Leica Sofort Instant Camera First Impressions

Leica Sofort Instant Camera First Impressions:

Today I bring you Leica’s new Sofort, which is not only currently the cheapest Leica camera that you can purchase new but it also shoots film.  I recently received the Sofort as a loaner, and first off, let me say one thing: At first, I couldn’t believe it when I first heard that Leica was releasing an instant film camera.  But it does use Instax Mini film, which is actually quite popular among a lot of people, and you know what?  I’m actually having a lot of fun with it.

So, the Leica Sofort is pretty basic.  It’s square shaped, and it can be somewhat awkward to hold but then again, we’re not aiming for technically the best images that we can get here.  The body is plastic but solid for what it is.  There’s a viewfinder, and a small mirror in front of the camera, so you can take selfies.  The Sofort comes in three different colors, which are orange, white, and mint.  I picked orange because I thought it would pop more in the review pics but if I were to buy this camera, I think I would go for mint.

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There are a few adjustments that you can make to get a better picture.  You can pick from a list of different modes to suit your situation, such as:

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

There are other settings that you can adjust to suit your needs as well.  For instance, the flash can be set to on, off, auto or even red eye reduction.  There are two focusing settings on the lens, and exposure compensation can be adjusted to a limited degree.

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In terms of image quality, keep in mind that this is basically a polaroid camera.  You’re probably not going to get perfection with this type of a camera including the image quality, and that’s okay because that’s not what’s important here.  The Leica Sofort is aimed at individuals who are out enjoying the moment, and having fun.  It’s aimed at someone who may actually like the imperfections that this type of camera can produce, and therefore, isn’t necessarily looking for optimal IQ.  It’s also great to get that instant tangible photo, and watching it slowly develop.

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Film wise, Leica has their own branded versions of color and black and white film.  I’ve been trying some of Fuji’s Instax Mini film as well.  For instance, I’m using Fujifilm Instax Mini Black which basically has black borders instead of white.  I love black borders even when I get a matte for a print :).  I’ve also been using the Fujifilm Instax Monochrome as well.

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As I said earlier, the Leica Sofort is a lot of fun to use.  Quite frankly, it’s more fun than I expected it to be, and I know I’m not the only one that thinks so.  When I mentioned to friends, and relatives that I had a Sofort to test, many of them were extremely excited to try it out for themselves.  I was quite frankly surprised at the overall positive response.  I actually ran out of film pretty quickly :).  Price wise though, it’ll run you about $299, which is more expensive than Fuji’s Instax cameras.  Anyway, a review of the Sofort will be coming soon, so stay tuned!

If you’re interested in purchasing one, they are available at B&H Photo:

Mint, Orange or White

6 comments… add one
  • Elderin

    Hello Patrick,
    thanks for your article about the Leica Sofort. It think this camera is lots of fun to use and having a printed image in your hands while you are still in the moment brings so much joy. I believe printed images will become more and more important again. While it was a necessity back in the days, it isnt the way we share images now but it is rediscovered by many.

    • Patrick

      Thanks Elderin!

      I totally agree about the printed images. One of my friends wanted a picture of mine, and I offered to print her one but all she wanted was the jpeg :). But according to one of my family friends, his teenagers actually shoot with the Fuji Instax stuff a lot, so I guess it’s maybe a little more popular with the younger generation. That’s good news for prints!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Hi Patrick,

    Can’t wait for the full review. I’m also interested if theres any difference between the fuji and leica insta films. My daughter Cammi loves using her fuji instax90. It is the instant gratification generation after all haha!

    Dane

    • Patrick

      Hi Dane,

      Sorry for the late reply! Been busy finishing up my reviews for the Sofort, and Oberwerth Heidelberg. My friend’s kids love their Fuji instax gear as well! I seriously didn’t know Instax was so popular :). My friends in general seem to be more impressed with the Sofort than pretty much anything else that I’ve reviewed so far lol. They loved using it. I’m going to try to finish up the write up for it tomorrow, and also post the Heidelberg review on Wednesday. Great to hear from you again!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Hi Patrick,

    I got busy as well and lazy. Finally catching up with everything so you’ll see more of me around hehe. So tempted to get the Sofort so maybe your review will tip the scale. These instant film cameras are indeed popular with the younger crowd. The other camera is the Mint 70, it looks like a Rollieflex. But if theres an advantage in IQ with the sofort and the leica film then Ill go with the Sofort.

    Dane

    • Patrick

      Hi Dane,

      It’s winter, I think we all get a little lazy lol. It’s always great to hear from you. About the Sofort, try as I might, I just couldn’t get it done in time to post it today. I spent the whole day in front of the computer writing up two reviews. I never heard of the Mint 70. Wow, that looks cool! The Sofort was so much fun to use…definitely more so than I thought. It’s actually the first Instax camera that I’ve used. My friend has the Fuji, and she went absolutely crazy when she saw me with the Sofort. She ripped it out of my hands, and blew through two roll or should I say packs haha!

      Best,

      Patrick

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