At the start of 2017 Fujifilm released a new square Instax film called, well, Instax Square.
With it, a new hybrid digital instant camera called the SQ10. Look it up. It a terrible peace of crap — it has a tiny 3-point-something megapixel digital sensor made by someone (might not even be Fuji). It digitally captures the image, and then prints it onto the film — This has always seemed pointless to me. Whoever owned the Polaroid brand last couple of years did the same with that Zinc camera. Tech blog writers call it being relevant with the times and the age of Instagram. What does Instagram has to do with rebranded cheep Chinese electronics eludes me.
What Fuji just announced though, is a new wireless printer that works with the new square film. It’s called Instax Share SP-3. It looks terribly cool — sort of winks at the Polaroid SX-70’s design. Or at least in my eyes it does.
Old Polaroids are kind of the reason I’m writing this. My good and very talented friend Drago has customized his SX-70 in the most exuberant fashion. As seen in the bottom right corner of this shot.
He and I are passionate followers of the Impossible project. And desperately in love with classic Polaroids — Impossible is now called Polaroid Originals (very confusing, I know) — And they too are making square instant film. It even works perfectly with an old SX-70 camera like the one above. And while it’s not technically a true Polaroid, in that there is a serious disconnect between the Polaroid films from the 70s and 80s and the Impossible films of today — It’s still absolutely the coolest thing on the planet — in a way that a Fuji Instax is just not. An Instax Mini plastic camera is what you intentionally leave at the bar at the end of a questionably-fun bachelor’s party.
But I would argue that the Instax is the more authentic instant film. Fujifilm acquired the Polaroid technology from Kodak sometime in the 70s and has been working on top of that ever since. Where as I mentioned the Polaroid of today is a product of an almost religious effort by the Impossible project to reverse-engineer and recreate instant film in the early 2000s. And with contemporary manufacturing restrictions they met — most famously with the thickness of the plastic foil on top of the film enclosure that was causing the early versions of the PX-70 film to jam in the camera. The result of all that is that for the pretty steep price of 23 EUR you get a pack of EIGHT shots.
The new Instax Square film costs 10 EUR for a pack of ten — same as Instax Mini. The new printer will be available around Christmas for something like 200 EUR.
I know, I know — apples and oranges. I’m just excited that I will be able to print square pictures from my iPhone. With that out of the way, I’ll say it again — No single thing on this Earth is cooler than the way a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera opens up.
P.S. This post was more or less a response to a message Drago sent me on Facebook on October 15 (2017). I still haven’t replied — Sorry about that, Drago. I loved your photographs. The last one, with the building and the tree branch out of focus in the foreground is my favorite, and a signature Drago.