The camera industry has struggled in recent years to make products for the ordinary consumer, in an age when almost everyone has a perfectly good camera embedded in their phone.
Of course, amateur photographers never gave up on their dark rooms and their rolls of film. But for the rest of us, camera phones combined with filtering apps like Instagram have turned everyone into a wannabe Ansel Adams.
So how does a once-indispensable industry reinvent itself in the face of this kind of disruptive innovation? We now know Fujifilm’s answer to that question. It’s called the SQ10, and it’s scheduled to hit the market in May.
The SQ10 does exactly what a camera needs to do in order to appeal to the casual photography fan: it does some very cool things that your phone cannot possibly do.
The main selling point of the SQ10 lies in its hybrid nature. That’s because not only can the SQ10 do everything we expect from a regular digital camera, it also provides users with a new film format that lets you take square pictures, and then print them straight from your camera.
Yes, square pictures. Sound familiar? It should if you remember Polaroid, or if you use Instagram, which imposes a 1:1 aspect ratio (i.e. square) on whatever photos you upload to your profile.
Making it even more Instagram-like, SQ10 comes complete with photo filters, allowing you to make your night out with your friends look a lot cooler than it actually was.
So now you don’t need to have faux vintage photos scrolling on your phone; you can actually have real printable film photos with the same square presentation and the same kinds of filters.
Sounds pretty good, but as with everything, it’s going to set you back a few dollars. Several hundred in fact: the expected price right now is about $280 USD (which is about $370 AUD).
But for those of you who already spend the full price whenever a new iPhone model comes out, maybe consider hanging on to your current phone for one release cycle, and re-investing that money in an actual real camera.
And it’s retro, right? Just like your vinyl collection. Everything old is new again.