The SOFORT 2 Hybrid Instant Camera Is Leica at Its Most Fun

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When one thinks of Leica, one tends to conjure images of the classic photographer capturing life’s fleeting moments with an artful eye, discernible by the classic signature red dotted camera in hand. It is not a brand one typically connects with the looser and less accurate medium of instant film. Yet here we are, imagining all of the fun we could have using the Leica SOFORT 2, a hybrid instant camera and printer less about pixel-perfect accuracy and more about capturing the moment to share with ease.

The SOFORT 2 hybrid instant camera adopts a minimalist modern industrial design that stands apart from Leica’s more seriously styled and fully digital shooters. In fact, the minimalist design exudes an almost macOS icon flatness when viewed front facing. It’s a considerable departure from the first boxy iteration released all the way back in 2016.

Sleeker and more polished, the design sells the premise it’s meant to be slipped into a coat pocket, purse, backpack, or simply carried by lanyard – a camera for vacation rather than vocation.

Leica’s SOFORT 2’s specs look suspiciously interchangeable with Fujifilm’s more retro-designed (and half-priced) Instax Mini Evo Hybrid, down to their closely aligned physical dimensions.

Equipped to capture images in 4.9 megapixel resolution with its Type 1/5-inch CMOS sensor, the camera’s 2.4mm F2.0 lens offers a versatile 28mm equivalent angle of view making it ideal for travel. There’s also a modest sized 3-inch 460k dot TFT LCD display for previewing and framing shots in the back, and Leica has thankfully adopted USB-C support.

A manual printing lever on the camera – visible in the lower right hand corner – makes for a more tactile “print” feature than the typical button control.

The SOFORT 2 also shares a menu structure and button layout similar to Leica’s other digital cameras, ensuring those already acquainted with something like the highly desired Q3 an easy transition over to the instant film format.

If you’re already shooting with another Leica camera, the SOFORT 2 can be used as a wireless printer using the Leica Android or iOS app.

Unlike the analog instant camera of yesteryear, the SOFORT 2’s hybrid design adds a slew of digital features that bridges the gap: 10 lens and 10 film effects to choose from, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, additional options accessible using Leica’s Fotos smartphone app, and the ability to store up to 45 images internally, or 850 with the addition of a micro SD card. The aforementioned app also permits users the 2-way option to send 800×600 pixel digital images to their phone to view or share, or send images from a phone to print using the SOFORT 2’s built-in printer. Images captured directly from the camera can be printed at 1600 x 600 dots resolution.

And would this really be a modern camera for today if there wasn’t a selfie mode, one made easier with the inclusion of its own separate shutter button. For those who are more about capturing wider framed subject matter, there’s landscape mode with a wide-angle character. And for fans of close-up imagery, a macro mode allows for photos from up to 10cm.

The $389 Leica SOFORT 2 is available in three colors – black, red, or white – beginning today, November 9, a photographic camera and printer in one equipped to capture those “fleeting digital moments” with options aplenty to share them afterward. 

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