Last year I bought my first Fuji Instax printer, after Fuji announced an update in the form of the Fuji Instax SP-2. It somehow aroused interest in me, although I never had a Polaroid camera. What seems to be a funny gadget, turns out to be more useful than expected.
Fuji’s Instax SP-2 is a modern interpretation of film exposure
Technically the Fuji Instax SP-2 is not a printer. Just like the other film based products from Fuji, there is no application of colour of any kind. The Instax SP-2 uses true film material, which is exposed to light by LEDs in the device. This technique is similar to earlier Polaroid cameras, which also implies the magic moment, when the image slowly appears on the small piece of paper in your hand.
Ok, it is no paper, the white support material around the image is some kind of synthetic material. But it makes the resulting photo quite sturdy and durable, even when you touch it with wet fingers for example.
The film packs are available in packs of ten pieces. After unwrapping you just have to carefully insert the light protected plastic tray with the unexposed films through a hatch into the printer. Ten white LEDs on the printer inform you any time, how many prints you have left.
A killer feature – Direct print ability
With a Fuji camera like the Fuji X-Pro 2 or Fuji X100T you are able to print directly to the camera. There is no need for any smart device in between. This was the main reason for me to buy it, because it is super easy to “print” a quick picture and give it to somebody.
Especially when I am photographing people on the street, it’s nice to give them a sample by sending the job directly and fast from my Fuji X-Pro 2 to the Instax SP-2 in my commuting bag. Transferring the job to the printer takes about 15 seconds. Approximately another 15 seconds later the pic is ready to extract.
It’s a joy watching the reactions of the people after you gave them their photo, which miraculously appears in the following 30-60 seconds. Some are weaving it like a hand fan, some are blowing at it, and you can see the curiosity in their eyes.
Small and portable, long lasting battery
I have the printer in one of my front pockets of my camera bag. By doing so it spits out the pictures upwards, so I never have to take the printer out of the pocket on the go. Even the on-off-button sits at the corner near the slot, turning the printer on is just a push of a finger. It turns off automatically after some minutes of not using it.
The picture does not fall out by accident after exposing. The print stand’s out of the printer but is held back in the slot. You have to pull it out the final centimeter.
The battery lasts forever. Fuji claims that it is good for over 100 prints, but I never had the need to print so many copies. You can recharge the printer easily with an USB cable. I always recharge every device I have in my bag, when I am out for a longer time.
Impressive picture quality – for an instant film
The quality of the pictures is great, I can’t see any pixels and I am over and over amazed how good details come out. Of course you can’t expect uncompromising colour accuracy nor a huge dynamic range from this little thing. Dark areas are often a bit saturated and highlights are not finely graduated either. Don’t be picky. Keep in mind that this is true film material which is exposed on the go!
It’s a joy watching the reactions of the people after you gave them their photo! The image miraculously appears in the following 30-60 seconds. Some people are weaving it like a hand fan, some are blowing at it, and you can see the curiosity in their eyes. You easily get into contact with people by this way. I am often signing the picture afterwards with my URL on the backside, when they agree to publish a photo on my website.
The Instax SP-2 guaranties a lot of fun
The same is true for parties or events: The Instax Share SP-2 and it’s small photos are a great contact machinery. The prints are not big, they have the standard business card size. This makes them an ideal ice breaker and easy to pouch in a wallet.
The Instax Share app is something I checked out at the beginning, but I don’t use it regularly. With this app, you are able print any pictures from your smart device. It does not matter if their origin is your camera, the net or else. You may choose different themes from “Helloween” to “Happy Birthday” and it is possible to label pictures with date and title. In this case you have to sacrifice some image area for this.
You also get some filters to choose from like in the Instagram app. The “Intelligence Filter” which should improve every image automatically is a bit of a mixed bag. It gave me inconsistent results and often made the print quality of the photos worse than without using it. Maybe Fuji will deliver an update for that.
For me the Fuji Instax SP-2 is a great and handy gadget. I love the look and feel of the images it produces. The experience of having a physical photo which you can attach to your fridge, put in your purse, stick to your computer screen etc. is gorgeous. It is a welcome change to storing your pictures in the cloud and in your smart devices. Instant photos have become a retro thing in our fast moving world. But they still conjure a smile on peoples face.
The Instax films are not cheap, costing about 15 dollars/euro per twin pack (20 images). But don’t get carried away by those few dollars. You are not going to start a copyshop business with these anyway. Taking into account what everyone of us is spending for truly useless things, I am sure nobody will get poor by printing some pictures and having fun with his friends at the next house party.
Please don’t steal my images – just kindly ask, if you want to use one of them. All rights reserved.