More than just a summer flirt

January 2, 2024

The Leica SOFORT 2 is way more than just an instant picture camera. It’s fun for the whole family and allows you to use resources sparingly.
I must admit that when I heard that the SOFORT 2 was a hybrid camera, I was somewhat sceptical. It seemed to me that the digital intermediary step would undermine the spirit of an instant camera. However, my orthodox scepticism dissolved very quickly. I discovered possibilities with this little camera, unlike anything I’d ever known with a camera before. Without a doubt, one of the most important features is its ability to produce material images immediately – but only if you want to. Because, that’s the other strength of the SOFORT 2: printing is optional and only happens when you activate a mechanical clamping lever. I took the camera with me on holiday, and sitting with my family selecting and printing certain pictures, became a nice evening ritual after a long day of fun.

Despite the reduced possibilities, you can still take sophisticated pictures with this camera, as long as you embrace its minimalist format, and pay attention to your choice of motif. High-contrast subjects – where the foreground is clearly separated from the background –, large areas of colour and portraits can all be successfully captured in this small 86 × 54mm format (incl. frame). 

Film with different colour frames also allows for attractive design options. Leica currently offer two films with frames in light colours, but dark and colourful versions are also available from other suppliers. This underlines another advantage of the hybrid camera: if, for example, you’ve captured motifs that are shown to better advantage with a black frame, you can wait until you’ve inserted the appropriate film before printing the pictures.

The camera has another function I don’t want to fail to mention. Using the Leica FOTOS app, it connects incredibly easily with the iPhone, as well as other storage media. And, I wonder if you’ve already guessed: you can also print photos from any other camera. Even so, I got the feeling that the pictures taken with the Leica SOFORT 2 came out stronger in the print, and so created a somewhat better impression.

Despite the many digital possibilities, the SOFORT 2 ultimately retains the spirit of an analogue camera. The film can take no more than ten pictures. This means you have to practice restraint, if you don’t want to waste film; so you have to examine and evaluate your pictures more carefully. Is the image good enough to be printed? Is it framed correctly? And, if you’re satisfied, you can be rewarded with a small, printed copy. 

At the same time, because the SOFORT 2 is a digital camera, its software can be upgraded. As it happens, I do have a couple of small suggestions for the next firmware update: I think it would be nice if the various frame colours could be simulated already during the print preview. At the moment, a white frame is the only option. My second suggestion also refers to the printing process: I’d like to be able to use the scaling function not only in the preview, but also when setting the image excerpt for printing. Not all subjects can be adapted to this format with a 24mm lens, and in some cases a zoom function would have made me more likely to print one picture or another.
David Rojkowski

More than just a summer flirt