Fujifilm's Instax instant film cameras are fun to use, but since the cameras are completely analog you get one print for every shot you take. Not only can it get expensive (a single picture costs about 50 cents to $1) but it's the only picture you get -- there is no digital version.
The Instax Share SP-2 mobile printer, however, lets you transform any photo on your smartphone or tablet to an instant film print on the spot. It means you can pick and choose what you want to print, edit your photos however you please with whatever filters and share them immediately.
At $200 (that converts to about £150 or AU$270, with UK and Australian details yet to be announced), it's not exactly inexpensive, especially compared with other compact photo printers capable of larger prints, but instant film and cameras never really were a cheap medium. And there is something to be said about the immediacy of it all that goes hand in hand with the shoot-and-share nature of smartphones (and, ugh, tablets).
The Share uses the same 10-print film packs as the Instax Mini cameras. Just pop open the printer, drop in the pack and close it back up. The list price for the film is $20 (about £18 or AU$30) for a two-pack, but can easily be found for less than $15. The prints are small at 3.4 by 2.1 inches (86 by 54 mm), though the actual image size is 2.4 by 1.8 inches (62 by 46 mm).
Since there's no ink or paper, the film is the only consumable. That, along with its compact size, makes it very easy to travel with. It even uses a replaceable, rechargeable battery good for up to 100 prints on a single charge. The SP-2's design is also completely new, making it look more like a modern mobile accessory and not a bland, utilitarian photo printer.
To print, you need to connect to the Wi-Fi network the printer creates. Just go into your phone's or tablet's Wi-Fi settings and select it from the available networks. Using Fujifilm's updated Share app available for iOS and Android devices you can select pictures from your gallery, social networks including Facebook and Instagram or take a new picture.
The app has black and white and sepia filters and you can create your own by adjusting brightness, contrast and saturation. You can, of course, edit your photo with other apps before pulling it into the Share app, but it's nice to have a few quick options built in. There are templates as well, for adding text or emoji below the prints or including a holiday theme. You can also create mini-collages or split a single photo across two prints.
Fujifilm used a new laser exposure system to drop the print time to 10 seconds. That's not a huge increase in speed from the SP-1 -- it took about 16 seconds for one of those to go from photo to print -- but, you know, faster is faster, and it is indeed faster. The print quality is better, too, with sharper, more detailed results.
Like the original, the Fujifilm Instax Share SP-2 is just a fun accessory to have for those who really love mobile photography. It's not exactly cheap, but the benefit here is that, unlike using one of the Instax Mini cameras, there are no wasted prints since you're using shots from your phone or tablet.