A little while back someone showed me the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer. At first, I though…meh! I could see it’s uses, but I couldn’t see it’s uses for me.
Instax Share SP-1 next to an X100S for size comparison
This changed once I received it last week.
Let me tell you a little anecdote; My daughter has one of the Instax Mini 8 cameras. It’s pink (she’s five years old). She adores it and she snaps away at anybody who will allow her. She has a little album and it’s been a wonderful way for her to enter into the world of photography.
So, when I received the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer I was intrigued, more than anything, to see how I could utilise it in my day to day work.
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer is nicely designed, and rounded. The buttons are tactile and well positioned. There is a neat battery indicator and also an exposures remaining LED.
It looks good and is really quite discrete too. I have a white one, and I’m not sure if other colours will be offered.
As you probably know, by day, I’m a professional documentary wedding photographer, and my other passion is Street Photography.
Street Photographers I think will simply love this device. If you shoot portraits on the street, as I do occasionally, I usually end up offering the subject a business card and asking them to email me (I always send them a small print in the post if they do email). This is a laborious task right? and an even more pain if you are shooting abroad.
I can see me taking the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer with me when ever I shoot street now. It’s small enough (101.6mm x 42mm x 122.5mm / 253g ) to slip into a bag and the two CR2 batteries will last for around a hundred exposures. Plenty for a few shooting trips for me.
So; engage with subject, shoot, print…..away you go. Very cool.
I was a bit reticent about using it at a wedding. My style is totally candid. I don’t really do bridal portraits etc. However, I gladly took the SP-1 with me to a wedding I shot in the South of France last weekend.
This is what I did – and this is where I think it will be amazingly powerful for wedding photographers:
- Shot the wedding all day using my X-T1 and X100S
- During the down time I WiFi’ed (is that a real word?) over an image from the X-T1 to my iPad. If you don’t have a wifi enabled camera you can of course simply ingest the card to the device.
- I used Snapseed to edit the image sightly. A bit of contrast and conversion to black and white.
- I printed on the Instax Share SP-1
- I gave it to the bride and groom as I left
- They cried….said it was wonderful….and showed it to everyone else.
- Boom! Added value for wedding photographers right there.
I can see wedding shooters who offer a more formal type of photography benefiting from this as well. Being able to take a portrait of Aunty Mabel and print it there and then is going to make you the good guy (or girl).
Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer Print Quality
The print quality is fine. You are not going to lose print sales post event by handing these out. They are very much aimed at resembling the Poloroids of past and that, they do very well. According to Fuji the print resolution is 10 dots/mm (254 dpi) with 256 levels per color (RGB). It’s not hi-res printing but the images that do come out are snappy and certainly of a high enough quality to make people go “Ooooo” and even, perhaps “Aaaaah”.
The physical size of the images are 62mm x 46mm, so not huge….but perfect for street shooters and wedding photographers a like I think.
Cool things I like about the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer:
- Very quick to connect.
- The App Software is very easy to use.
- The printer itself tells you via the green LED lights how many exposures are left on the roll.
- The App Software tells you which images you’ve already printed, or if an image is not usable.
- Print time is around 9 seconds in total.
- Didn’t have a miss communication once.
- It’s a pretty small device.
- Comes with batteries and two cassettes of film in the box.
A couple of things I’d like to see with the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer in the future:
- The ability to print direct from a WiFi enabled camera (X-T1 for example) would be awesome.
- A better set of templates and editing options in the App
- It would be cool to have a strap too. I know, I know, you aren’t going to walk around all day with this around your neck but if you are doing a run of portraits, at a wedding perhaps, it would be useful.
Using the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 Smartphoto Printer:
- You need the Instax Share App. I believe this is available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. I just used the iPad version.
- Simply hold the power button the printer down for about a second and it comes to life.
- At the same time, it creates and ad hoc wi-fi network (you can change the name, password etc if you are security conscience).
- Go into your device settings and connect to that network.
- Launch the Insax Share App.
- Select the image.
- Edit, add text, rotate the image etc as you see fit.
- Press PRINT.
- Then wait around 9-15 seconds for the emulation to be exposed in front of your eyes.
- Stand back and admire your work.
The application comes with some themes and basic editing functionality (though I suspect any serious photographer will edit the images first in another image editing app on their device). There are some neat uses of the themes where I can see it being useful to put your name or your website address on the image via the software. All very cool stuff. You can make the image Sepia or black and white too but, as mentioned, something like Snapseed is far better positioned for this type of editing.
In summary – I think this is a great device. I know there are similar things on the market but for me this is a well rounded all in one solution for printing your phone photos or from a wi-fi enabled camera.
I really, really, really, really want to be able to print directly from the X-T1 and other wifi enabled cameras though. I think that would make this device go from seriously useful, to absolutely necessary for travel photographers, street photographers and wedding photographers who want to give their clients that little extra.
Enjoy it. I did.
Written by Kevin Mullins