With the revival of instant film, giants like Polaroid and Fujifilm find themselves in the presence of various budget-friendly instant camera options. One such offering is the Sharper Image instant camera.
The Sharper Image instant camera has multiple exposure settings and a built-in flash available at almost half the price of comparable cameras.
However, does the seemingly low price tag hinder its performance? Come find out as we take a detailed look into the Sharper Image instant camera in this review.
Sharper Image Instant Camera Review
- Easy to use
- Five brightness settings (including Hi-Key)
- Auto flash
- 5 -min automatic power off
- Easily overexposes, affects picture quality
- No rechargeable battery
- No digital images or videos
If you own a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8, you will immediately notice the similarities between the Sharper Image instant camera and the Fujifilm instant camera offering.
In all honesty, the Sharper Image is a lower-priced Instax Mini 8, with four exposures and a Hi-Key setting, a fixed 60mm lens, and an automatic flash.
However, this point-and-shoot camera has no selfie or close-up shot option – for which you need to buy an attachment from a third-party vendor.
|Dimensions||4.625 x 5.5 inches|
|Power Supply||2 AA batteries|
|Film Format||Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film|
|Film Size||85 x 54mm|
|Image Size||62 x 46mm|
|Lens||60mm fixed focus lens|
|Shooting Range||0.6 m to infinity|
|Flash||Automatic (range: 1.97 – 8.86 feet)|
|Shutter Speed||1/60 sec.|
The instant camera has a simplistic design with easy-to-understand settings.
The flash is automatic with a fixed lens. Thus, while the function is simple, it is also restrictive with little creative allowance.
The camera’s design and color (available in pink, baby blue, and black) make it look more toy-like than sleek as its more expensive alternatives.
It comes equipped with several design features that other pricier instant cameras have.
The lens has a built-in cover and a charging lamp, which blinks until it’s steadily lit, indicating that the camera is ready to take an image.
It also features a film confirmation window and a counter to avoid accidentally opening the film compartment and rendering the exposures useless.
However, this reasonably simple design does not include memory to store digital images and videos or send them to your phone like some hybrid cameras currently available.
Power Supply – Two AA Batteries
There is no charging slot since two AA alkaline batteries operate the camera. The battery compartment comes with a drawing indicating the right direction to put in the batteries.
While it is recommended to use disposable alkaline batteries, various customers have had no trouble replacing them with rechargeable ones.
Compatible Film – Fujifilm Instax Mini Film
The Sharper Image camera is compatible with Fujifilm Instax Mini film, which is widely available.
The quick-developing high-speed ISO 800 Instax film develops into sharp, good-quality pictures with vivid colors.
Although the camera itself is cheap -making it the best choice for instant photography beginners- the price of the film can accumulate over the years.
The instant mini film costs nearly $10 per pack, containing ten exposures.
It’s effortless to take pictures from the Sharper Image instant camera.
Once you load the batteries and the film pack, the camera is ready to use. You can turn the camera on by using the lens pop-out button next to the lens barrel.
When the lens is released, you can choose the correct exposure setting by looking at the Function Select Dial. The dial has four brightness settings with corresponding lamps that light up according to the ambient lighting.
After the lamp lights, you have to manually move the dial to the suggested setting.
The camera also has a Hi-Key mode, in which you can add additional lighting to low-lit or indoor surroundings for better quality images.
If the proposed lighting is insufficient, you can override the lit lamp and move the dial one setting closer to the “House” icon – doing the opposite will help curb overexposing the image.
The flash is automatic and fires whenever there is a need. If you need to turn the flash off, you’ll have to manually cover it since there is no setting to turn it off.
The camera performs well for its price. However, it is strictly a beginner camera. Any novices are better off buying expensive alternatives that offer more creative control.
The image quality is good, thanks to the Instax mini film. However, the shutter speed of 1/60 seconds causes images taken in bright lights to almost always overexpose.
What We Don’t Like
With the Sharper Image instant camera, what you see is what you get! While we love the no-frills approach, a quicker shutter speed and no-flash mode would help truly utilize the quality of the Instax Mini film, allowing better quality images.
Alternatives – Sharper Image Instant Camera Vs. Fujifilm Instax Mini 11
The Sharper Image instant camera is a repacked Instax Mini 8. Thus, it’s no surprise that it shares a few specs with the Mini 11.
The Sharper Image and the Instax Mini 11 use the Fujifilm mini instant film, have a 60 mm fixed lens, an automatic flash with the same range (0.6 – 2.7 m), and a charging lamp using AA batteries, and have a film counter to check left exposures.
However, the Mini 11 is expensive, and rightfully so, as it has a few updated features to boast.
The Mini 11 has automatic exposure, so there is no need to manually select it using a dial like in the Sharper Image camera.
But, there is no Hi-Key setting, and you have to rely on the Mini 11 to choose adequate lighting for the shot. The Mini 11 has a quicker shutter speed (1/2 to 1/250 sec), but the images still get somewhat overexposed in bright lighting.
The Fujifilm camera also has a better shooting range – from 0.3 m and beyond – than the Sharper Image camera (0.6 m and beyond).
However, the most significant upgrade offered by the Mini 11 is the Selfie Mode, activated by extending the lens. The Selfie Mode allows for self-portraits (between 30 to 50 cm) and can also be used for close-range shots.
The selfie mirror on the Mini 11 helps with the framing. Thus, albeit expensive, the Mini 11 is a superior instant camera to the Sharper Image model.
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What film does the Sharper Image Instant Camera use?
The Sharper Image instant camera uses the Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film. The Mini film is almost the size of a baseball card, and the resulting images are even smaller with a border at the bottom to write a message.
The film comes in packs, with each package containing ten shots. A single film pack costs about $10 on average. Although, you can get better deals when bulk buying 5 to 10 packs with 50 and 100 exposures each.
The Bottom Line
The Sharper Image instant camera is a budget-friendly alternative to pricier instant cameras. While it offers basic features, its price point and ease of use make it excellent for beginners.
Emma JohnsonI have loved photography from a young age and more recently started experimenting with Instant Cameras from Polaroid and Instax. I also love dancing and hanging out with my friends :)
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