A couple of years ago instant cameras were beginning to feel out-dated and pointless, but now they have an air of retro-cool about them. Indeed, Fujifilm, Lomography and the Impossible Project have all had instant hits with them. Now Leica is getting in on the act too, with the Sofort.
The Leica Sofort is a high-end take on the instant camera (as you'd expect from Leica) and the first instant shooter from the firm. Designed by the Leica design team in Germany, it's also quite a looker, and is sure to be a hit with fashion-conscious photo fans. The rectangular camera will come in orange, mint or white.
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But the Sofort isn't just about its looks. On the front is a Hektor lens which extends from the camera and offers a 34-mm equivalent view. There are three focus steps, Macro, for shooting subjects 0.3-0.6 m away (1 to 2 ft away), Close, for subjects 0.6-3 m away (2 to 10 ft), and Far Range for subjects 3m (10 ft) or further away.
Shooting modes also go beyond those you find on most instant cameras. These include Automatic, People and Party, Action and Sport, Bulb, Macro, Self-timer, Double exposure and Selfie, where a rectangular mirror on the face of the camera helps you make sure you are getting a good shot of yourself.
The camera measures 124 x 94 x 58 mm (5 x 3.7 x 2.3 in) and weighs 305 g (10.7 oz) making it an easy travel companion. On the rear is a column of control buttons and an old-school LCD display. If you are shooting when struggling for light, there's the option of a built in flash. The battery is said to mean the camera is good for around 100 photos on a full charge.
While the Sofort uses the Instax Mini film type, Leica will also be offering its own color and monochrome instant film options, and both will give prints framed with a border in a warm shade of cream, which is said to "reflect the nostalgic character of instant photography."
The Leica Sofort will be available from November priced at £215 (US pricing is still to be confirmed but that's around US$285) and AUD$399 in Australia. Leica Sofort monochrome film will come in packs of 10 for £11.00 ($14.50) while the color variant will come in packs of 10 for £9.50 ($12.50) or 20 for £15.50 ($20.50).
Product page: Leica SofortView gallery - 6 images