Fujifilm Instax Pal review

The playful design and pocket-sized portability make it a hit among the young at heart!

₹ 10,999

(Just the Pal)

Fujifilm's Instax Pal flips the script in the Instax lineup, offering a fresh take on instant photography. Unlike its predecessors, this camera ditches the built-in printer, instead, it leans heavily on an external Instax printer to bring your photos to life.

Upon first glance, the Instax Pal exudes a delightful blend of toy-like charm and innovation. Weighing in at 41 grams, its compact design ensures easy portability, fitting comfortably in the palm of your hand. Quirky details, such as an attachable viewfinder and a film slot-inspired power button, enhance its playfulness. But how does it fare in everyday use over the course of a month? Read on, find out!

Fujifilm Instax Pal review: Design

The Pal arrives in a petite package, matching its diminutive size. Sporting a refreshing, cutesy design, it's made in various pastel hues; our review unit came in a delightful pink. The camera only has three external controls — at the top, a horizontal power button breathes life into your Pal. On the back, you'll find the shutter button. Lastly, the bottom houses a switch for toggling between Fun mode (F) and Link mode (L). Fun mode is for app usage, while Link mode allows direct printing to an Instax printer.

There is a flap on one side concealing a microSD slot for expanded storage, while the back is home to a USB-C port for charging. Additionally, the bottom features a threaded mount for attaching accessories. On the front, you'll find the lens feeding into a 1.5-inch sensor, accompanied by a flash and a speaker for playing sounds and audio prompts (that you can personalise through the app). 

The Instax Pal comes with a rubbery accessory that Fujifilm suggests using as either a viewfinder or a tiny stand. However, it doesn't excel in either role and is more suited to hold the cam. Despite this, the Pal is lightweight and feels comfortable to hold, showcasing excellent build quality. However, the shutter button is a bit too sensitive, leading to accidental clicks. Also, I once accidentally dropped it (truly by mistake), and to my surprise, the Pal proved to be sturdy, surviving the fall onto a hardwood floor unscathed.

Fujifilm Instax Pal review: Performance

The Pal's 4.9-megapixel camera uses a 1/5-inch type (2.9 x 2.2mm) sensor. Each JPEG image size hovers around a little more than 1MB. With internal memory capable of storing up to 50 images, you won't have to worry about running out of space mid-shoot. Alternatively, you can link up with the Instax Pal app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. 

The whole experience is nicely designed, but it does lack one seemingly small yet crucial feature — a selfie mirror. Most Instax cameras include these handy mirrors, making selfie framing much simpler. Without one, you're left guessing and adjusting your hand position, hoping for the best rather than confidently framing your shot.

On a more positive note, the app doubles as a viewfinder for the camera in Remote Shooting mode. It shows a preview of your frame on your smartphone screen within a virtual Instax film, so you can align the image properly before capturing. You can take a picture by tapping the virtual shutter button in single-shot or self-timer modes. The app also offers Interval Shooting, which lets you capture a series of images with a 3-second interval between each frame, in sets of 3, 6, 11, or 21 frames.

The app also offers a range of effects to jazz up your photos. There’s classic monochrome, vintage sepia, or vibrant and cool tones. These effects can be applied before or after taking a shot, giving you full control over your artistic vision. Additionally, you can fine-tune your images with brightness, contrast, and exposure adjustments, and even rotate or crop them. And, you can also add text, stickers, emojis, and other colourful tweaks. You can even give your Pal a name — so that cuteness prevails. P.S. – I named mine: Jacq Clouseau.

Fujifilm Instax Pal reviews: Image quality

The image quality isn’t exactly top-notch, but we're talking about a 4.9-megapixel sensor here. Exposure tweaks are limited to +/-2 EV (exposure compensation). You get two quality settings – Rich mode and Natural mode. Rich mode adds a tad more oomph to your images compared to Natural mode, but honestly, the difference is quite subtle. 

Once you snap a pic, it's automatically sent to the app. You can choose to delete them from the camera once they're copied. If you've got a microSD card, you can move pics from the camera's memory to the card. Once they're in the app, you can keep on clicking, check out your gallery, save to your phone's gallery, post on socials, or email them. The app works pretty smoothly, but there's a bit of a delay when moving lots of pics from the Instax Pal to your phone.

The Mini Link 2 is from where you take your prints. It’s Instax's tiniest photo printer. Our Mini Link 2 was part of a bundle (sold separately for ₹10,999). This portable Instax printer charges using an included Micro USB cable. It takes approximately 15 seconds to print each photo and about 90 seconds to develop.

The Mini Link 2 did a pretty decent job, with most of the photos turning out well. However, having to use a separate app for the printer was annoying. Dealing with two different apps felt like a hassle, but the user-friendly interface and simple pairing process helped ease some of that frustration. A fully charged battery should last for more than a day (with over 100 clicks), but it can drop by as much as 15-20% without warning. However, you can always check the battery capacity on the app and juice it up as and when needed.

Fujifilm Instax Pal review: Verdict

Compared to other Instax cameras, the Pal's form factor really stands out, and we think that's what makes it so cool. Its quirky design sparks conversations, and I've gotten quite a few curious glances. Someone even mistook it for an earbud case! It's compact, and fits perfectly in your pocket. The fun sounds and lights just add to its charm. But, if you're a bit of a photography buff, this might not really tickle your fancy. 

Plus, in a world where practicality reigns supreme, a digital camera that prints film, like the Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo, might seem more sensible. But if there's still a bit of your inner child alive and kicking, you'll probably fall in like the Fujifilm Instax Pal. However, its lack of lens protection and weather sealing might make those looking for durability think twice. And dealing with two apps can be a bit of a hassle – it's probably the only thing that bothers me about the camera.

Stuff Says

When it comes to practicality, the Instax cameras with built-in printers might seem like the no-brainer. But if you're about embracing the fun side of life, the Instax Pal is where it's at!
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Looks cute and is extremely portable

  1. Very easy to use

  1. App is intuitive and smooth

  1. Dealing with two apps for Pal and printer

  1. Shutter button is a bit too sensitive

Image sensor: 1/5-inch CMOS with primary color filter
Aperture: F2.2
Storage media: Internal memory, microSD, microSDHC memory card
Maximum number of shots when the app is not connected: 50 shots
Shooting sensitivity: ISO100 to 1600 (automatic switching)
Charging time: Approximately 2 to 3 hours
Weight: Approximately 41 g