Leica Sofort review
German camera company Leica is rightly legendary for its lenses, so it was a surprise to some when it ventured into instant cameras – not best known for pristine image quality. Though going by the Sofort, we’re glad they did.
Based on Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 90, the Sofort doesn’t offer any revolutionary new features, but is instead a refinement, pairing Fujifilm’s tech with Leica’s own lens.
One of those immediate refinements is in the camera’s physical design. The Mini 90 was already Instax’s most attractive camera, but the Sofort is another step up, with a straight-edged design that delicately toes the line between modern and retro. Available in white, mint, or orange, it’s colourful, sleek, and minimalist – it’s hard not to fall a little bit in love at first sight.
The 60mm f/12.7 lens accommodates two different focal distances, and there are preset modes for macro, people, parties, and sports/action shots. If you want to get fiddlier, you can adjust brightness, flash, and a timer, along with bulb and double exposure modes for more challenging shots. Oh, and there’s a small selfie mirror on the front to help you nail your self-portraits too.
The Sofort takes standard Instax Mini film, but Leica also sells its own prints. Unsurprisingly they cost a bit more, but there’s no appreciable difference in quality – we can’t tell apart similar photos taken across the two film types, so feel free to stick to Instax.
As for the photos themselves, they come out fantastic – the best we’ve seen across the instant cameras we’ve tested so far, especially at shorter distances. The macro mode turns out great close-ups, while even standard settings produce strong portraits. Skin tones can be slightly washed out, and there’s a bit of detail lost in long distance shots, but colours are bright, vibrant, and have the warmth of the best of film photography.
SHOULD I BUY LEICA SOFORT?
The only big question mark hanging over the Sofort is its similarities to the Instax Mini 90. The Sofort may boast a Leica lens and some slick style, but at £250/$300 it’s just about double the price of the Instax for an almost identical feature set.