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Article: Explore Leica's Sofort: The instant camera for instant fun

Leicas Sofort erkunden: Die Sofortbildkamera für sofortigen Spaß

Explore Leica's Sofort: The instant camera for instant fun

Instant photography has experienced an astonishing renaissance in recent years. Leica has joined this movement with its own instant camera - the Leica Sofort. On the one hand, this camera is a tribute to the nostalgic world in which you didn't have to wait days for your photos to be developed before you could hold them in your hands. On the other hand, the Leica Sofort is a modern, high-quality tool that revives the joy of spontaneous photography. Dive in and find out why this camera is the ultimate must-have for instant fun in this Leica Sofort review.

Optics and handling

With instant cameras, many manufacturers either go for retro style or incorporate modern elements. Leica is more mature here and has developed a model that is not necessarily recognizable as an instant camera at first glance. It is an almost square, angular plastic housing with a high degree of stability. You have a free choice of colors between red, white, orange, mint and black.

The lens with adjustment ring and a selfie mirror are located on the front of the camera. On the back there is an on/off switch, buttons for the basic settings (flash, mode selection, self-timer, exposure) and a small LCD display. The ejector for the instant photos is mounted on the side. The shutter release button is located somewhat awkwardly at the front of the top of the camera and may be difficult for smaller hands to reach. The scope of delivery also includes a tripod thread (1/4 inch), a battery including charger and a carrying strap.

You can also find the right camera bag for your equipment and everything you need to protect your camera in our Oberwerth Shop. From classic camera bags to modern sling bags up to noble photo weekenders and backpacks. Of course you will also find hand straps and shoulder straps. Finest craftsmanship made from the best materials. Take a look around and find the bags & accessories that best suit you and your equipment!

Operating the Leica Sofort is uncomplicated, which is also due to the fact that the functions are not necessarily complex, but reduced to the essentials. Changing film is also intuitive. What you should definitely keep in mind: Do not shake the camera!

Taking pictures with the Leica Sofort

You determine the image section by looking through the eyepiece and take your photo by pressing the shutter release. Immediately afterwards, the image is ejected from the side. Remove it as soon as there is no more noise and only touch the edge of the image. Complete development takes about five minutes at room temperature. During this time, protect the image from direct sunlight and avoid any contact or pressure on the image surface.

Films and film change in the Leica Sofort camera test

The films for the Leica Sofort are available from the Leica Shop in packs of ten. They are available in monochrome and color versions. Alternatively, you can also use the cheaper monochrome and color films from the Fujifilm brand (Instax Mini). Here you have the choice between many different designs for the image borders. Instant photography with Leica Sofort produces photos in the size 62 x 46 mm in portrait format. As is usual with Polaroid films, the purchase is rather expensive. You have to reckon with around 1.20 to 1.40 € per photo. On the other hand, you save the cost of having the films professionally developed.

A film pack is easy to use. You unlock the flap with the switch to the left of the row of buttons. Take care not to remove the black cover of the unused film before inserting it, as it will then be ejected automatically. The counter always shows how many shots you can still take with the current film.

The Leica Sofort functions

The Leica Sofort with a wide-angle 34 mm fixed focal length offers a wide range of options for making your own settings depending on the subject, brightness and situation. You can find out which Leica Sofort functions are integrated in the following sections.


The self-timer can be activated via a direct button. You can choose between a lead time of two seconds, for example to avoid camera shake, and a lead time of ten seconds. In the last three seconds, the self-timer LED flashes to indicate that the picture has been taken.


Flash mode is automatic and does not require individual settings, depending on the ambient brightness. You can also choose between three other operating modes:

  • Flash with every shot
  • Pre-flash
  • No flash

Correction levels for image brightness

If the image is too bright or too dark for you in automatic mode, there are two correction levels: Overexposure and underexposure. The lowest button next to the display is used for the setting. The exposure can be corrected by a light value of ± 0.7. The correction is reset after each shot.

Subject programs

In the factory setting, exposure and flash are regulated automatically depending on the current ambient brightness. For certain situations and subjects, the Leica Sofort also offers six additional programs that are optimized for the respective subject type. This makes it easier for you to use the camera, as you do not have to make any adjustments yourself. The six scene programs are

  • Macro: In macro mode, you can image your subjects larger than in the normal mode of the Leica Sofort. This allows you to capture details such as insects or flowers with high sharpness. In normal mode, the closest focusing distance is 60 cm, in macro mode between 30 and 60 cm. It is therefore possible to create images up to twice as large with this method.
  • Selfie: The Leica Sofort's selfie mode is ideal for spontaneous selfies from a distance of 30 to 60 cm. The mirror above the lens allows you to individually adjust the image section.
  • Celebration: Among other things, the red-eye effect is reduced here.
  • Sports: The sports mode allows you to capture moving subjects in full focus.
  • Long exposure: This allows you to record fireworks, for example, in which effects such as explosions in the sky are also displayed. For better shots, it is advisable to mount the Leica Sofort on a tripod.
  • Double exposure: With double exposure, two different images are superimposed and merged into one image. A very steady camera position is also an advantage here.

Distance levels

The distance range can be adjusted directly using the adjustment ring on the lens. In the factory setting, a distance of 0.6 to 3 m is preset, ideal for selfies and portraits of small groups. In addition to the close-up range, there is also an adjustable long-distance range with distances from 3 m to infinity, as used for landscape photography, for example. Macro mode is also available for particularly close-up shots.

Make sure that all settings are reset to the factory settings when the camera is switched off. Since every subject is different anyway, this is a convenient function in the Leica Instant Test that reduces the risk of incorrect shots.

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