The SQ20 made its debut towards the end of 2018 as the replacement for the SQ10, Fujifilm’s first “hybrid” Instax camera. The SQ20 comes standard with a variety of amazing new features that make this a really fun little camera.
The SQ20 uses the same iconic design as the SQ10 with only slight cosmetic teaks setting them apart, but hey why mess with a winning formula? The rounded design makes it really comfortable to hold and the two customisable shutter buttons located on opposing sides of the lens make it easy to shoot with either hand. You’ll also find a selfie mirror on the front so now you can take perfectly composed selfies.
Standout features for me were ‘Motion Mode’ or frame grab which shoots a video of up to 15 seconds long and lets you select and print the frame that captures the moment best, ‘Bulb Mode’ which gives you the ability to keep the shutter open for epic night shots or light painting and ‘Digital Zoom’ which allows you to get a little closer to your subject. The SQ20 is the first camera in the Instax series to include a digital zoom function.
With no viewfinder you’ll have to rely on the 6.9 cm (2.7-in.) TFT colour LCD screen on the back to line up and frame that perfect shot. The screen isn’t great and prints don’t match what you see on the screen. Focus is achieved with a contrast detection based autofocus system and is limited to single autofocus in stills mode, however continuous autofocus is available in ‘motion mode’.
Nearly all the controls for the SQ20 are located on the back panel of the camera with the top button alternating between On/Off, Motion and Imaging modes. The MENU/OK button is surrounded by a ring you use to zoom or navigate between menus and the ring is surrounded by a further 6 buttons for Filter Selection, Playback, Vignette, Brightness, Print and Back (Menu control).
You’ll most likely want to use an SD card to expand your storage as the SQ20 has limited internal memory and you will only be able to store around 50 shots or 30 seconds of video.
Battery life is actually pretty good and if you don’t mess about with filters and modes too much you can get 100 prints per charge (claimed). The SQ20 also has an automatic sleep mode, which will power off the camera in case you forget. Recharging the built in Li-ion battery will take approximately two to three hours via micro USB.
The SQ20 uses Instax Square Instant Film and is loaded easily via the back panel. Once you have chosen to print a photo it will print/eject the film through the film ejection slot on the top of the camera so be sure your fingers are out the way.
I wasn’t really impressed with the final print quality and found that images looked a little soft and underexposed, but this could be because of the SQ20’s 1/5-in image sensor only producing 3.69MP photos. Don’t get me wrong for an instant camera it’s not a deal breaker – I was just expecting a little more.
What I Liked
- Internal memory, the ability to take images and print later is a bonus.
- Modes and filters.
- The ability to perform edits to files before you print.
What I Didn’t Like
- Low quality screen.
- Image quality.
In summary the Instax SQ20 is a great camera for taking candid snaps of friends and family and the ability to print photos later means it doesn’t matter if you run out of film. That being said I think there are better alternatives in the Instax range.
For more information, visit www.instaxsa.co.za/sq20