Instant cameras are coming back in a big way. In the past couple years, Fuji, Lomography and “Polaroid/” have all thrown their hats into the ring, producing cheap, fun devices that provide a nostalgic experience. Leica is keen to get in on the fun, but it seems to have missed the memo on price point. Which seems logical. Leica’s never made a camera it couldn’t mark up.
As expected, Leica’s Sofort is a fancy take on instants. There’s three focus steps to shoot subjects at a variety of ranges (30cm to 3m) and — count ’em — eight shooting modes including “double exposure” and “selfie”. The back is a full LCD display, and there’s an optional flash. Features aren’t usually what I look for in an instant camera, but the Sofort is packed with them.
Those bells and whistles come at a price though: Estimates put the Sofort at around $US300 ($399). Competitor cameras (barring the Impossible Project’s I-1, which can also pair with your phone) all clock in at least $US100 ($133) cheaper. However, paying more comes with the territory of owning Leica products and the price tag likely won’t deter fanboys. The joy, for me anyway, of instant cameras is that they’re candid and unpolished, and a feature-heavy camera just feels antithetical.