Leica gets fun and footloose with Sofort instant camera

The German arch-traditionalists just announced an Instax snapper. Whatever next?

Leica? Making an instant camera? What the heck?

It’s certainly a strange one, given Leica’s (well-earned) reputation as a staunchly traditionalist camera maker focused on image quality above all else. But maybe even those super-serious Leica photographers need to kick back and have some fun once in a while, eh?

So what’s the deal? Is this Sofort incredibly expensive and high spec?

Apparently not. It’s going to cost US$299 when it goes on sale in November which, while hardly chicken feed, isn’t pricey by Leica’s standards. Of course, you’ll need to buy instant film on top of that.

And Leica is introducing its own line of that?

No. While the press release takes great pains to avoid mentioning it, the Sofort uses ISO 800 Instax film, like many modern instant cameras. Leica will sell its own branded colour and monochrome film packs (around £10 for a single 10-shot film, or £15 for a double pack), but it’s not clear how much of a hand the company has had in its production (we’re guessing very little, if any).

The camera itself has a 60mm f12.7 lens equivalent to 36mm in 35mm terms, and can shoot at shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/400 of a second. It has a light meter for automatic exposures, and exposure compensation of -0.7 to 0.7. There’s a mode dial, allowing you to switch between several shooting types, including Macro, Action & Sport, Self-Timer, Double Exposure and Selfie.

“Double Exposure”? “Selfie”? 

Yep, like we said earlier, this isn’t Leica’s usual beat. However, the Sofort does look to be built to higher standards than most modern instant cameras; it’s stylish, compact and has an accessible, user-friendly set of controls, which are all things you would associate with Leica.

And image quality?

That’s something we’ll have to find out when we review it, which we hope to do very soon!