Leica joins the instant film trend with the classically styled Sofort camera

Hillary Grigonis
Leica joins the instant film trend with the classically styled Sofort camera
While the name may sound funny -- Sofort is German for immediately -- the Leica Sofort immediately pops out film photos. The company's first instant film camera uses classic Leica styling but adds a mirror for selfies.

Classic camera designer Leica got even more classic. On Thursday, the company announced its first instant film camera, the Sofort. The camera, named after the German word for “immediately,” will be previewed during Photokina in September and be released in November.

The Sofort is wrapped up in a stylish body that is expected from a camera with the Leica name. The camera will come in three colors that the designer says reflects the fun of instant photography — mint, orange, and white.

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The design is not entirely retro-inspired — a tiny rectangular mirror on the front of the camera acts as a compositional aid for selfies.

The Sofort also comes equipped with a self-timer and a selfie mode, along with auto, party, sport, macro, bulb, and multiple exposure modes. While the camera automatically selects the aperture and shutter speed, exposure compensation gives the user a bit more freedom. The flash can also be left on, off, or on automatic.

The camera’s focusing distance can also be set outside of the mode, using macro, standard or long-distance options to keep a sharp subject. The Sofort lens’ narrow f/12.7 aperture should also help keep things in focus.

In keeping with the retro appeal of instant film, Leica has added a warm hue to their new Instax color film. Monochrome film is also available in a 10-pack, while the color comes in packs of 10 or 20. Both film options are rated for ISO 800.

With an information display on the back of the camera and a built-in flash, the camera does require a battery. Thankfully, the battery does not follow the vintage inspiration — it is rechargeable, rated at 100 shots.

Leica is also introducing several Sofort accessories, including straps and carrying cases. Designed specifically for the size of the Instax film, albums, postcards and photo presenters are also slated to be part of the product line.

While there is no word yet on a list price, Leica says the camera and film packs will be available beginning in November.