Connect to Your Subject In An Instant!

Take only pictures, leave only footprints. And maybe an instant photo.

Chicken Man – Peru
©Damon Webster

When Polaroids ruled the earth, and we were much younger, an instant photo was the coin of the social realm. Yep, gather with your friends and family, and share a moment people could see AND hold immediately.

The Polaroid Land company has ceased to exist as we once knew it. Sure, there is a new one, but trust me, the results are not near what they once were.

So who has come to fill that instant grat void? Fujifilm!!

And they have done so in a big way. From the peel apart film that kept some of us using converted early 60’s polaroids, to the latest version I’ve currently been working with, the Square format SQ20, you will not be disappointed in the results. This is the one that turned me.

It comes in black and beige, although beige is never my choice in camera color

One of the early units I tried had some issue with over exposure with flash. Then you spent a sheet getting it right.

That is the beauty of the SQ20. With an LCD screen, you can see and adjust your exposure, filtration, flash, BEFORE you shoot, and get great exposures the first time. And here is a bonus: with a Micro SD on-board you also have a digital copy of the file. Small, yes, but you have it. The built-in memory does store 100 images, so you don’t need a micro SD to get going.

Before I get into some of the tech, I’d like to share with you how I feel it may be used.

In one part of my career, I’ve produced advertising work all over the world. While engaging the locals, I would invariably take some Kodachrome shots, then give them a polaroid to keep. Many times, I’d shoot them with their polaroid in hand. ( see image above, shot in Peru)

If you are a street photographer, this is a good way to give back to your subject. NO, not the ones you capture on the fly, ala Winogrand, but perhaps you engage with someone, and after asking to photograph them, you can leave them with a memory. More Humans of New York with some giveback.

Of course you can use one of the Instax printers, (packs small, plays big) to connect your mirrorless, changeable lens camera to a small printer on site, and give the shot that the camera captured. There is something still magical, I think, about an IRL print, in the hands. Not the same framing, but a real gift. And the way the print emerges from the camera is truly a cool sight.

The battery is inside, and you charge it by USB cable. The filters are cool, and there are new ones included that are not your standard insta filters. Like this one that isolates specific colors:

Plus a lot more. Honestly, I’m partial to the Sepia. The flash is fine, and as strong as they ever were. The LCD screen gives me all I need to know, and the buttons on the back help me navigate the menus with ease. One thing that was different was 2 shutter releases on the front. I guess for lefty’s, or righty’s? And it has a zoom!

Need a Selfie? OK, fine, it has a nice little mirror on the front to help.

It does shoot video, but no sound. Meh.

You can buy white border or black border film for this, Under a dollar a shot, so affordable. There are some who feel that digital component changes the vibe of the instant film of old.

Get over it. This thing rules.

It’s true, I have been an instant print fan for years. Finally, Fuji has restored my faith, and has made the SQ20 a staple in my walk-around camera bag.

As suspected, it’s great for parties, weddings, dances, events, Quinceaneras, Bar Mitzvahs, etc. Not private parties maybe, but you know what I mean. Although without an image in a cloud, privacy is assured.

How much? About $160 at Amazon

There is a new, much smaller one coming, if you want to keep the bulk down.

Fujifilm owns the instant photo market. thankfully.

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