Dubbed the Instax Pal, this tiny portable camera is a point-and-shoot wizard that lets you send photos directly to your Instax Link printer. Think of it as an everyday carry for someone who wants to quickly take multiple photos without needing to fish out their phone, unlock it, and start the camera app. The caveat, however, is that the Instax Pal is so compact, it doesn’t come with a viewfinder… and its internal storage is only good for about 50 photos (there’s an SD card slot for added storage). It does come bundled with the Instax mini Link 2 printer, as a consolation, with both costing just $200.
The Instax Pal’s only noteworthy highlight is its sheer portability. After all, the company manufactures instant cameras that develop photos seconds after clicking them, and instant printers that let you print photos on command… so it only made sense to build the one last product left in that ecosystem – a portable camera that didn’t do any printing, but rather, delegated the printing to an instant printer. Given that the Instax Pal and mini Link 2 come as a bundle, it seems that the folks at Fujifilm (Instax’s parent company) hope to make the Pal your everyday photography companion.
About as small as the Polaroid Cube from as early as 2014, the Instax Pal packs a fairly respectable camera setup, with a 16.25mm equivalent lens sporting an f-stop of 2.2 and 5MP output with a 1/5″ sensor. The Pal also has an LED flash, a tiny speaker, and a shutter button on its rear. As mentioned earlier, it lacks the viewfinder, but somewhat makes up for it with a silicone ring that attaches to the top, acting like a makeshift eyepiece for roughly composing your shot. Alternatively, you can place the camera on the ring as if it were a trivet, using it as a stand instead.
The camera has the capability to print on three different sizes of Instax film: mini, square, and wide. By using the app, you can shoot remotely with a live view and apply filters and frames before or after taking the photo. Additionally, you can customize your own “pre-shutter sounds” that will play through the camera’s speaker before each click.
Point, click, and shoot, and the Instax Pal captures photos to its internal memory. Although the built-in storage on the camera isn’t good enough to write home about, an SD card slot lets you store more photos for future review. When connected to the upcoming Instax Pal app, the camera will transmit photos to your phone, letting you edit them and upload them to social media, or send them to the mini Link 2 printer. Conversely, a ‘Link mode’ on the camera allows you to skip the app and print directly from an Instax Link printer or hybrid camera as soon as you take the picture, mimicking the true experience of an instant camera.
Instax plans on selling the Pal in 5 color options, priced at $199. Along with the camera, you also get the mini Link 2 printer and a 10-pack of photo sheets. Despite this peculiar arrangement (of separate hardware devices for cameras and printers), it is evident that the company’s intentions are clear. The Instax brand has gained immense popularity and profitability, prompting Fujifilm to fully embrace its entertaining charm in order to captivate a younger demographic. The Instax Pal is also perfect for children, given its uncomplicated design/format, and its compact form that makes it a great gift for parents to give their shutterbug kids. Alternatively, it’s a nifty toy for photographers and influencers too, practically becoming an affordable EDC that they can string around their keychain and carry around wherever they go!
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