Picture this: Leica

Leica’s new Sofort 2 instant camera combines the best of analogue nostalgia with contemporary digital clout

Style 21 Nov 2023

Leica's Sofort 2 is set to accelerate the revival of instant film photography

Leica's Sofort 2 is set to accelerate the revival of instant film photography

In our 24/7 culture of Amazon Prime, on-demand streaming and smartphones that can do everything except empty your dishwasher, we’re all hardwired to need everything pronto – a notion that sounded the death knell for mainstream film photography with the rise of digital convenience.

But for all the hundreds of photos we take using our palm- sized telephonic super-computers, how many of them do we look at? But you might have a dusty shoebox of faded sepia and Kodachrome snaps which you occasionally delve into, filling you with that warm, fuzzy feeling only real photographs can evoke. A jpeg just doesn’t cut it. It’s one of the reasons that both 35mm and instant film photography has experienced a renaissance in recent years. ‘There’s an allure to having a finite number of shots with film; it returns value to photography,’ says Nicole M Gomes, a London- based fashion photographer. ‘With each frame being precious, film slows the whole process down, which is a welcome aspect in the fast-paced world we now live in,’ she adds.

In an ironic twist, Leica, the German photographic giant, is repackaging the idea of instant gratification with its new Sofort 2 camera. The second generation in its instant camera range, this new model aims to capture the nostalgic joy of tangible, analogue photographs, but with the added convenience of modern technology and, of course, Leica’s pin-sharp optics. While the revival of analogue film – and instant photography – isn’t a new phenomenon, the functionality of the Sofort 2 is.

One of the frustrations of analogue film was that there was no way to gauge the success of your photographic labours until they came back as negatives or prints from the lab, or developed in your hand in the case of instant film. The Sofort 2 eliminates the burden of unwanted frames by allowing the user to save and view shots on the in-built screen before printing.

‘Contrary to the Sofort 1, the Sofort 2 is a compact instant camera with a digital heart at its core while the first generation was purely analogue. The enhanced ability to control the results of your photography makes it really compelling,’ says Peter Kruschewski, Leica’s product manager.

In addition, photos taken on your smartphone can be transferred to the Sofort 2 via the Leica Fotos app to print a tangible memento of a fleeting moment. Essentially, you’ve been given the power of editing in the palm of your hand before you print. ‘The new connectivity with the Leica Fotos app also allows you to transfer, edit and print images from other digital Leica cameras like the Q3 or M11, as well as your smartphone,’ Kruschewski adds. There are also a host of new functions to bring your own touch to your photography, including a dedicated shutter button for selfies, a wide-angle landscape mode, a macro-mode for detailed close-ups and numerous lens and film effects, including a black-and- white filter for fans of the classic monochrome look.

Leica also offers its own instant colour film with neo gold and warm white frames. It also takes Fujifilm Instax film, which is readily available at high-street stalwarts or online.

The model comes in three fetching shades – black, red and a fresh, contemporary white. There’s also a full complement of accessories including vintage-inspired straps and cases so you can stay trigger- happy in any situation. ‘Leica is known for its craftsmanship and high-quality lenses – they are beautiful, luxury items. It comes as no surprise that Leica instant cameras are aesthetically ticking all the boxes,’ says Gomes.

So, if a picture really is worth a thousand words, fashioning your visuals will be a never-ending story with this snappy tool.