Instax SQ10: Better than the Polaroid?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Introducing my new baby~ The Instax SQ10!

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I remembered seeing this sometime earlier this year but they weren't selling it in Malaysia yet. But for some reason, I found it again sometime in September this year and I could not stop obsessing over it. I just had to have it. I was obsessing to the point I was watching and rewatching every single video on YouTube about it. I didn't even matter that the review was in German or Chinese. I watched all of them cause I already knew what they were all saying (well, the gist of it anyway 😅). 

"BUY IT, CLARE!" 

And so I did. 

Now, I admit that I'm a little fickle and it doesn't take a lot to get me to buy something. Especially if it's something that I know I've wanted for a long time. 

So when my package finally arrived at the office, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Forget about waiting till I get home, I told myself and ripped open the packaging to take the camera out of its cardboard home with sweaty shaking hands.


Here is the Instax Square SQ10 right out of the box alongside one of the packs of film I got with it. The package I purchased from Lazada came with 3 packs of Instax Square film. 

Before I get to the pros and the cons of this baby, here is a little introductory video for those of you who have never heard of the SQ10.


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Pros & Cons

While the video does touch on some of the good and the bad about this camera, I'd like to highlight some other points as well. As much as I love this camera, I gotta bash it a little bit, right? 
At least then I can sound a little bit objective. lol

Pros

• Lightweight
• Easy to navigate
• Clear and large screen
• You can expand the memory with a MicroSD card
• Edited photos on the camera can be reverted to the original
• Has many built-in features and filters
• Can transfer photos from your phone to print
• Can turn flash on and off


Cons

• Expensive af
• Film is also expensive af
• Its square shape is awkward to hold
• No Bluetooth/Wi-Fi feature to transfer photos to and from your phone
• Images can look too contrasty 
• Screen can be hard to see in bright sunlight
• No separate battery charger

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Okay, so I have to be honest. 

I haven't actually been taking out the SQ10 to shoot much. 
I swear I want to take it out with me more but I don't want to lose or break it. It's new and costs a lot of money. So, instead of that, I use it like how I would use my SP-1 printer. 
I'd take photos of with my phone, transfer them to the MicroSD card and edit them on the camera before I print them. 

Yes, I know. 
It totally beats the point of getting a camera if I want to treat it like a printer right? 
I treat my Olympus the same way. Cautiously.

It's my precious.......

Also, like every other Instax film, you can never tell how the film will develop until it is done developing. So you might end up with a picture that is too dark, too contrasty or too bright and too washed out. You gotta get your hands dirty (and empty your wallets) so you can learn from your mistakes. Film photography, even if it has been combined with digital, is still temperamental. But I guess that's one of the main reasons some of us choose the medium over others. 

That being said, the camera really does have a lot of strong points.
I love how much bigger the picture is compared to the photos I get from the Instax minis. While they are smaller than an actual Polaroid film and smaller than the Instax wide, they have a certain charm to them. 

Composing pictures is also a lot easier. Especially if you already take lots of photos in a square format to upload to your IG. 

Here are some photos that were taken at a cafe. 

Photo quality-wise, it prints a little clearer than the SP-1 printer especially if you're taking photos without flash or printing photos from your phone. 

Honestly, you could get an SP-1 or SP-2 Instax mini printer from Lazada for a fraction of the price of the SQ10. Plus, if you purchase Instax mini film in bundles, it would also be a lot cheaper than the Instax square format. It all really depends on whether you want square photos or credit card sized photos. 

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Photo Comparisons

Below are photos taken with the Instax 25s, SQ10, photos from my iPhone 6S and printed with the SQ10 and the Instax SP-1 printer.



In the picture below you can see the difference in size between the square film and mini film. They're both the same height but the square is just a little wider.



 

The photos above were taken with the Instax 25s camera (right) and printed with the SP-1 printer (left). As you can see, there left is more balanced and saturated in colour than the washed out photo on the left. The 25s cameras don't let you turn off the flash so close up portraits like the one I took of my mom, would look really washed out. Some people like that part of the cameras cause they wanna look fair, but it takes away a lot of detail from the photos too.

With the printer, you can adjust the brightness and contrast of the photo before printing. Plus, you can reprint photos that come out badly. While this is a waste of film, it's still much better than having to live with a washed out picture.

 

Above are photos taken, edited and printed with the SQ10 camera (left) and the other taken with my iPhone, transferred into the camera, edited and printed (right). While I find the image on the right to have more detail, the photo on the left only looks like that because I applied one of the built-in filters in the camera. There is quite a lot of detail in the original photo (which I deleted T_T).

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SQ10 Tips & Tricks

If you already own an SQ10 and want to know how to use it or would just like to know more about it, I do recommend you watch this video from Photography Concentrate.



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Where can you get it?

I got my SQ10 from Lazada. If you're interested in it, check it out here.

Get the film here:
1 pack
3 pack bundle

Alternatively, here are some listings on Shopee too.

SQ10 Camera + 3 packs of film - RM1299
3 pack film bundle - RM166.98

You can also find it being sold at camera stores. They're widely available, although I do recommend you to grab it online as they usually have great bundle offers like the one I listed.


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