Should you send your images to the Instax Share app first or do it right from camera?
Instax is a great way for photographers to give instant prints to clients, either as a memento of the shoot or as an added service. While most people will have to transfer the images to their phone, Fujifilm shooter has the ability to connect directly to their Instax Printer with their Fujifilm X-Series camera body. This makes the process of printing even quicker, skipping the step of having to send the image to your phone first.
But we got to thinking; are there are image quality differences between the shots sent by phone vs sent from the camera?
How about the experience; Does the app or camera take longer to print, is there enough customization on the camera? Is either option any faster than the other? These are all questions that we asked ourselves, and that maybe you have asked yourselves at some point if you shoot with an X-Series camera. So we set out to run a little test and see how the two options stack up. We tested this using Fujifilm’s [amazon_textlink asin=’B0759G8F8N’ text=’XE3′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’42a87db1-c649-11e7-9229-b975763d4b30′], [amazon_textlink asin=’B01A8DUR74′ text=’X-Pro2′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’3d130b64-c649-11e7-98f2-b33fd309a10d’], and new [amazon_textlink asin=’B076D34QPS’ text=’Instax Share SP3′ template=’ProductLink’ store=’thephobl-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’370d9a83-c649-11e7-895b-8f5418ddb39e’] printer.
The Instax Share App
The Instax Share App is the primary way that most people send images to their Instax printers. It is Fujifilm’s app that you can download for iOS and Android phones. It is simple enough to use; upon entering the app you are greeted with a multi-tiled screen with various options about ways to customize the images that you print.
You can either take an image right there, in the app, to send directly to your Instax printer. But you can also just pull an image from the images already saved on your phone (which is how you would be printing an image you shot on your X-Series camera). Since we are talking from the photographer’s perspective here and not a consumer one we will skip going over the various additional customizations like adding text or filters.
To print you simply select the image you want to print, and then you are greeted with another page where you can reposition the image on the print. This is key, as the images that you will be printing from your camera will be larger than the Instax print frame, so you will need to make sure to position your subject correctly in the frame.
The Fujifilm X-Series Camera
To print to your Instax Share printer from your X-Series camera there are a couple of things that you need to do. First, in your settings, you need to make sure and set up your camera to find your Instax Share printer. You can find out how to do this in the manual for your camera the process may slightly vary from camera to camera.
Once your X-series camera is set up to find your Instax Share printer then you can press the play button on your camera to start viewing your images. When you come to the image that you want to send to the printer you need to press the ‘OK/Menu’ button to open the image options. Once you do that, you can scroll down to the Instax Printer Print option and select that if you are ready to print the image. The camera will then connect to the printer and print the image.
The caveat here is that you need to make any modifications to your image right there, in camera, BEFORE sending it to the Instax printer. This includes paying attention to your framing and cropping because there is no method to reposition the image on the print in the camera like there is in the App. So if you send the image to the printer without thinking about that you may waste some film on a shot with your subject cut off in the frame.
How They Compare
Well, comparing the speed of the prints, we feel as though the phone is slightly faster sending the image to the printer. But in terms of printing speed, they both come out of the printer at the same speed. So with the speed of the print out of the way, being essentially a tie with a slight edge in image transfer speed to the phone, we can move on to print quality.
Again, here we were not really able to visibly see any difference between the image that we printed directly from the camera and the image that we printed from the phone. The resolution, color, sharpness; it all looked identical to our eye.
As far as we were able to tell the image quality between the two options was identical, and the print speed was virtually the same. This means the biggest determining factor between the two options for printing to your Instax Share printer is how much customization you expect to need and how quickly you need to be able to get the printout.
If you are doing an event for example, or any other situation where you need to be able to shoot and print rather quickly, then maybe printing directly from your camera (assuming you take framing into account while shooting) will be a good option for you.
That said, for virtually every other situation we feel like there is really no reason to print directly from the camera over transferring the image to your phone and then to the app. Sure, that does add time for the whole camera to phone transfer process, but the printing experience (and being able to adjust the image on the print on the fly) is just smoother and less of a guessing game than it is when you want to print directly from the camera.
We always wondered why Fujifilm didn’t push the ability to print from the camera to the printer more, and now we see why – its functionality is just really limited when compared to the ease and customization available through the app. Which is a shame, you would think that adding some simple customization options into the camera would make a lot of sense and would help sell the camera/printer combo idea to more photographers.
It seems like a missed opportunity for Fujifilm. But at least the Instax Share App is solid and offers a good experience. Hopefully, you have found this helpful in your desire to learn more about X-Series cameras ability to print to Fujifilm’s Instax Share printers.