Even though I still have my old trusty Canon 5D Mark III and Mamiya MF camera.. I have fallen in love with my Fuji cameras, namely the Fuji X-T1
A few months ago I saw the Fujifilm Instax SP-1 printer. It first, I though.. meh! It looked cool, but decided that my Canon Selphy CP900 was still my best option for a small compact printer (even though I have Windows 8 issues with this printer). Also I was really set on getting the either the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (which might still one day appear in my collection) or the Polaroid Socialmatic (which now the price has increased and it will not ship until next year).
Because of the Socialmatic news, I decided to order the Fujifilm SP-1. It was a hard decision between the SP-1 and the Mini 90. Well I received my SP-1 last week, and my opinion has changed. I am glad that I ordered this instead of the Mini 90.
The Share SP-1 uses the same film as the Instax Mini range of cameras and runs off two CR2 batteries, so it’s nice and portable. The batteries will allow about 100 images to be printed.
Here is the Instax SP-1 next to my iPhone 4S and Fuji X100 for size comparison. The Fujifilm SP-1 printer is nicely designed, and rounded. It’s pretty small, and not very heavy, so it would be quite easy to throw this into a bag or large pocket. The buttons are tactile and well positioned. There is a neat LED battery indicator and an exposure LED counter telling how many prints are left in the cartridge.
To print images, you will have to either have a camera that can print directly to the Fuji SP-1 (I am waiting for the Fuji X-T1 to have this feature) or use either the iOS or Android app. Currently I am using this with my iPad Air. Basically I get the images on my device and edit them using VSCO or Snapseed. But you can just print directly from the device. It is pretty easy to connect this printer to my iPad. I turn on the SP-1, go into my iPad’s Wi-Fi settings, and connect with the printer. Then I go to the Instax app and select a big “Connect and print” button. Then I just select the images I want to print and that is it. The images come out in about 10-15 seconds. Just like in the Polaroid days, it takes a few minutes for your image to appear on the Instax films.
The Instax app also allows you to use images from Facebook or Instagram. There are a few templates, but I have not played with them yet. Also you can put words/descriptions/etc onto your template before you print. Pretty neat.
The print quality is what you would probably expect from an instant camera. The photos are not super sharp, but again neither were Polaroid’s. This is not expected to replace a true photo printer or prints you would get from Costco, Sam’s Club, Walgreen’s, etc.
I can see this printer being used for many groups. First this printer is great with family and friends, or any type of group settings. I can see myself bringing this to my children’s birthday party and being able to print a few images to give to their friends/parents. Also I plan to use these in my home and office. Having these on my office walls so people can see new photos of my family would be great. Also at home having them in scrapbooks like my parents has a nice nostalgic feel. My 4 year old son loves the prints, from the time it pops out of the SP-1 to the final photo “magically” appearing.
Another group I can see this being useful are photographers. I can see event and wedding photographers being able to hand some nice small prints to brides/parents/etc and seeing the look on their faces would be priceless. I am sure they would be much happier a physical copy of the picture they can show than just seeing a preview on a camera and waiting for the images. I am looking forward in using the SP-1 at some of my upcoming studio shoots. Also travel photographers and street photographers would find this printer useful. I have read a lot of these type of photographers being able to get some awesome shot then being able to print and give their subjects a photo. Here is an example of this.
Cool things I like about the Fujifilm Instax SP-1 Printer:
- Very quick to connect.
- Apps are easy to use, and tells you which images you’ve already printed and how many exposures are left in the cartridge.
- The printer itself tells you via the green LED lights how many exposures are left on the cartridge.
- The reprint button is useful.
- Fast Print time, 8-10 seconds.
- It’s a small portable device.
A couple of things I’d like to see with the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-1 improve on in the future:
- The ability to print direct from a Wi-Fi enabled camera (X-T1 for example) would be awesome. Some of their cameras already have this ability. I know Fuji mentioned that upcoming firmware will allow this ability.
- A better set of templates and editing options in the App.
Overall, the Fujifilm SP-1 is quite a unique and fun little wireless printer. It is portable and works any android and iOS devices. It’s quick to print and the nice small Instax images are great to share with friends and family right on the spot.
You can buy the Fuji Instax SP-1 printer from Amazon for about $150 dollars.
I will start of saying this… I am just a regular hobbyist that picked up photography 4-5 years ago. I have been published on and in books, magazines, websites, etc. That said, I am still learning photography and will still continue to learn and improve myself.
Recently I picked a Fuji X100 and instantly fell in love. This is by far the greatest camera that I have ever owned. Granted since I really just got into photography I have only owned maybe 14-15 cameras (half P&S cameras). There are a few things I love about this camera. To name a few, I love the looks, the build quality, the image quality, and the unthreatening and unobtrusive nature of the camera.
There are a lot of different reviews out there. In most of these reviews they have compared this camera to everything from a Leica M9 to other types of SLR’s. First I would like to say that I am just going to talk about my experiences with the camera. I will leave it to the professional reviewers to measure, compare, write and rate this camera. Second, this is not a rangefinder camera. There are a lot of people out there that still thinks this camera is a rangefinder camera. Third, this is not a DSLR. It is not going to act, focus, and perform like a DSLR.
Right now my main camera is a very capable Canon 5D Mark II. I also have a nice collection of “L” glass. I still shoot with my Canon 5D as a backup camera. While I am not going to be doing any scientific comparisons, I might mention my current camera gear as references/comparisons.
I’ve been looking for that “perfect” camera that I can carry everywhere for a long time. I hated carrying my 5DMarkII everywhere to take decent pictures. I use to carry that to restaurant, the park, hanging out with friends, etc. It got to the point where I would just use my crappy iPhone 3GS or one of my P&S cameras. I thought I found the answer with the Canon S95. It is a great small P&S with decent image quality. But still at the end of the day I still longed for something small that I can carry everywhere and that has both the image quality of my 5D Mark II/DSLR.
I admit when I saw the specs and images of this camera from last year’s Photokina, I thought “cool camera” but didn’t think much else about it. When it was released, I still didn’t think about it. Then comes all the real world image examples and reviews, and thought I have to look into this camera…. Well when I saw this and held this camera, I was sold. It was like love at first site. But the problem was trying to find one in stock somewhere. Not only was the world’s supply down from the devastating tsunami in Japan, but everyone seems to be buying out what was left. In fact right now it is a hard to find camera. Never the less, I found one two months ago and have been inseparable ever since.
The camera looks like a minimalistic retro/vintage camera. It resembles a classic rangefinder. The X100 is a joy to use. The small size allows me to carry the X100 anywhere and everywhere. I know a lot of people will carry this camera many different ways, but I usually put this camera in my cargo pants pocket. When I go to work then it goes into my work bag. My 5DMkII would never fit into my work bag. The X100’s body is ergonomically designed and has a good feel to it. Even for people with big hands like myself, it still feels right.
The X100 has a fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent). This lens is a perfect match for its APS-C sensor. For me 35mm is the perfect all around focal length, it’s not wide enough to create distortion but wide enough to get what you want into the shot. Yes I think a zoom would be more convenient, but not if it decreases the image quality or increased the size of this camera. Another think I love about this lens is its f/2 aperture. This allows me to get clean low light shots and that beautiful bokeh that everyone likes/talks about. I want to mention that some lenses produce harsh/ugly bokeh, not the X100. The lens has a 9-curved blade aperture, which produces nice, creamy beautiful bokeh.
Another cool feature is the viewfinder. It has both an optical and electrical view finder. I am not going to go into how it works because you can just Google it. While I use the LCD in the back for half of my shots, I really enjoy the optical viewfinder. The optical viewfinder is large and clear. It shows you everything inside and the outside edges of your frame. Also it has an overlay which shows cool things like metering, leveling, histograms, etc… I love it. The electronic viewfinder is cool especially in the dark.
I also love EV, aperture and shutter speed dials/controls. It’s a change from DSLR (unless I am using manual lenses). I find it makes it easy to adjust the camera settings.
Other hardware related items that I wanted to mention is the built in hardware 3-stop ND filter. This allows me to shoot wide open outdoors in the bright sun. Combine this with 1/1000th sync speed; I can get some great wide open outdoors and studio shots.
I love the leaf shutter. Not only this shutter is super silent, it lets me shoot 1/1000 with pocket wizards. This allows me to shoot action shots outdoors and in the studio. I also heard that it allows up to 1/4000 sync speeds using a sync cable.
I have only played around with video a few times, so I cannot really comment a lot about it. Also I have only taken a few shots with the panoramic feature of the camera. I think it is a very useful feature and cannot wait until I have the opportunity to utilize it.
The images I am getting from my Fuji X100 have been nothing short of amazing. Normally I am a RAW shooter, ever since my XT all the way to my 5D Mark II I shoot nothing but RAW. But the sharpest, color, lighting, color balance, etc are almost perfect. There is not much I can do to the X100 raw files that is not already done to the JPEG file.
The images are sharp, I am assuming it is because of a weak anti-aliasing filter. Also the megapixel count is perfect for the lens and sensor.
Now lets talk about the ISO/low light handling of the X100. The ISO performance is phenomenal. Typically with most P&S and some older DSLR’s I would never go past ISO800 or it tends to produce a lot of noise. One reason why I love my Canon 5D Mark II is because the noise at ISO3200 tends to be very well controlled. So I was excited that the ISO3200 produced similar results to my 5DMkII. In fact I actually use the AutoISO feature of the Fuji all the way up to ISO3200. This covers 99% of my shooting, even in very low light.
The X100 auto white balance is one of the best I have ever seen. It usually gets the temperature/white balance correct about 90% of the time.
The Fuji color and tonality are some of the most accurate that I have ever seen. The colors I usually get with my Canon usually have a reddish cast to it, the same with Nikons. But not with Fuji, it is pretty accurate.
The X100 has a few film simulation modes; three color ones and a few b&w ones. Of course I love color. The default Provia is nice. I like using Velvia when I am shooting landscapes, flowers, nature, etc. But I usually leave it on Astia. It produces nice creamy, pleasing images. There is something about it.
My shooting settings
- Aperture priority: I usually use f/2 or f/2.8, 85% of the time. When it is too bright, I will use the built in ND filter.
- JPEG: I usually leave it on JPEG most of the time. Unless I am shooting people, landscape, etc then I will use RAW+JPEG.
- Film Simulation: I use Astia most of the time. I really love the images that come with this setting. My other settings are:
- Color M-High
- Sharpness Hard
- Highlight M-Hard
- Shadow Tone M-Soft
- Noise Reduction M-Low
- AutoDR is set to DR100. It goes up to DR400, but I find that DR100 does a reasonable job.
- Auto ISO – up to ISO 3200 and have it jumps the ISO when the shutter starts to drop below 1/60sec.
So is the Fuji X100 the perfect camera… Well no, since there is not such thing, but it is getting there. The camera has flaws just like any other camera, car, person, computer, etc. I will not go through all the flaw or complaints out there. There are a lot of other reviews that talks about these issues. While there are some improvements that can be made, I have worked around them to suit me. It is the person behind the camera and not just the camera.
- Manual focus needs to be improved. The focus ring is virtually useless. It takes about 1000 rotations to go from the min focus distance to infinity.
- Focusing speed can be improved. I think this is the number one complaint out there. I have missed some shots because of the focus speed. It sort of reminds me of my 5DMkII and the 85L or 50L in low light. But it definitely is not a showstopper.
- The menu system is not the best-organized menu out there. I sometimes have to “Remember” where to go.
There are a lot of small capable cameras out there such as the Canon G series, Sony NEX series, Leica M9/X1 series, and a bunch of other micro 4/3rd systems. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Given all that, the Fuji X100 outshines them all in my opinion.
This camera is not really suited for people who want an interchangeable lens DSLR or someone who wants an automatic point and shoot camera. You will be disappointed.
Now if you are looking for a very capable, small lightweight camera, one that you can be creative with and grow with then the X100 is the perfect camera for you. It makes a great second camera for those who carry big DSLRs with a lot of lenses. The images that come out of this are better than most DSLR’s with big/nice lenses. This camera also makes a great lightweight travel companion for those who want to leave their huge DSLR/lens at home or in the hotel room.
I think Fuji released a fine product. This is one of the best camera since digital cameras came out. You can tell Fuji did their job when there have been a lot of praises, criticisms, and feedback/reviews of many. I hope other camera companies follow suit as Fuji did with the X100.
A few of my X100 image galleries
X100 Houston city shots (My first week with my X100)
X100 Studio shots
X100 Danboard shots
X100 Food shots
X100 – Shots of my son