Fujifilm spotlights the neglected Instax Wide film format, the largest of the three sizes of instant film. The Instax Link Wide ($ 149.95) is a Bluetooth printer for smartphones that, like other Fujifilm printers, uses instant film instead of paper or ink to create photos. Instax Link Wide produces prints that are twice the size of a similar Instax Link Mini. The larger size of these prints is more suitable for refrigerators and corkboards than the wallet-sized Instax Mini format. The printer companion app adds filters, templates, and other tools to spice up instant printing. If you’re tired of seeing photos on your phone screen, or are anxious for Polaroid snapshot days, this instant film printer may be a good remedy.
Largest Instax format
Despite its size, or perhaps because of its size, the Instax Wide did not gain the traction and popularity of Fujifilm’s Mini and Square instant formats. One of the advantages of the more affordable mini format is that the print is smaller, so the camera is also smaller. Square appeals to enthusiasts and nostalgics simply because it evokes the feel of Polaroid.
The basic Instax Mini camera is updated almost every year, and Fujifilm takes a similarly aggressive approach with the Instax Square camera. In contrast, Fujifilm sells only one wide format camera, the Instax Wide 300, which has not been updated since 2015.
(Photo: Jim Fisher)
Like the oversized Instax Wide 300 camera, the Instax Link Wide is larger than the Fujifilm lineup. It measures 1.3 x 5.5 x 5.0 inches (HWD) and weighs 12 ounces, which is a bit too big to fit in most pockets. The Instax Link Mini uses a small film, but it’s only 0.9 x 4.1 x 2.0 inches (HWD) and 8.7 ounces, so it’s a little easier to pack and carry.
(Photo: Jim Fisher)
This model has two color options. I received the Instax Link Wide in Mocha Gray, but it’s also available in Ash White. The built-in battery powers the printer. Recharge via a micro USB port instead of the recent USB-C standard. It takes several hours to charge using the included cable. Fujifilm claims that the battery can withstand about 100 prints on a single charge. That number is a bit ambitious. I knocked down the battery to about 65% after 10 prints, but didn’t try to turn it off between prints. The printer will automatically turn off to save lives after a few minutes of inactivity. It’s easy to turn it on or off. The prominent backlit Instax logo doubles as a power button.
The Bluetooth 4.2 LE connection works on smartphones and tablets. As mentioned above, the micro USB port is for charging only. You can use the included cable to connect the printer to your Mac or PC just like any other USB device, but no software runs on anything other than Android and iOS. We tested Instax Link Wide on iPhone and the pre-release version of the Instax Link Wide app.
Connecting the printer is very easy. It takes longer to download the app than setting up a wireless handshake between your smartphone and printer. You don’t even have to remove your smartphone from your home Wi-Fi to print. Therefore, it is a little easier to use than a Wi-Fi printer. The downside is the speed of Link Wide.Of the app[印刷]It takes about 30 seconds for the film to eject from the printer after you press the button.
Add a few more minutes until the photo is fully developed. You can see the image emerge from the white nothing, but you don’t have to bother shaking the image. That doesn’t speed up the process. You can see it happening right in front of you in the video above — we made it four times faster.
Link Wide relies on the photo development process, not printing, so you don’t need to buy ink or thermal ribbons. However, you need to buy film, which is a more expensive medium than inkjet photo paper. Instax Wide film is packaged in 10-shot cartridges, and standard twin packs are offered for $ 20 to $ 1 per sheet. Buying in bulk doesn’t save you much. A 10 pack of cartridges costs about $ 95 when pressed.
Black-and-white film is also available for a small premium ($ 1.30 per sheet), but there is no real way to use it in a printer. I printed some black and white test shots on color Instax film, including a conversion from the Ricoh GR color sensor and a true black and white digital image from the Leica M10 Monochrome. They are properly monochrome and have no visible color cast.
The photo has a glossy finish and is suitable for dark black in black-and-white prints and colors that pop out a little more than a matte or glossy finish. Color shots also look great. I printed photos from several cameras such as the Fujifilm GFX 50R, Leica M10-R and Nikon Z7.
(Photo: Jim Fisher)
The resolutions and color depths captured by these high-end cameras are well represented in the prints to match the quality of the Instax Mini and Square prints, but are simply magnified. Larger formats are a little more influential. One of the small problems is that the film is thin enough to bend. Therefore, be careful not to bend the print.
For alternative formats, Polaroid sells Instant Lab. This is a larger device that uses Polaroid I-Type film in square format. This film is expensive and doesn’t show the same vibrant colors as Instax, but the larger square format has a nostalgic appeal. However, the materials are expensive and the cost per photo is close to $ 2.
The low cost Zink has long been a popular ink-free format. Thermal paper is as small as the Instax Mini wallet-sized format, but costs about $ 0.50 per print. However, I have consistently been overwhelmed by its print quality. Certain colors are not translated and Zink shows heavy dithering. In the review of the Polaroid Insta-Share printer, an add-on Zink printer for Motorola MotoMod phones, you can see examples of poor color reproducibility. If you care about print quality, Zink is not a beginner.
The InstaxLink Wide app includes several tools to help you get better prints, create collages, add custom clip art, or print photos using QR code links. I’ve tested the app on an iPhone running iOS 15, but it’s also available on Android phones.
The app includes three basic print modes: simple, collage and editable template
Basic printing is easy. The app loads photos from your camera roll so you can print your saved photos on your phone. The app’s simple print screen shows a preview of the print and provides some basic filters to improve the output. for example,[自動]Options adjust color and brightness. One-click sepia and black-and-white looks are also available. Crop, rotate, and manual exposure adjustment tools complete the app’s functionality.
Choose from a set of pre-made templates that are perfect for birthday cards, date storage and other homemade souvenirs. There is also a collage template, which is a great way to highlight some of your favorite images in a single print. The wide format is more useful for collages than the Instax Mini or Square film formats.
QR codes and sketches, edits and prints are available if you want to use them
This app has some features that need to appeal to younger sets, but it’s lost to this old millennial photographer. You can add stickers. Lots of emojis and clip art are available. Alternatively, you can use the app’s sketching, editing and printing features to create your own stickers. The sketch function uses your mobile phone’s camera to snap a photo and convert it into a vector art sticker.
Fujifilm continues to offer QR code options. You can add captions, web links, location pins, or audio clips to your photos. You (or your friends) can then use your smartphone to scan the code. FUJIFILM will host the linked file on the server for two years and will expire.
Instax Wide improves
Fujifilm’s line of wireless instant photo printers has been established. The first SP-1 for the mini film format debuted in 2014. However, Instax Link Wide is the first to support the company’s largest film format. It’s a bit bigger than the rest of the series, but it’s not as cumbersome to carry as the cameras that use it. The Instax Wide 300 and Lomo’Instant Wide are really bulky.
(Photo: Jim Fisher)
Printing on instant film is an interesting alternative to the traditional process. It costs about $ 1 per sheet, but it’s an expensive suggestion if you’re making a lot of prints. However, we believe that premium is more valuable than other ink-free formats. The alternative does not exactly match the quality obtained from Fujifilm’s Instax chemistry, which shows crisp detail and excellent color.
If you like the idea of instant film printing, but it’s not for sale on Instax Wide, there are a few other models to consider. The Instax Mini Link costs about $ 100 and has a very similar feature set. For about $ 160, you can opt for the Instax Mini LiPlay. This is a digital camera with an integrated printer that prints from a memory card or mobile phone camera roll. Square format fans can take advantage of another app-based device, the Instax Share SP-3, or Polaroid’s Instant Lab.
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