I'll start off by saying I really enjoy the Instax line and own several Instax cameras (Mini, Wide and Square) as well as the previous Instax Share SP-1 and Instax Share SP-2 before purchasing the Instax Share SP-3, so I will make some comparisons to those throughout.
The Instax Share printers "print" a photo onto actual Instax Film.. this means you can watch the photo develop with some unique film looks that you just don't see with something like a Polaroid Snap printer. This also means that you won't get a crisp high-quality print, but rather an instax "digital print on film"
The Instax Share SP-3 uses the Instax Square film and is currently the only device to use the format (the other being the Instax SQ10 digital/analog hybrid camera). The Instax Square film is a throwback to the old Polaroid shape but comes in quite a bit smaller (2.8" x 3.4" size opposed to 3.5" x 4.25" of oldschool Polaroid/Impossible films). Instax Square is also a higher cost, roughly double the cost of Instax Mini and Instax Wide (it's a little more expensive and only comes in 10-packs opposed to 20 of the other sizes). The size is just inbetween the Mini and Wide sizes.
The Instax SP-3 design is nice but I felt they made some weird choices. I liked the design of it, I liked that it has the rechargable battery of the previous model and that the buttons were recessed so they can't be easily pressed, but then they did something odd where the Black model has tints of red/purple/rust/bronze to it opposed to a nice solid (matte or piano) black. The battery cover is not attaches in any way, meaning once you open it the cover falls off making it easy to lose. The other covers like the USB port are a bit tricky to open at times.
Similar to the SP-1 and SP-2, you connect to the printer via WiFi and use the Instax Share app. You can use your smartphone or one of a few newer Fuji digital cameras. If using the smartphone app (which most people will do) you'll need to download Instax Share from the app store. This is the same app previously used, and it's a bit of a disappointment as you need to go into the settings to change from Instax Share SP-1/2 (mini) or Instax Share SP-3 (Square) if you plan to use both models.
The app is relatively easy to use: Select a template (photo on your camera roll or from social media). After you select a photo, the app will let you crop it to the square shape, adjust brightness/contrast/saturation and use a template.
The templates are for the most part pretty useless. You can write text on your photos, display the date/time, add a hashtag or other comments. One neat one is the ability to add the current weather/location information to a print/photo. This is all a carry-over from the SP-2.
The SP-3 also has the "Split photo" option to split a photo on to 2 prints (also a carry-over, but a neat one). There is no ability to print to more than 2 split photos (so you can't do a 2x2 or 3x3 collage of prints).
The SP-3 adds a new template mode called "My Template" which is another ugly one. It adds creative text to the image rather than just at the bottom. This means you'll see large oversized text scattered around the corners, in a full circle around the image, etc..
Could have been a neat idea but ultimately just ruins the film-look that the SP-3 gives you.
So now the issues:
Similar to the SP-2, the exposure is still a very bit issue. Any light photos will become over-exposed (this can be corrected a bit by using the brightness/contrast adjustments but then produces its own other issues). The photos can be normally exposed but will still appear to be overly bright when printed and the larger size of the square makes it more obvious. On the other hand, any mostly dark photos (even with very well lit areas to them) tend to come out much too dark (almost black at times). There really needs to be better exposure on these as you'll find almost every image needs editing and still isn't usable.
The recent Instax Square SQ10 offered some neat "instagram-like" filters to your images and ability to add vignetting. These modes are NOT on the SP-3, the only color options are for black & white or sepia.
Since the SP-3 uses Square shapes, you'll often need to crop every photo significantly since the default sizes from cameras/phones are a vertical portrait or landscape format (which better suits the Mini/Wide). I found the cropping needed to use Square photos to be very awkward looking unless you specifically frame it for the format. This means cutting off the corners of landscapes and often turning any people-portraits into a close-up headshot.
Even moreso, the cropping of the app is flawed in that if you crop too close to the edges you'll get a black bar on the finished print. This has happened several times and with each shot a bit pricey it's very disappointing.
The resolution is also a carry-over from the almost year-and-a-half-old Instax Share SP-2 (800x800 pixels on the SP-3) which also matches the resolution of the SQ-3 camera released earlier this year. These do become noticeable as you'll sometimes see dithering/color banding issues on prints.
The Instax Share SQ10 (which admittedly is also not a great camera) will allow you to print photos from a Micro SD Card (a bit more difficult than the wifi of the SP-3, admittedly), add filters, and has a built-in camera along with the same 800x800 print size for about the same price as this.
As someone who really enjoyed the Instax Share SP-1 and SP-2, I was disappointed in the SP3. The film is more than twice as much, the design is a bit funky, it doesn't fix issues from the previous versions and introduces some of its own within the app. I was excited to see this being released but ultimately ended up returning it.
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 15.5 x 9.4 cm ; 313 g
- Boxed-product Weight: 522 g
- Batteries 2 CR2 batteries required. (included)
- Item Model Number: SP3 Black
- ASIN: B076D34QPS
- Date first available at Amazon.com.au: 27 June 2018
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
- #104 in Computer Printers