Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition Review

The only camera with the TayTay seal of approval, this special edition SQ6 is a great for instant photography beginners

Verdict

Fuji's classic yet refined design gets a Taylor-centric makeover, but is just as user-friendly as before. Ideal if you're after a point-and-shoot that doesn't require thinking about focus or exposure, and for Swift fans, this special edition is the Instax to go for.

Pros

  • Uses most affordable Instax film
  • Classic design with added Swift-y goodness
  • Automates much of what makes instant shooting tricky

Cons

  • Takes some of the fun away from shooting on instant
  • Not as flexible as rivals, with fewer optional accessories
  • Non-rechargeable batteries

Key Features

  • Review Price: £159
  • Point-and-shoot instant camera
  • Unique Taylor Swift branding and colour scheme
  • Fully automatic operation
  • Includes flash filters, supports double exposures for creative photos
  • Uses Instax Square format film packs

What is the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition?

As Fuji’s first fully analogue camera to shoot on Instax Square format film, the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 has already proven it’s hip to be square.

The fun and quirky camera stood out for its simple operation and classic styling when we first reviewed it in the summer of 2018. Now, though, it has been given an even more eye-catching makeover courtesy of pop sensation Taylor Swift.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition

This Taylor Swift edtiion comes with design flourishes based on her Reputation album, plus a shoulder strap and film case.

With a unique black and gold colour scheme, and emblazoned with text from Taylor’s Reputation album cover, it should appeal to Swift fans as well as fashion-conscious snappers. A fixed lens and the handful of shooting modes, meanwhile, will interest instant format newcomers.

It retails for £160, a £40 premium over the standard SQ6, with ten-packs of film available for about £9 each.

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Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition – Design and features

Square by name, square by nature: the SQ6 is boxy, with rounded edges that give it a classic look.

You certainly couldn’t call this black and gold Taylor Swift edition understated, though. It’s covered in gold lettering and prominent Taylor Swift branding right above the lens barrel.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition

On the back is Taylor Swift’s signature, plus three buttons that let you set up self timers and choose your shooting mode.

On the reverse, Taylor’s signature covers the film door. If you aren’t a fan there’s not much here for you, although seeing how Her Swiftness is an Instax user herself, the tie-in makes a bit more sense than the average celeb endorsement.

Otherwise, the layout is identical to the standard SQ6, with a shutter button on the front, power switch up top, and just three buttons on the rear. These turn on a self-timer or deactivate the flash (which is on by default), and toggle between the seven shooting modes.

The SQ6 shoots in fully automatic by default, but you can switch between selfie, macro and landscape modes, take double exposures, or make your shots lighter or darker. A tiny mirror on the lens barrel makes lining up those selfie snaps a lot easier.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition

The viewfinder is a simple affair – there’s a dot in the centre for lining up shots, but it doesn’t reflect what shooting mode you’re in.

The viewfinder doesn’t have any optics, and although it has a guide spot in the centre for lining up your shots, doesn’t take shooting modes into account: what you see isn’t necessarily what will appear in your prints, especially when using landscape mode.

Having to make room for Instax Square film packs dictates the size of the camera, but while it’s too big to fit in a pocket, it’ll fit in a small bag and is convenient enough to use with one hand.

Loading film is as simple as opening the tray, lining up the yellow markers on film pack and camera, and shutting the door again. The camera comes with two CR2 batteries, which while not as common as AAs, are enough to get you started.

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Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition – Performance & Image quality

It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting on Fuji’s standard Instax Square film, or the special edition Taylor Swift film, which uses black borders instead of white ones. Quality-wise, the two are identical.

That means you can expect the same vibrant colours and dramatic contrast that other Instax cameras do so well. The black bordered prints give your pics that little extra emphasis, too.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition

Print quality is good with high levels of contrast, while the Taylor Swift film’s black borders help frame brighter shots nicely.

Three bundled colour filters clip over the flash and can create some interesting shots for when you’re feeling creative, but with no option to control exposure when in the macro or landscape shooting modes, pictures taken in bright sunshine can be a little blown out.

The SQ6 doesn’t always get exposure and focusing right, even if you’ve selected the correct mode for the scene. Macro mode works best between 0.3m and 0.5m, but outside of that range will result in blurry images. Unless you’ve got a ruler with you, it’s an inexact science.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition

The Instax Square SQ6 doesn’t always get exposure and focusing right, but that’s part of the pot luck joy of instant cameras.

Double exposures can be fun, but have the most potential for creating poor results – and with no way to preview your shots (part of the fun of instant), mistakes will cost you roughly 90p a pop.

Still, this is still as easy as instant photography gets, and the results are great more times than not.

Related: Best video editing apps

Why buy the Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Taylor Swift Edition?

If you’re sold on the appeal of instant photography, but don’t like the hit-and-miss approach of more manual cameras, the Instax Square SQ6 is probably the best of its kind.

The automatic operation takes a lot of the guesswork out of shooting, but the handful of shooting modes still let you flex your creative muscles when you want to. Focusing isn’t always perfect, but the photos it takes still have plenty of charm.

While it isn’t a cheap hobby (packs of Instax Square film will also set you back about £9 each) the SQ6 is still more affordable per shot than the Polaroid Originals OneStep+. However, if you insist on using Taylor-branded film, that gap is much narrower.

In the end, this special edition version is really only aimed at true Swifties: the lyrical makeover on the front is practically unmissable, and the £40 premium means everyone else will be better served by the cheaper, standard model.

Verdict

Fuji’s classic yet refined design gets a Taylor-centric makeover, but is just as user-friendly as before. Ideal if you’re after a point-and-shoot that doesn’t require thinking about focus or exposure, and for Swift fans, this special edition is the Instax to go for.

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 – The Rivals

Polaroid Originals OneStep+

It has more manual controls than the SQ6, while Bluetooth and a smartphone companion app give the OneStep+ even more flexibility when it comes to shooting modes. Picture quality is more mixed than the Fuji, however, and film is more expensive.

Leica Sofort

The least expensive way to buy into one of the most premium camera brands, but still significantly more expensive than the Fuji. The simple point-and-shoot Sofort is also restricted to Instax Mini prints that are smaller than the SQ6’s Square format paper.

Score


Features

Optical Zoom (Times) Motor-driven range switching (macro 0.3-0.5m, normal 0.5-2m, landscape 2m+)
Viewfinder 0.4x optical

Physical Specifications

Dimensions Width (Millimeter) 128
Depth (Millimeter) 58.1
Length (Millimeter) 119
Weight (body only) (Kilogram) 393g (without film pack)