I think The Phoblographer’s Fujifilm reps had to listen to me try to understand the Fujifilm Instax Pal on a few different calls when we were given information on it prior to the announcement. That’s probably what’s so incredible about it — you really have to experience it in person to understand it. The Fujifilm Instax Pal isn’t a camera meant to compete with the much more serious image-making devices targeted at working photographers or content creators. Instead, it reminds me of the glee that a confident, nerdy woman once had when I wore a Pikachu t-shirt to a summer hangout. So if there’s a bit of your inner child still left, you’ll probably really like the Fujifilm Instax Pal.
Table of Contents
The Big Picture
The Fujifilm Instax Pal is an incredibly cute camera that’s bound to put a smile on your face if you get over your own hangups. Like Nikon’s various cameras, it comes with a few different shutter sounds. But these sounds are nothing like a typical camera’s sounds. Instead, they’re cutesy sounds that you can’t help but smile at. Not to mention that it reminds me a bit of an old-school Tamagotchi or Gigapet! But this time around, it doesn’t get mad at you if you’re at school all day, it doesn’t need cleaning, and feeding it is much easier with USB-C charging.
While it seems like a crackpot idea, it’s just so crazy that it works. In many ways, this is the funniest camera that I’ve tested in a while.
The Fujifilm Instax Pal receives four out of five stars. Want one? Check them out on Amazon for $199.95. Admittedly, that price seems kind of high considering that you also need to pay for film.
The Fujifilm Instax Pal is a small, cutesy camera with no majorly clear controls. Instead, you’re more or less just relying on what you think will work. Most millennials will be able to figure it out easily; and we’re pretty sure that Gen X will too. With that said, I’m also absolutely certain that both Gen Alpha and Gen Z can figure this out too even though it doesn’t have a touchscreen interface — which has been dominant throughout most of their lives.
In fact, the Fujifilm Instax Pal only has three external controls. On top, there is a little button to bring your Pal to life. On the back is the shutter button. And on the bottom of the device is a switch to set it to Fun mode or Link mode. The former is for using the app, while it’s that latter that lets you print directly to an Instax printer.
Ease of Use
Most of how you interact with your Pal is done through the Instax Pal app. You can set it up for remote control shooting, import images shot with the Pal from the Micro SD card (not included), and make fun animations that can be seen with a QR code.
You may also notice the name “Buster” on the screen. That’s because you have to name your Pal too. That’s part of the fun of it — it reminds me a bit of a digital friend. In fact, at times it also reminds me of the little companions that you might have in a game like Portal or something.
The Fujifilm Instax Pal can print to a variety of printers from Fujifilm. And that’s where this gets even more complex. You have to have an Instax printer, the appropriate app, and then the film. This is where it gets a bit complex. For example, Fujifilm has an app for each of their printers. Why they don’t have one and then constantly update that is beyond my comprehension.
However, it’s an annoying process — perhaps it’s the only thing that I don’t like about the camera. Why can’t I do everything from a single app?
I shot only a few photos with the Fujifilm Instax Pal in my short time testing it. It’s got a super small camera sensor, and so it’s pretty easy for it to focus. I didn’t try it in low light and I truly don’t think that someone would use it in low light. But if you’re a person with darker skin like me, then I’m sure it might give the focusing some problems in lower light. Luckily it has an LED to help with focusing.
There’s something very, very digital about the Fujifilm Instax Pal. It feels like the old-school digital cameras that I used to use in college. And that’s a vibe in and of itself that people are going to like printing out. It’s all part of the fun here.
Who Should Buy The Fujifilm Instax Pal?
These days, I happen to be surrounded by lots of people having kids. And ultimately, I could see this being given to a kid as a toy camera of some sort. But otherwise, I think that it’s a bit too much for something that you’d only use occasionally. For what it’s worth too, I prefer the dedicated Instax camera that spit out the image from the camera itself. And if you want something more serious, there are surely options out there for you.