Full written blog: https://erinlyyc.com/2017/12/17/fujifilm-instax-share-sp-3-printer-review/
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*Sorry the audio is a bit crackly on this. I’m learning my new mic-camera set up. Ughh.*
Fujifilm has recently upgraded its pocket photo printer, the Instax Share, to make numerous improvements; the new model is known as the SP-3 and this version prints small, square photos that measure 62mm x 62mm (the previous photo size was 62mm X 46mm). I
I had a chance to test this device for several weeks at home under normal user conditions. I previously reviewed the Instax Share SP-1, And the Share SP-2 and you can read those reviews too by clicking the links below.
I struggled for a good couple of hours trying to get the Instax Share SP-3 set up. I tried it on four phones; the iPhone 6+, the iPhone X, and the Google Pixel 2. Nada.
I kept getting error messages saying, “the models do not match. Please retry the operation” and “the selected photo can’t be used”.
I checked to make sure I was using the most up to date version of the Instax app (I was) but nothing seemed to work.
Eventually I was able to get it working by trying it on yet another smartphone; the Samsung Galaxy S8+. But since I realize not everyone is a tech blogger and has access to multiple phones I think this is quite problematic.
I gave up and eventually tried again with an iPhone 8 several weeks later. It connected on the first try. Perhaps there was a bug that was fixed in subsequent app updates?
Here’s how to connect, in theory:
Make sure you have the most up-to-date Instax app installed
Power the printer on
Go to your phone’s Wi-Fi menu
Select the Instax printer from the list to connect
Once it connects, return to the Instax app
Select your photo
Hit Connect and Print
Annoyingly, the printer will go to sleep after a few minutes, so it’s important to note if you left it unattended for a period of time, you may need to turn it back on and reestablish the Wi-Fi connection before you can connect again. This involves basically repeating part of the set up process each time you want to print. I find this a huge pain. You can’t just turn the printer on an pop out a few prints, and because the printer automatically goes to sleep after about 5 minutes it’s a constant on/off/reconnect process.
The films come in plastic boxes that clip into the printer by opening a wide door in the printer’s body. You would think that makes it easy to swap cartridges (if and when different films emerge for the Share SP-3) but you can’t.
I checked with Fujifilm directly and they confirmed my findings; film cannot be switched back and forth. You must use an entire cartridge until it’s empty or risk ruined film and wasted money.
Film packs come with 10 prints per pack and cost anywhere from $13 to $24, so it pays to shop around. The prints use high resolution ( 800×600 dots at 320dpi ) files to print crisp, clear photos, even if they are quite small.
Mercifully, there are no ink cartridges to worry about in this printer, and that’s because the photos develop on the paper itself. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember original Polaroid instant prints that popped from the camera blank, then developed over a few minutes. These work exactly the same way.
The Instax Share SP-3 prints pretty quickly, once you’re connected. It takes about 10 seconds to print fully, then it will still need a minute or so to develop, just like those old style Polaroids. Plenty fast enough for me.
The Instax Share SP3 has a rechargeable battery which uses a micro USB cable. Fuji says the battery life on the printer will last about 100 prints, which could be weeks depending on how often you’re using the device. During my two-plus weeks of testing, and printing about 30 photos, I never needed to recharge it. A battery indicator also gives you a heads up on power status.
I like the prints from this device; I like the larger format and really enjoy the Polaroid style border.
I think the setup interface could function better, as I believe this will be very frustrating for users who aren’t very technologically inclined. I also find it annoying how quickly the printer goes to sleep and must be reconnected.
I do like the convenience of this printer and think it’s a fun gadget to have on hand for parties and family gatherings.
The Fujifilm Instax Share SP-32 is available in gold or silver, and sells for about $249 CAD (a $50 price jump from the smaller format SP-2) at the Source, Best Buy, and London Drugs.