I can not lie : I am a huge fan of Fujifilm Instax printers. I also like Instax cameras, but these have limited use cases and most of the time I don’t want to carry them around. I prefer to take photos with my phone or mirrorless camera and then print those images to an Instax printer.
As much as I love Instax prints, the original size is only 1.8 inches by 2.4 inches. It’s pretty small, and it’s not a Polaroid. The Instax-format square film is moderately larger (2.4 square inches), but if you wanted Fujifilm’s larger-format Instax prints (3.9 inches by 2.4 inches), you had to buy a camera.
It was until now. The new Fujifilm Instax Link Wide smartphone printer brings the company’s largest instant film to a standalone printer.
Instax for the people
My first Instax printer was a frivolous purchase that has become an integral part of the way I interact with people when I travel. It also sparked an interest in photography in my children. It’s not perfect, but there is something about the magic of an instant impression that transcends its limitations. These aren’t gallery-worthy prints, but they’re definitely fun.
I am still using my old Instax SP-1 printer. Prints are a nice little gift; they are also a good icebreaker. I like to photograph people, but I’m not an outgoing person, so asking someone to portray them is difficult. It’s especially difficult these days when everyone assumes you’re going to put your image on Instagram. If you can tell someone you’re not interested in social media and offer them a copy of the image right away, you often have an entirely different conversation.
Even if you don’t feel like traveling or photographing strangers, there is something about physical impressions that establishes a closer connection between sight and image. You can’t just scroll through the next image. Believe me: make impressions. You will thank yourself on the road.
This is partly why I love the new Instax Link Wide printer so much. It does the same great Instax prints, just bigger. The 3.9 x 2.4-inch prints are landscape-oriented – the large edge of the white border is at the bottom of the long edge, although there’s nothing to stop you from printing a portrait-oriented image if you want to.
Besides the size, the Instax Link Wide printer looks a lot like the Mini Link from Fujifilm. It’s a relatively ordinary gray (or white) box, about the size of three stacked CD cases. If you are under 30, it is 5.25 inches by 4.75 inches and an inch thick. There is a single button on the top to turn it on and print the last image again. On the back you’ll find a USB-A port for charging (USB-C would have been nice). You load the film in the background, close it, and interact with it entirely through the app, which connects to the printer via Bluetooth.
Instax Wide app
The new Instax Link Wide app for iOS and Android is really the heart of the Instax Wide printer. Fujifilm apps are a mixed bag, but lately Instax has gotten better. The new Wide app is very similar in functionality to the Mini Link app that goes with the company’s latest Mini printer. However, the layout is totally different and in my opinion it is much cleaner and easier to navigate.