The Instax world hasn’t really been taken very seriously in the past couple of years. Rather, it’s taken as more of a fun market. At CES 2014, we met with Fujifilm who stated that while much of the camera industry is trying to fight the smartphone market, Fujifilm is trying to work with it. Part of this is evident in their new Smartphone printer that emphasizes simplicity and fun in a brand new analog way.
Taken from Fujifilm’s press release
|Film||Fujifilm instant Color Film “instax mini” (sold separately)|
|Film size||86mm x 54mm|
|Image size||62mm x 46mm|
|Supported image size||640 x 480 dots|
|Printing resolution||10 dots/mm (254 dpi)|
|Printing levels||256 levels per color (RGB)|
|Interface||Standard compliance: IEEE802.11b/g, Operation frequency: 2412 MHz to 2462 MHz (11ch), Access method: Infrastructure|
|Supported image format||JPEG|
|Printing time||Image recording — photo output (fed out): Approx. 16 sec.|
|Power supply||Two CR2/DL CR2 lithium batteries
AC power adapter (sold separately: AC-5VX)
|Printing capacity||Approx. 100 prints (when CR2 lithium batteries are used)
(Based on our test conditions)
|Power consumption||2.5 W|
|Operating temperature||+5°C to +40°C (no condensation)|
|Dimensions/Weight||101.6mm x 42mm x 122.5mm / 253g (without battery and film pack)|
For starters, the Instax printer has a couple of indicators on it. These green lights here are a film counter or a battery readout respectively. The overall profile of the Instax printer is also quite clean.
Imagine how Steve Jobs might have designed a printer if he embraced his young, hippy side. It would probably look something like this.
The back of the print and the side also have controls. The side is where you can simply reprint an image just by pressing the appropriate button. And the back houses the film for the printer.
From the top of the device is where you’ll be able to snag your newly printed moments.
In our meeting with Fujifilm, we asked about being able to clean the rollers. Now for those of you that are incredibly new to this whole photography and film stuff, this is a legit concern to us experienced snobs that have been honing our craft for some time now. Back in the film days (and even now) when you pulled the pack film out of a camera (like for 3×4 or other sizes,) you would have to ensure that the rollers stayed clean or else the film chemicals wouldn’t go completely through the image and the development process would be fudged.
We’ve seen some Instax cameras have issues with this later on in their life cycle, but it would be nice to know about how the performance of the rollers holds up. Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer just yet.
Like many of the Instax cameras, this little accessory is built of plastic. In fact, while it doesn’t feel cheaply built, it doesn’t exactly feel sturdy either.
In our meeting with Fujifilm at CES 2014, we entertained the idea of stuffing this thing into a jacket pocket (it indeed fits into a blazer pocket) and doing print jobs on the spot. In theory, you could become your own walking photo booth–which would score you all the ladies at the party providing your creepy nice guy side didn’t kick in too hard.
We’re kidding–you’d probably screw up really hard and spill PBR on it in some way. We’ve got a surefire feeling that this printer is quite the lightweight, and so it should stay far away from all forms of alcohol.
Ease of Use
While our reps didn’t show us the setup process of linking the printer to your phone, you won’t really need to do much to get it working. Once it’s all set up, all you need to do is use the brand new app on your phone and send your pictures to the printer. After about a 10 second or so delay, you’ll have your print. Then comes the waiting game for like another minute or so depending on temperature conditions.
So far, we think that the new Instax Smartphone printer is quite fun. With that said though, we believe that it should be at the $75 price point considering that the Instax film expenses in the long run will make you want to cry. It seems like a very fun concept too, but we’re very curious as to what Fujifilm will do as far as marketing and promotion goes.
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