Tech Talk: Jennifer A.k.a. BlackIvory On Capturing The Fun With Instax SQUARE SQ20 | CoolJapan

High-tech gadgets, social media, augmented reality and artificial intelligence — today's world is unimaginable without these things. However, maybe because of it, trends that bank on nostalgic times of recent past also gain popularity. There are beauty and fashion bits from the '70s to the '90s that are much raved about today, as well as everything retro seeping into today's consciousness. And in an era where taking photographs are more of a necessity than a hobby, one of the by-products of this throwback phenomenon is the resurgence of the self-printing camera.

Spearheaded by photography brand Fujifilm, they released remastered versions of the classic camera in 1998 but it didn't rise in the lifestyle shopping charts until the late 2000s. Now, films and printed photos are embraced as much as digital snaps, and Fujifilm's Instax series is still soaring as a crowd favourite. But how exactly does their hybrid Instax SQUARE SQ20, which is considered perfect for capturing motion in retro-style flair, fare compared to its predecessors? We had photography enthusiast and Clozette Ambassador Jennifer Ghiam a.k.a. Blackivorystyle give it a whirl. 

First impressions

Jennifer with the Instax SQUARE SQ20

"I love photography ever since I got my hands on my first camera on my 18th birthday; it was actually a Fujifilm camera. At that time, there weren't any social media available, so I would just capture landscape and people whenever I travel. I love capturing candid expressions of people and I didn't realise I was already doing street photography at that time. I developed so many rolls of film, which I now have filed in boxes," Jennifer shared when asked about her relationship with photography. 

Given this, her experience with both film and digital photography made her excited to try our Tech Talk pick. Upon giving it a spin for the first time, she said, "I love how comfortable the Instax SQUARE SQ20 fits on my hands. The small size, weight and shape make it easy to carry around." 

Fiddling around the buttons and the functions of the camera, she also noted, "The shutter placement at the front of the camera is a good location, and enable easy shooting. The jog dial menu is very user-friendly and enables fast access." 

As someone who's had experience with past Instax models, she also commented on how it compares to other Instax models. "I did notice that the LCD screen is smaller compared to its predecessors. If the LCD screen is bigger, this camera will be perfect," she shared. 

Putting the 'fun' in functionality

Instax SQUARE SQ20 Photo stack

"Taking photos is all about having fun and sharing. With that said, this Instax variant fits the bill perfectly as it is light enough to carry in my bag, has a built-in memory which allows me to use it like a regular [digital/mirrorless] camera, but still leaving room for instantly sharing a printed photo with my friends," she said. 

When asked about how this one-ups the past Instax models she has tried before, she notes, "The best part is, since the photo is printed using its internal memory, I can print multiple pieces of the same photo to share with my friends. And since, just like me, most of my friends love taking photos, having the SQ20 around helps to create — and literally share — more fun moments together."

In what aspect does the Instax SQUARE SQ20 excel in the most?

Instax SQUARE SQ20 camera + film flatlay

There's no doubt that Jennifer had her fun taking the SQ20 for a spin but we can't help but ask about her favourite features from the gadget. She was quick to mention the Double-Exposure function as her first pick.  She shared, "The SQ20 makes it really easy to create creative shots using this function."

She also didn't leave the Video Mode unnoticed by saying, "I am able to take multiple moving shots and choose the best photo from the sequence. This makes shooting action photos much easier."

And the third feature she finds to be top-notch? The SQ20's capability to store files using external memory. "I consider this as a bonus as it allows me to use the SQ20 as a regular camera and later transfer the photos to my computer and vice-versa. Talk about having a dual-function as I can also use the SQ20 as a mini-printer," she said.

Overall thoughts

Instax SQUARE SQ20 shots

"Yes, I will recommend it to anyone who likes to take fun shots and prints. One thing to note is that the SQ20 performs better under shade than bright sunlight with high contrast, so this camera will fit those who like to capture moments in the shade."