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Easy to use
Good print quality
Fast printing time
Larger than ZINK printers
No sample film included
Slow development of film
The Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-2 uses instant film to print photos from your mobile devices. It’s a little pricey to use, but with its long battery life and creative film options, you may not mind spending the extra money.
The second iteration of the Fujifilm instax SHARE Smartphone Printer produces tiny prints like those from the company’s instax instant film cameras. While larger than some other mobile printers, the instax SHARE is still portable. It’s easy to use and works with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets via a free app.
Attractively designed with modern-looking angles, the instax SHARE is a little chunky compared to the tiny ZINK (Zero Ink) models on the market such as the Polaroid Zip and the HP Sprocket. The instax SHARE measures 5.19 x 3.52 x 1.57 inches and weighs only a half a pound without the removable battery and film pack.
Available in matte white with silver or gold accents, there are minimal external manual controls—just power and reprint buttons. The battery cover forms a flat bottom, which allows the printer to stand on end as well as face up.
A small latch pops open the top of the printer to insert the film pack. In addition to the controls and a micro-USB port, which is protected by a small flap, various lights indicate charging, power, and the number of photos remaining. The latter is particularly useful since it’s a quick visual reminder, although the app also shows how many prints are left.
Setup is very easy: just open the bottom compartment and insert the included battery. You can then charge it using the micro USB cable and your smartphone’s AC, or plug the cable into a USB port.
USB charging takes about 1.5 hours and lasts for about 100 prints or ten packs of film, which is perfect when you’re printing at an event. You can even continue printing while the device is charging.
The one time you should reference the User Guide is when you’re inserting the film pack. While there’s a yellow mark to show you which way the pack goes in, you’ll want to glance at the Guide just to make sure you’re clear about the placement.
In order to print from your phone, you’ll need to download the instax SHARE app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play store. The printer connects to your phone quickly and seamlessly via Wi-Fi. From there, you’re ready to start printing.
The home page of the instax SHARE app is a good guide to the printer’s features. From here, you have the option to capture images with your smartphone camera and have the app add a “real time template” with info such as place, date, weather. You can also opt to have an Intelligence Filter automatically applied to your images. This feature works well to ensure a well-exposed photo.
From the app, you can access images from multiple sources including your device’s camera roll, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr and more. Images that you’ve edited can be shared directly to social media and easily reprinted.
From the app, you can access images from multiple sources including your device’s camera roll, Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Flickr and more.
It’s possible to make basic photo edits using a series of sliders located under “Custom Filter,” where you can tweak brightness, contrast, and saturation. Preset filters include an Intelligence Filter that does a good job making automatic adjustments for a well-exposed print, as well as black and white and sepia options. You can rotate and zoom into images—the latter essentially crops the photo to fit into the print size.
Creative options sit under the “Templates” heading. There you’ll find layout options and a wide variety of holiday and event layouts and overlays. You can even add your own text and choose colors for the text.
While those can be fun, the image area of the print is so small—approximately 2.44 x 1.81 inches—that you may prefer to add a dash of creativity by choosing a decorative pack of film (more on this later). The app isn’t the most feature-rich that we’ve tested, but it’s well organized, easy to use, and has enough features beyond the basic print function for it to add value to the printer.
The Fujifilm instax SHARE is, at least in its first stages of printing, fast. It takes 10 to 15 seconds from the time you tap “Print” in the app. After that, you’ll have to wait another 90 seconds or so for the film to fully develop.
It’s worth noting that the instax film can run as much as $0.60 to $1 or more per print.
If you’ve ever printed in the darkroom, you know the great anticipation and magic you experience as the print comes into view—waiting for the instax print to develop is similar. Some people, however, may find it frustrating to wait that long to see an “instant” print.
Since most portable printers use ZINK (Zero Ink) technology, where the color is embedded in the paper and released with heat from the printer, the Fujifilm instax SHARE—which uses instant film—produces better prints. Colors are slightly more vibrant and details are sharper. On the other hand, sharpness and vibrancy aren’t as evident in the small instax prints as they are with the other dye-sublimation-type printers like the Canon SELPHY CP1300.
Since most portable printers use ZINK (Zero Ink) technology...the Fujifilm instax SHARE—which uses instant film—produces better prints.
Since the Fujifilm instax SP-3 was released, you can find some sub-$100 prices for the SP-2 if you shop around. (The new model, on the other hand, sells for anywhere between $130-200.)
It’s worth noting that the instax film can run as much as $0.60 to $1 or more per print. Shop for discounts when you can, keeping in mind that you’ll find the lowest prices for the instax film with plain white borders. Choose the film with fun, decorative borders such as rainbow colors or stars, and you’ll pay a premium.
Given that no other printers use the same film technology as the Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-2, it’s hard to make a comparison to other printers. However, there are a few different criteria that make the Polaroid Zip a potential competitor.
Both are portable, but the Polaroid Zip is much smaller and can fit in a large pocket. The prints from the Polaroid Zip are also instant and don’t make you wait for the film to develop like the Fujifilm instax.
On the other hand, the Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-2 has a much longer battery life—about 100 prints as opposed to the Polaroid’s 25-30 prints per charge. Frankly, we’d much rather take a slightly bigger unit with us to a wedding or another event knowing that we won’t run out of power. And, when it comes to image quality, we give a slight advantage to the Fujifilm model.
Fun film options and a large print capacity justify the higher price tag.
If you have the occasion to print larger volumes of photos, like at an event, the Fujifilm instax SHARE SP-2 may be worth spending some extra cash to get decorative film and a battery that lasts for about 100 prints. The photos are small but quality is pretty good compared to smaller printers.