Most people who are familiar with the German company Leica, don’t associate its name
with instant cameras or affordability. However, the company released its first product
that has both of these attributes, and that is the Leica Sofort instant camera. If you’re
intrigued and want to learn more, read on!
This is probably the first feature you’ll notice about this camera. Right off the bat,
you’ll have to settle for one of the 3 colors available: white, mint, and orange. The overall
design is quite similar to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, and the two cameras
can even use the same film and battery.
The camera is made of plastic and has a faux leather edge. The plastic case and the
colors give this camera a very modern appearance while the leather edge brings a hint
of a retro feel to it.
The quality of the image depends a lot on the film, lens, and settings used. In the case
of this Leica Sofort camera, you don't have to worry about the lens for it’s as good as it
gets. The film can be the one made by Leica or the standard Instax Mini film that costs a
The features that matter the most when taking a picture with this Leica are the distance to
the subject and the light. This model doesn’t have a good long-distance focus, and if
there’s too much light the colors will be washed out.
The pictures themselves are not very large either at 62 x 46 mm – about the same size
as a business card. It’s impossible to have much clarity or too many details showing up,
however, these let downs are common when comparing pictures taken with any other
Image quality is not always the main reason to get an instant camera, but the possibility
of turning some moments into tangible memories while having fun. Furthermore, there are
many positively impressed owners of this Leica Sofort and the pictures it produces.
The focus of the lens is rather important when it comes to the quality of the image. This
Leica has a ring around its lens to help you adjust its focal distance. Be warned as there
are only 2 options to choose from: for close items between .6m and 3m, and for items in
the distance, at more than 3m away.
You should also know that while a well-focused image will look crisp, one out of focus
can be artistic. The camera has options to capture people, parties as well as action
scenes. Taking a photo of something in motion is possible thanks to the speed of the
shutter which varies between 1/8 and 1/400. Those are preset modes meant to help you
out when you don’t really know which one to use.
To make better use of the focus, pay attention to the lens as well. The Leica Sofort
instant camera uses an Automatik-Hektor 60mm f/12.7 lens. You should know that this is
a lens made of plastic, which is one of the reasons the quality of the picture lets some
users down, especially professional photographers.
Ease of Use
At 3.7 x 2.3 x 4.9 inches, this camera is pretty big and looks like a box. This can make
single-hand operation a bit of a challenge. The shutter button is on top of the camera,
and the square corners are a bit of an obstacle when it comes to handling the camera.
Some users prefer to use the strap for added support.
This being said it’s rather easy to turn the camera on, load it with a new film if needed,
and snap a photo. It's obvious to tell when the camera is on or off: the lens extends
when the power is on and collapses back on itself when it's off. realizing what the
buttons on the back are for is a rather straightforward process too even without having
the instructions on hand. The on and off button is on the back of the camera.
Taking selfies is also relatively easy because the front of the camera has a small mirror.
The mirror is placed right above the lens when the camera is held in a landscape position.
For regular pictures, there’s a small viewfinder on the camera’s back, in the left top
Several users pointed out that it might take a few missed shots until you figure out the best
settings to use. This is a big problem because the instax film only has 10 shots, and the
film is rather pricey.
The flash is a good option to have on a camera, especially for those times when you need
more light and this Leica has it incorporated. Users can force it on or off, let the camera
on auto flash, or even force it on while using the red-eye reduction function.
There are other modes you can control on this camera, based on the situation. You can
make adjustments for light bulbs and double exposure, but not only. Try and pay
attention to the symbols appearing on the screen: a bigger sun means brighter light for
instance. If there’s too much light, try to find a better angle, and don’t use the flash.
● Uses mini instax film
● Rechargeable battery
● Most affordable Leica
● Best instant photos for a short distance
● Fits in the pocket of a jacket
● Only for printed photos
● No manual controls
● Plastic, fixed lens
Some Final Words
If you are a professional photographer who hopes for the clearest images they can get
while paying very little for the camera, this product might not be for you. Those who
want digital copies of their pictures should probably also refrain from getting this Leica.
Anyone else willing to have fun or who just wants to own a product made by this brand
will probably be the happiest user of the device.
The price of the camera itself is a major letdown for those who are passionate about
taking pictures, but not for those who want to have the security their product will last for
years to come.