Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 vs Instax Mini 9: Should You Go Square or Mini?
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If there's one thing that we, tech geeks, love, is digital formats. May it be in the form of music, movies, or for instance, photography. The creative freedom and flexibility that it delivers are astonishing.
But then, there are times that you really need to take a break and get away from all those bits and bytes. If that's true for someone like me, I'm sure it's also true for those who don't fancy all of this techie stuff.
What's the difference between the Instax Mini 9 and the Square SQ6?
That's where these Instax cameras come in handy.
While still being a tech-based product, they enhance the physicality of taking pictures.
Definitely, you won't be sharing them in your social networks, but that doesn't mean you can't share them. In fact, in a minute or so, you can literally give them to your closest friends. Be that on a day at the beach, at a party, or wherever you want.
If you're thinking about getting one, you'll probably already looked at or even tried an Instax Mini 9. That's how popular they are. Should that mean it's the best out there? Well, after playing with it and then with the Instax Square SQ6 for a while, I can clearly see why they are so popular, despite its pricy film. But I also easily noticed how different they can be and why someone might be torn between the cheapest and most popular one or its big and expensive sibling.
The first thing you'll notice is the size of the SQ6. Big being the word here. While it may not seem so when you look at the specs, if you can get them side by side, you'll clearly see what I mean.
The moment I held one for the first time, I was struck by a deja vu feeling. It just resembled my old digital camera from the beginning of the century: the Epson Photopc 850!
Old memories aside, its size alone shouldn't be a reason for you to stay away from the SQ6. In fact, what you lose in pocketability, you win in fun.
That's right! One can underline their main differences right here. While the Mini 9 has a mini film, the SQ6 uses a square format. But you probably figured that out already just by looking at their names, right? Well, I can tell you one thing for sure that their name won't disclosure: as soon as you get used to the square photos, you'll hardly want to go back to something so (how can I put this) "thin."
The mini is the oldest format. That may be one of the reasons it is cheaper than the square film, as you can see in the Amazon store (if the larger one alone isn't involved in some kind of sale).
Fujifilm Instax Mini 9
The Mini 9 is a very modest camera. It's a point-and-shooter at its finest. That's probably why it also is so affordable. Nevertheless, Fujifilm was "able" to add a simple and easy-to-operate setting: The white-balance.
Of all those techy settings a pro camera can have, one wouldn't guess that's the thing they would prioritize. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice feature to have, but I'd rather have a manual focus ring, for example.
At least, one of the "white-balance" options is for low-light scenarios, which can come in hand, but it also can blur your photos if you pay no mind to the low-light condition you're at.
One other thing that I don't like about the Mini 9 is the size and position of the optical viewfinder. Sure you can get used to it, but if you're trying to capture that precious moment that can quickly fade away, this small viewfinder won't help you that much. At least, the Mini 9 is arguably one of the best-looking Polaroid-like cameras out there.
Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
The SQ6 may be bulkier, but it feels a lot more premium. You'll get an auto mode, selfie, macro, landscape, double exposure, and two other settings that I didn't quite understand: the L and the D modes. I know they are supposed to give you a Lighter or Darker photo, but I haven't figured out if it was by changing the ISO, the aperture, or the shutter speed. Technically, ISO is related to the sensibility of the film to the light, and changing aperture means also changing the depth-of-field. So I believe they are changing the shutter speed.
You'll also get a selfie timer and a flash toggle on the SQ6.
I should probably also tell you something about the fancy three flash filters included in the package, but the only thing I can emphasize is that most likely, you'll lose them sooner than later, so...
If you're considering buying one as a gift for your kid, I'd recommend the Mini 9. It's "cool enough" for most of them while keeping simplicity, costs, and size down. Otherwise, you should really consider the SQ6, but in the end, it depends on the number of photos you're planning to take.
Quality-wise, I was surprised by the results of both cameras, especially considering the friendly price of the Mini 9. I wasn't able to test out other brands, but I believe you have nothing to worry about in this department.
If you know someone that is or should be considering buying an instant camera, share this article with them. I do feel like people should also consider other models and not just the so-popular Instax Mini 9.
You can buy them here, on Amazon: