June 30, 2016
I’m an instant film fanatic. I’ve tried just about every instant camera that prints on instant film, instant cameras that print digital sticker prints and pocket printers that print digital photos from recent years.
But I still had no idea Fujifilm sold a pocket printer that prints your smartphone photos on mini instant film. Yep, that’s on real instant film, not digital paper.
I missed the boat on the SP-1 and now the company’s releasing the Instax Share SP-2 for $199.99.
The printer has a new sharper design that resembles a juice box. It’s also slightly more compact and lighter. It comes in two colors: silver and gold to better match today’s smartphone color trends. No rose gold, though.
Faster, higher resolution prints
There are a couple of internal improvements over the SP-1 that make the SP-2 a worthwhile upgrade.
First, the SP-2 prints 40 percent faster. It only takes 10 seconds to print out a photo over Wi-Fi from your smartphone (or tablet) compared to the SP-1’s 14 seconds.
Second, printed photos have a higher resolution thanks to a new 3-color OLED printing engine: 800 x 600 resolution at 320 dots per inch (dpi). The SP-1 printed at 640 x 480 resolution at 254 dpi. And the printer now supports PNG files as well as JPEG.
And third, the Instax Share app for iOS and Android has been updated with new features like a custom filter and split-picture and collage templates. These new app features are in addition to the ability to print photos with a myriad of templates (i.e. holidays, birthdays, celebrations, etc.), print photos with real-time data (i.e. date, time, location, weather, chance of rain) and include data from select social networks like Facebook and Instagram (i.e. profile photo, number of likes, caption and hashtags).
Easy to use, except…
Using the printer itself is mostly a lovely experience. When you power the printer on, an LED lights up green and a row of 10 LED dots on the top tells you how many shots of mini instant film you have left.
There’s a reprint button the side of the camera for instantly printing a duplicate to give to a friend.
The SP-2 uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and charges through a Micro USB cable, which is included in the box. Not included in the box is a power adapter, but your smartphone’s will work fine. Battery life is rated at up to 100 prints.
Quick reprint button
Charges via Micro USB
The Instax Share app is easy to use. The app is split into five core sections: print from your smartphone camera roll, reprint a photo, take a photo and print, print a photo with the real-time template, and print from SNS (social networking site).
And connecting your smartphone to the SP-2 printer is as simple as connecting to it in the Wi-Fi settings.
Things get a little cumbersome when you want to print with the real-time and social media templates. You need to connect to your Internet connection first, launch those template modes, pick your photo, make your edits and/or add your text, then go back to your Wi-Fi settings and connect back to the Instax printer, and then hit print.
It’s the same process of jumping between the Instax Share app to Wi-Fi settings every single time you want to use one of those cool templates that need access to the Internet. It’s annoying for sure, but once you get used to it, you’ll be a pro at using your recent apps feature (double-tap home button on iPhone or tap recent apps button on Android).
Such good prints
I’m not exaggerating when I say the prints are unbelievably good. They’re really sharp and exposure is great. There’s some color fringing along the borders that remind you the prints are on instant film, but other than that, the prints are just…wow.
There’s not much in terms of filter selection (black & white and sepia are your only choices), but the templates are a whole lot of fun to use. The social media ones are especially cool since they retain the captions you originally wrote and the number of likes they got. It’s weird to print and give someone a real-life version of an Instagram, but it is charming every time.
Printing photo collages is also a great way to preserve a memory without wasting film and printing them on multiple shots. Split-photo mode is really neat for sharing group photos — like a photo locket.
To see just how sharp the SP-2 prints, I did a few shoots with it and my Instax Mini 90 instant camera. As you can see in the photo comparisons below, the prints out of my Mini 90 camera came out softer than those taken with my iPhone 6 and printed with the SP-2.
For landscape photos, though, my Mini 90 won, the photos were sharper and had better exposure.
Your mileage will vary, but for the most part, the SP-2 prints better photos than a regular mini-instant film Instax camera.
In a few tests with the OnePlus 3, which has a 16-megapixel camera, the prints from the SP-2 were actually too high-resolution and led to a lot of visible anti-aliasing issues and moiré. My iPhone 6’s 8-megapixel camera yielded a solid balance of resolution and image print quality.
Sharing is caring
Trust me when I tell you I’m not simply drinking the instant film Kool-Aid. Fujifilm’s Instax Share SP-2 is wonderfully fun.
It’s a little steep at $199.99, but for the image quality you get, it’s totally worth it. Pricing for Fujifilm’s Instax mini film fluctuates, but a 20-pack is $11.71, a 40-pack is $28.46 and a 60-pack is $37.89 on Amazon as of this writing. That’s lower than normal.
Had I known about the Fujifilm’s Instax Share instant film printers for your smartphone, I probably wouldn’t have splurged on the Mini 90.
Fast prints in 10 seconds • High-resolution prints • Long battery life for up to 100 prints • Handy shot-counter at a glance • Rechargeable battery
Switching Wi-Fi networks for some templates is a pain
The Bottom Line
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 is an excellent and fun way to share your smartphone photos IRL.