Sat. Sep 26th, 2020

Fujifilm is taking the guesswork out of shooting great analog instant-film photos with the Instax Square SQ1. That’s a good thing because instant film isn’t cheap — about 60 to 70 cents per print — and the last thing you want to do is get poorly exposed shots.

The $120 Square SQ1 trades the 3.4 by 2.1-inch (86 by 54 millimeters) prints of the company’s Instax Mini cameras for square 86 by 72 mm film (3.4 by 2.8 inches) with the actual picture portion measuring 62 mm square (2.4 inches). I prefer this size simply because I find it easier for framing shots, especially for selfies.

Like the Instax Mini 11 announced earlier this year, the SQ1 will automatically adjust shutter speed and flash output according to ambient light conditions. From my test shots, the exposure adjustment was reliable, but you have to be prepared for the flash to go off when you might not expect it. Without a doubt, it worked better than me remembering to change exposure settings on older Instax cameras.

The camera kicks on with a twist of the lens. The lens has two positions: one for subjects a foot (0.3 m) or more from the camera and a Selfie mode when you’re between 12 to 20 inches (0.3 to 0.5 m) from the lens. There’s also a small mirror on the front of the lens barrel so you can make sure you’re framed up properly.

However, while the grip looks nice and has a ribbed texture to help you hold it, it was tricky for me to hold when shooting selfies. If you’ve got larger hands, you’ll definitely want to use the included wrist strap and watch where you rest your thumb.

Along with the new camera, which will be available in mid-October in blue, orange and white versions, Fujifilm announced new Instax Square Rainbow and Monochrome instant packs. Like the regular square film, each pack contains 10 prints. They’ll also be available in mid-October and will sell for $15 a pack.

Although a large portion of the digital camera market has disappeared due to the prevalence of excellent phone cameras, the instant film camera market continues to be popular. Since the line’s introduction in 1998, Fujifilm has sold more than 40 million Instax models globally, according to the company.

The best 3D printer for beginners to buy in 2020

Fire up the 3D printer and even print your own face masks and other pandemic accessories.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown how versatile 3D printers are and has highlighted an urgent need for expertise about them. Large corporations such as HP and Formlabs as well as indie 3D model makers have been using 3D printers to design and create PPE-like face shields, clips for masks (surgical and homemade) and even hands-free door handle add-ons to help in the fight against COVID-19.

I procured an XYXPrinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0 A Pro after several weeks of working from home without access to a 3D printer. Right away, I made a few fasteners for homemade cloth masks and then tackled some face shields.

My interest in 3D printing technology and 3D design started back in 2018, when I got deep in the weeds, creating everything from phone stands to tabletop game accessories to a sweet mini Millennium Falcon. Since then, I’ve doubled down, getting into 3D scanning and even laser cutting, which lets you sculpt real-world designs from wood and leather. Luckily, the 3D printing industry has been experiencing a boom, with new technology entering the market to meet all of my 3D printing and 3D scanning needs.

Thanks to growth in the industry, there are plenty of 3D printing options to choose from, but finding a 3D printer that meets your needs and is within your price range can still be tricky. That’s why we’re here to help. We’ve considered the pros and cons of each consumer 3D printer, along with printing speed, print quality, build volume, noise level, design, resolution, print volume, size of the print bed and build plate, whether it includes a heated build plate, conduciveness to additive manufacturing and more. These creative tools, which range from affordable (under $300) to high-end (over $3,000), are awesome gifts for a creative person in your life. And they’re great for you to craft your own personalized 3D modeling designs.

Once you find the best 3D printer and you end up getting completely addicted to 3D printing and dreaming about PLA filament, don’t blame me. (But if you do, here’s a handy 3D printing FAQ that should answer some of your questions). This list is updated periodically.

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