If I'm in the right mood, taking street portraits can be a rewarding experience. It's not just the opportunity to take portraits of some interesting characters. It's the interaction, meeting someone for the first time, the unknown reaction, the interesting stories and connections that often seem to emerge or develop.
I'm hoping that having a small portable printer can bring an entirely new dimension to the process. Not for every portrait, but sometimes I'd love to be able to give a gift of the picture, there and then on the street.
This is the Instax SP-2 from Fujifilm. A follow up to their successful SP-1, it's a tiny printer that runs on a rechargeable battery, doesn't require ink, and produces very good quality little prints.
The process is that you send photos to it from your phone, via the free Instax app and a bluetooth connection. Of course you can still transfer JPEG files from a camera via your phone if you prefer rather than just printing from your phone camera.
The prints are only 2.5x2 inches (6x5cm) in size plus a sizeable border, but the resolution is excellent. Fuji have increased it to 800x600, which equates to 320dpi (i.e. think 'retina' in Apple terms).
It's fast to print too, although it takes a while for the print to develop when it emerges from the printer. It's fun to watch and feels a little old-school if you haven't processed film or used an instant camera for years. It's because the printer uses the same paper as their instant cameras, hence no need for ink cartridges.
The price of the printer seems reasonable ($200 on Amazon at the moment but check around for deals), but keep in mind that the paper can be expensive.
The app is fairly basic (at least on Android) but does the job. It's early days with the printer but I'm already impressed and it's hopefully a useful and regular little addition to my camera bag.
Let me know if you're tempted to get one and have any questions about it.