First Impressions: Leica Sofort Instant Film Camera

If you were to tell me years ago that Leica was going to launch an instant film camera, I would’ve laughed pretty hard. But as Instax started to become more and more serious (and expensive) it started to make more sense. And so, we have the Leica Sofort–Leica’s first entry into the Instax film market. Shooting the same Instax Mini film that is so popular amongst many photographers, the Sofort is a colorful, cute looking addition to the assortment of cameras that are already out there. Sure, it’s pricy. But it’s also probably one of the more stylish cameras out there.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the company’s website

The Leica Sofort has a programme suitable for every occasion. Just pick the one you need, concentrate on your subject and let the Leica Sofort take care of everything else. But if you prefer to take control of the focusing distance, flash and exposure compensation yourself, your Leica Sofort lets you do just that – whenever you like. As you can see: the Leica Sofort is focused on you – not only in Selfie mode, but with all its other settings, too:

  • Macro
  • Bulb
  • Automatic
  • Self timer
  • Party and People
  • Sport and Action
  • Double Exposure
  • Selfie

Ergonomics

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When you look at the Leica Sofort, you start to realize that it’s got a very boxy shape. But that shape is overall still very appealing. It strays away from the retro looks that Fujifilm and Mint are going for and instead goes for something that looks like an expensive but really cool disposable camera.

That’s not a diss at all–disposable cameras are actually fun and this camera is built leaps and bounds better than a disposable.

On the front, you’ll find the lens, the on/off function and the flash.

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Turn to the top and you’ll find the shutter button. This area is overall very minimal–and it’s great that it is.

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Turn to the back of the camera and what you’ll spot is the control access area. You’ll see a small LCD screen, an area to pop film into the back, buttons, and the viewfinder.

Ease of Use

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If you’re an experienced camera user, then you’ll have no major problems using the Sofort. There are brightness settings, modes for things like selfies and parties, etc. You’ll just need to memorize them and know that you can access them easily.

Focusing

The camera has a few focusing modes: macro, normal, and selfie. In each of these, the focusing changes. Part of the idea of working with lo-fi cameras to begin with is accepting that you’re going to have flaws. That’s pretty easy to do here.

Image Quality

From the image samples that we saw at Photo Plus, the camera has comparable image quality to everything else out there. It’s tough to get something much different, but it’s possible. To be fair, we handled a prototype. So it could indeed be better than the rest!

First Impressions

The Leica Sofort is a very fun camera to use! In the half hour we spent working with the camera, we found it to be pretty incredible. Especially when you accept the fact that film (instant or negative) is an expensive investment, you’ll realize how cool this really is overall. We’re excited to get our hands on one for review when they finally come in.