Review: Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan answers the prayers and wishes of almost every Fujifilm Instax Mini film user–and it’s arguably one of the absolute best cameras shooting the format on the market. Obviously, part of this appeal is the glass lens on the front of the camera. This lens is the same optic used on the company’s Lomography LCA 120–and so it is the sharpest and the fastest aperture lens available for use on any Instax camera (at the time of publishing this review.) That quality will appeal to a lot of photographers; and though there are a number of shooters who still want manual controls, you’d be shocked at how great the photos are from the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan.

And if you don’t care about any of that stuff: then this is the absolute ultimate Instax Mini camera on the market.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan is pretty small and lightweight
  • Fairly simple controls, though sometimes they can be a bit wonky such as the case for when the flash is or isn’t supposed to trigger
  • Sharp lens
  • Gorgeous rendering
  • Nice colors
  • Excellent light meter
  • Includes a number of cool extra add-on lenses, a remote control for selfies and a lot of other cool goodies.

Cons

  • Due to the shallow depth of field possibilities, getting a subject perfectly in focus can be very difficult
  • Sometimes the controls on the back can be odd

Gear Used

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan was tested with Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome and Fujifilm Instax Mini Color film.

Tech Specs

Specs for the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan were taken from the Lomography website.

Features

A Unique Wide-Angle Glass Lens: Multi-coated to reduce reflections, the glass lens lets you create bolder, sharper instant masterpieces than ever before. With a focal length of 38mm, you can squeeze even more crisp details into each and every shot!

Low-light Shooting Made Easy: The f/4.5 aperture is the largest of any other instant camera out there. It offers excellent low-light performance — even without the flash!

Get Up Close and Personal: Get as close as 0.3m and fill your shots with beautifully crisp details. It’s perfect for portraits!

With Automatic Settings for Perfectly Exposed Shots: The Lomo’Instant Automat Glass automatically adjusts aperture, shutter speed and flash output for impeccably lit shots in any and every light situation.

Take Pictures from Afar: the lens cap of the Lomo’Instant Automat Glass doubles as a Remote Control Shutter Release so that you can join an awesome group shot or take shake-free long exposures from up to 5m away.

Packed with Extra Creative Features: Experiment with Splitzer and Close-Up Lens Attachments, Bulb Mode, Multiple Exposure Mode, Color Gel flash filters and much more. The creative possibilities are endless!

Technical Specifications

  • Film Format: Fujifilm Instax Mini Film
  • Exposure Area: 62mm x 46mm
  • Lens Focal Length: 38mm (21mm equivalent)
  • Shutter Speed: Bulb (maximum 30 seconds), 8s-1/250 (Auto Shooting Mode)
  • Exposure Compensation: +1/-1 Exposure Values (Ambient Exposure)
  • Film Ejection Mechanism: Motorized
  • Multiple Exposures: Unlimited
  • Built-in Flash Guide Number: 9(m)
  • Built-in Flash: Automatic Flash & Flash Off Mode
  • Auto Exposure Type: Programmed Automatic
  • Aperture: f/4.5, f/22
  • Zone Focusing Setting: 0.3m / 0.6m / 1m-infinite
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.3m
  • Remote Control Trasmission: Infrared
  • Remote Control Sensor Range: 1-2m in bright sunshine, up to 5m indoors
  • Film Counter: LED indication, counting down
  • Battery Supply: 2 x CR2 batteries (2 x 3V)
  • Remote Control Battery Supply: 1 x CR1632 batteries (3V)
  • Tripod mount: Yes
  • Filter Thread Diameter: 43mm

Package Includes

  • Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan
  • Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Close-Up Lens Attachment
  • Remote Control Lens Cap
  • Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Splitzer
  • Colored Gel Filters
  • Inspirational shooting tips
  • Magnet Stickers
  • Glue Dots
  • Photo Stands and Photo Clips

Ergonomics

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan is shaped a lot like many other Instax mini cameras out there. If anything, think about something like a Leica Sofort, make it a tad less boxy (just a tad) and then give it a glass lens with different controls. With that said, the things you see on the front are the selfie mirror/shutter release, the flash, and the lens. This lens also has a DSLR style lens release button that lets you collapse and expand the lens for use.

Look at it from above and you’ll find that the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan has markings on the lens. There is an off position and then there are ranges to shoot at.

Up top, you’ll spot the area where the camera spits the film out of. There isn’t a whole lot more to see here.

Turn around to the back and you’ll spot some more controls. You’ll be loading the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan via the back and controlling the exposures on the right side.

Build Quality

While I wouldn’t take the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan out into a rainstorm, it’s built fairly solid overall. It doesn’t sport the build quality of the Mint TL70 2.0, but it’s still pretty solid. Just don’t do something stupid with it and use your discretion as you would with any electronic device.

Ease of Use

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan is mostly controlled via the back. Focusing is done by setting the lens to its according distances but otherwise you’ll be controlling the camera from here. For example, the No Flash setting is selected here. But believe it or not, the green setting means that it’s going to fire. When it isn’t selected at all, it means that it won’t fire.

Sort of odd, right?

Then there is this other area towards the top. These LED lights will let you know how much film is available in the camera.

Metering

Amazingly, one of the biggest problems with these Instax cameras is that they almost never get the metering perfectly to what you want. But the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan does something a bit different. The majority of the time I got the image that I wanted, and even if I didn’t I still was able to yield what I’d call usable images.

Cool, huh?

Focusing

As we stated before, the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan has manual focusing. So when you go about shooting, just know that you’ll be doing it all by yourself and that you should pay careful attention to that. The more amateur audience will just need to really keep that in mind, silence their emotions of just capturing the moment, and instead remember that you actually need to tell the camera what to do.

Image Quality

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan is, again, highly capable. It delivers the absolute sharpest images of any Instax Mini camera at the moment. It’s even sharper than the Mint TL70 2.0. But my personal issue is that I wish that I had both aperture and shutter speed control. Either way though, we can consider the great metering system as being a great aid in creating better images.

Conclusions

I really, really, seriously like the Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan. I’m very torn between using this and the Mint TL70 2.0. But the reason why I’d lead towards the latter is that it has aperture control, through the lens focusing and a better build quality at least. But this lens is better, the camera is more compact, and it’s really fun to use.

For most Instax camera users, this will be your ultimate camera. But for those of us who still want more in the way of controls, just know that we’re almost there.

The Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat Glass Magellan receives five out of five stars. Want one? Check out the Lomography website for more information.