs an automatic exposure mode and a dedicated selfie shooter.
That brings us to an important question—should you upgrade to the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1? Or should you settle for the older Instax Square SQ6?
Well, don't get confused by the numbers. In this post, we will compare the new Fujifilm Instax Square SQ1 with the Instax Square SQ6.
Let's jump straight in, shall we? But before that,
Staying true to their name, the Instax Square SQ cameras are inherently square in shape. And guess what, both the cameras weigh almost the same, and their dimensions are similar. However, that's where the similarities end.
While the older Instax Square SQ6 has a dual color tone with the top and the edges bordering the lenses painted black, the new Instax Square SQ1 has a single colored body.
The cameras are a little boxy in appearance, but the good thing is that they are easier to grip and hold. What makes the deal sweeter is that they are portable, and you can put it in a bag or carry it with a sling.
Because they are budget cameras, the company did cut a few corners. For example, there's no LCD screen where you can see the number of shots remaining. Instead, you get a mechanical counter at the rear for the same.
When it comes to the Instax Square SQ6, you will find plenty of manual controls. Apart from the power button and the flash button, you will also find a button for Modes. For the record, the Instax Square SQ6 comes with a series of presets modes like Landscape, Macro, Selfie, and Double Exposure. All you need to do is press the said button, and the light under the modes will be highlighted based on your selection.
The older Instax camera also allowed you to control the flash manually. For instance, if you are planning to capture an image in bright daylight, you can switch off the flash and get going.
Since the launch of its predecessor, the new Instax Square SQ1 has undergone some significant changes. Yes, you read that right.
While you still get a handsome square photo, the company has changed how you click the photo. With this iteration of SQ instant cameras, there is no manual mode. The company has ushered in an automatic exposure mode. With that, you simply need to point and shoot at the subject, and the camera will take care of the exposure control.
Another minor change is the introduction of a textured area under the Shutter button. As you may have expected, this design change enhances your grip on the camera.
The key feature of the new Instax Square SQ1 is the Selfie Mode and the Close-Focus mode. Here, you can pull the lens barrel and shoot. If it's a selfie, the selfie mirror at the front will help you frame your shots better.
As noted above, you can also use this mode if you want a close focus on an object. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to revert to the original mode when capturing everyday objects and subjects. Otherwise, you might end with a soft focus.
Performance and Image Quality
When it comes to these two square cameras, one of the biggest learning curves is adjusting your shot as per the image you see through the viewfinder since it's not in direct line with the lens. But rest assured that you will learn the ropes quickly.
When it comes to the older Instax Square camera, the different manual modes' presence means that you can creatively explore your love for photography.
As noted earlier, you can use these modes depending on your subject. And that's not the end of the story. There's also an exposure compensation mode, which lets you increase and decrease the brightness as per your preference.
Quite naturally, all these quirks mean you will end up with different photos. For one, if you choose to keep the flash off in low light, you could potentially end up with a darkish photo. Depending on the scene in front, the shutter switches between 1.6 to 1/400 sec.
Overall, you will get natural-looking photos in your hands.
The addition of the auto-exposure mode in the Instax Square SQ1 means that the flash will fire automatically each time you click a picture. Thankfully, it doesn't result in overexposed or washed-out photos, even during daylight. The exposure compensation is handled quite well. In fact, the Instax Square SQ1 performs significantly better in outdoor environments.
The photos are bright and punchy with vivid colors. More importantly, they are well detailed. The same holds true for low-light shots as well.
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Battery Life and Type
Everyone would want their instant camera to at least bundle a rechargeable battery. However, you are up for disappointment since a pair of CR2 batteries still power the newer Instax Square SQ1.
Unlike conventional AA or AAA batteries, CR2 batteries are a tad difficult to come by. You'd either need to order them online or get them at a hardware store. The good news is that CR2 batterie lasts a long time, and a single pair should last your around 300 photos before calling it a day.
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Should You Upgrade
Well, it totally depends on how you would want your shooting experience to be. With the Instax Square SQ1, Fujifilm has removed all the complicated features. In place of that, it has presented an easy-to-use point and shoot camera.
If you want to go the manual route and frame the shots manually, then the older SQ1 is the one for you. You also get 3 color filters to add a dash of quirky colors to your photos. These filters need to be fitted over the flash.
On the other hand, the Instax Square SQ1 has made things easier. Be it taking a selfie or capturing a portrait of your best friend, all you need to do is a point and press the shutter button. As for selfie, simply pull out the barrel, point, and smile.