My Review of the Fuji Instax Share SP-1 Printer -- I Don't Love It But I Like It for Art Journal Projects
Right about the time I was trying to talk myself out of buying the Fuji Instax Mini camera, I noticed someone talking about the Fuji Instax Share Printer and decided that was a cute little toy I'd like to have. After all, I love taking photos and using Instagram filters on them and I absolutely loved the TagPrints booth at BlogHer '13 that let you print your Instagram photos just by tagging them with the special tag. This little printer seemed very much like that and I pictured myself printing all the Instagram photos and using them in my art journals and stuff.
So, I took the Amazon credits I'd been accumulating and pre-ordered the Fuji Instax Share SP1. It was pricey, even with all of my credits applied, but I was sure it was going to be awesome and fun.
When it arrived, I was super excited. Except. Oops. I had ordered the one that did not come with any film at all. Sigh. Fine. I ordered a big box of film and waited a couple more days. But, by the time the film arrived, I'd lost the instructions and it was not easy to figure out how to set up -- the online instructions weren't helpful at all.
Grrr. I didn't have a lot of time to figure it out since the printer (and film) arrived just a few days before BlogHer Food '14 so I was extra frustrated when I did finally find the instructions, which weren't all that clear or helpful either. I'm usually good with instructions but good grief, this was hard -- at least 'til the lightbulb clicked and I realized you have to actually go into your iPhone settings and select the Instax Share wifi in order to connect the app to the little printer. Oy. Not nearly as easy as I'd hoped. But, I wasn't letting that little issue get me down and I started choosing photos to print.
Here's how it works. You download the Fuji Instax App. You put batteries (or buy the cord to plug in) and film into the tiny little printer (it can be held in the palm of my hand) and turn it on. You go to your phone's wifi settings and select the Fuji Instax account and connect to that signal. Then, you go back to the app and select a photo (you can connect your social media streams to grab photos from those locations, or use photos that are on your phone or take a new photo.) You can do some light editing with the app -- there are a few basic filters, you can shrink or tilt the image, and you can add templates to the photos to include dates or special event type frames to the images.
Once you've got the image the way you want it, click "Connect and Print" and the photo will be printed (quickly). Like with any instant print camera or printer, it takes a few minutes for the image to process and appear -- but it's pretty fast.
And the photos are... fine. Not the best. Certainly better than most of the Polaroid style photos I've seen over the last few years but not as high quality as I'd hoped. It's hard to get the lighting and the shadows balanced properly. A photo that looks awesome in Instagram, or on your phone, doesn't necessarily look great printed with the Fuji Instax -- especially if you don't choose any filter at all. They're a little washed out. Or the shadows that looks so amazing on your phone or on Instagram don't render as well in the printed version. I've used a lot of film trying to get a couple of shots to print the way I want them to.
Frustrating. So, I stopped using the printer for awhile and then it hit me. The printer is actually fine for what I bought it for -- to use cute photos in my art journaling. Photos I'm probably going to add paint or paper or color wash or sequins or glitter to, anyway. Duh. These photos are exactly right, for that so I'm happ(ier) with the printer now than I was a month ago.
If I had it to do all over again -- I'm not sure I'd have bought the Fuji Instax Share SP-1. I'm also not sure I can recommend YOU buy it -- it depends on how high your standards are and what you'll want to do with the photos.
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