A lesser known fact about Leica, maker of lust-worthy and expensive high-end rangefinder cameras like the Leica M11, is that it has also dabbled with instant cameras.
It was back in 2016 that Leica announced the Sofort, which was effectively an upcycled Fujifilm Instax Mini 90, lavished with Leica’s modern design flourishes. At $300 / £215 (about AU$425) it was a pricier Fujifilm alternative, albeit the cheapest way to get a red-dot camera. Now, seven years later, we have the Leica Sofort 2.
The second-generation Sofort model (the name means 'instant' in German, in case you were wondering) is a hybrid model in the mold of the Instax Mini Evo; you can shoot the analog way straight onto Instax Mini format film, or the digital way onto the camera’s internal memory / microSD card, and then browse your gallery in the Leica Fotos app to choose and edit your favorite shots for print.
With Leica’s clean-cut design, hybrid is a logical step for the Sofort 2; its 3-inch, 460,000-dot rear LCD suits the look, and most of today’s users will appreciate the choice between analog and digital, rather than being pigeonholed to one-off prints.
The Sofort 2 packs a 28mm-equivalent lens (that’s the same perspective as a camera phone’s main camera) with a f/2 to f/16 variable aperture, a versatile 10cm minimum focus, and auto exposure control. In fact, with a shutter speed range of 1/4 sec to 1/8000 sec and the ability to turn the flash on and off, the Sofort 2 is a more flexible shooter than most analog-only instant cameras. You should be able to shoot in any scenario, from bright sunlight to indoors, and get well-exposed prints.
The Leica Sofort 2 list price is $389 / £350 / AU$649 and it is available in stores from November 9, 2023 in three colors: black, white and red. That’s pricier than the Sofort, and around 2x the price of the Instax Mini Evo. Ouch! The Sofort 2 wouldn’t be a Leica without accessories, and it can be purchased with a wrist strap, neck strap, Leica-edition Instax Mini film with different color borders, plus an array of photo frames, including cute wooden ones for a single mini print.
If you’re shooting digital, the Sofort 2 records onto a 2560 x 1920 pixel sensor (that’s 4.9MP) which means a 1GB microSD card will store around 850-shots. Otherwise you get a 45-shot internal memory.
Compared to the retro Instax Mini Evo, the sleek Leica Sofort 2 truly looks the part, especially if old-school looks don't float your boat – and you need to enjoy the feel and look of an instant camera if it's going to get any use.
Like the Mini Evo, it measures 123 x 87 x 44mm, and will sit well in the hand compared to chunkier models like the Instax Mini 12, while its versatile auto exposure controls should ensure that you get the right brightness in your prints, wherever you go. This could be one of the best instant cameras for 2023 – it's certainly desirable, and we’ll share our experiences with the Sofort 2 in our upcoming review.
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Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.