Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3: the NextGen Polaroid (review)

I have the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 in my possession for about 3 weeks now. I’d like to share my impressions in this review of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3.

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 is a small printer that specifically targets mobile phones and Fuji X-series cameras. The printer produces a Polaroid type of photo that reminds us of the original Fuji colors used in the original Polaroid cameras. It uses the Fujifilm Instax Square Film, which gives it that nice original Polaroid look and feel.

You print via a mobile app or using a supported Fuji X-series camera.

First use of the Fujifilm Instax Share SP3

Having unboxed the Fujifilm Instax Share SP3, we notice that it is a relatively small package. The printer measures just over 11 cm in width (just over 4″), just over 13 cm in height (just over 5″) and about 4,5 cm in depth (roughly 1,7″). It is relatively small and light, therefore easy to carry it with you when you are travelling or visiting friends.

As the battery is not completely charged, it makes sense to first charge it fully before setting it up and put some film in it. You charge the battery by connecting the supplied micro-USB cable to the printer on one end and to either a standard phone charger on the other (external charger not supplied). This is the fastest way to charge the printer (around 3hrs for a completely drained battery). You can also charge it by connecting to the USB port on your laptop, which will take slightly longer.

When connecting the charger, an orange LED will light up while charging. When fully charged, the LED turns green. An array of white indicator lights indicate the number of sheets still available in the film.

Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 indicators

Fuji claims one charge lasts about 160 prints, but my impression is that in real life this is not realistic. I have not printed 160 prints though, so cannot really comment on this.

The Fujifilm Instax Square film

The Fujifilm Instax Square film comes in packets of 10 prints and cost around EUR 10 / USD 12,99. Inserting a new pack is easy: open the printer and simply align the indicator on the package with the same indicator on the printer.

After closing the printer, a protective sheet (not film) is ejected from the printer and you are all set to print pictures.

The Fujifilm Instax Share app

The app is available both for Android as well as for iOS devices. Search for ‘Instax Share’ in the Play Store or AppStore and download/install app to get started.

Instax Share app

Once installed, start the app and the first thing it will ask which model printer you have. The app supports the SP-1, SP-3 and SP-3. Of course, we will choose to use the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3. Then go to Settings and select Printer Setting. Make sure you first turn on the Instax Share SP-3 printer. The app will start searching for your printer. When found, the first time the app will ask for a PIN code (Factory Settings for this are 1111). Enter the PIN code and from now on you will be able to print from the app.

The way printing works, is that the Instax Share SP-3 will create its own WiFi network. When you start printing, the app will seamlessly connect your phone to this network, print the image and then automatically connects your phone to the original WiFi network. All this is hidden from the end user.

The app is capable of printing pictures that are present on your mobile phone, but also pictures that you published on Facebook and Instagram. Moreover, you can access pictures that are available in your Dropbox, Google Photos or Flickr account.

The Fujifilm Instax Share app provides templates for printing your picture. You can also edit and modify these templates to match your personal taste.

Printing on the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3

The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 uses the Fujifilm Instax Share Square film, which is a larger format than its predecessor, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2, uses. The Square format is 86x72mm, which gives it substantially more ‘real estate’ for printing your picture. It is still smaller than the original Polaroid film though, which measures 107x88mm.

Printing on the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 is surprisingly quick. It only takes a few seconds to send the picture to the printer and print it. Of course, being a Polaroid style print, it may take a couple of minutes before the print is fully developed. This is the charm of the Polaroid style photography.

Colors on the finished prints are similar to the original Polaroids, which I think is great. They give this 70s look to your prints, which is exactly what I am looking for when printing Polaroid style prints.

Below an original image and the same image as printed on the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3.

original image

Instax print

As you can see, the first choice to make is to select a square from the original image. This square will be printed on the Instax Square paper. Secondly, the colors on the Instax Square print are very different and are similar to the original Polaroid colors.

Connecting a Fujifilm X-series camera

Besides connecting your smartphone to the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3, you can also print directly from a support Fujifilm X-Series camera. I own a Fujifilm X-E2 camera and have successfully connected it to my Instax Share SP-3. The process is really quite straightforward as you can see below.

First, on your Fujifilm camera go to the Connection settings menu. Depending on the camera type, this should be similar to the picture below.

Instax connection stetting X-Series

When you navigate to the Instax Printer Connection Setting, you need to specify the identifier of your printer. This identifier has the format Instax-<number>, The easiest way to find out this number is to check on the Instax app on your mobile phone. It is therefore best to first connect your mobile phone to the printer before connecting your X-Series camera.

Once you enter the number, the camera will connect to the printer automatically, allowing you to print to the Instax Share SP-3 directly from your X-Series camera.

Instax print X-Series

Conclusion

Summarizing, I have the following pros and cons for the Fujufilm Instax Share SP-3.

Pro:

  • great prints
  • easy setup
  • fast
  • small package

Con:

  • Battery life to be determined
  • only 10 prints in package

In my opinion, if you are into Polaroid style photography, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-3 is a great product, well worth owning.

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