Initially, this review of the Lomography Lomo’Instant was supposed to be a first impressions type of review and what I initially thought of the camera, however I felt like that would be misleading and not really a true review. You know how new things always seem really amazing? Well, I didn’t want it to turn out like that, so after a few months of breaking in this new contraption, I decided to share my thoughts.
If you haven’t been following us on instagram, I made a quick trip to Hong Kong in November when the Lomo’instant had just been released. I was able to swing by the Lomography store in Sheung Wan to pick up the Kickstarter project I donated to when it was in it’s early development stages.
Lomography’s answer for the in-demand instant-camera craze. The campaign raised $1 Million by the end of June -considering their goal was only $100,000. With the extra dollars, the company decided to throw in a few extra goodies for free, including a cute camera strap, colour gel filters and three beautiful lenses to play around with.
Considering some Kickstarter campaign’s that have taken over a year to produce. I managed to donate at the early stages and grabbed the early bird prices for the white Lomo’Instant.
One word I would use to describe this camera: Manual
What differentiates this camera out of the bunch is the added features (which include:
- Variety of lenses: One built-in wide angle lens, Separate Fisheye, Portrait and Close-Up lens attachments (available for purchase).
Unless you’re specifically going out to take pictures, carrying all three lens attachments can be a hassle, especially when you’re used to using small handbags and purses for outings. The lenses also adds another barrier for light to penetrate through and as a result, gives a more blurred finish to the photos.
- Unlimited Multiple Exposures: Combine multiple shots on one frame for amazing experimental instants.
- Infinite Long Exposures: Perfect for low light, dawn/dusk and nighttime shooting. Get artistic with light painting and create beautiful light streaked instants!
This can be a little tricky, since everything is focused on such a small scale, it can be difficult to see the details of the long and multiple exposures. However, this is a first for the Instant world!
- Uses Fujifilm Instax Mini Film: The most widely available instant film on earth.
Win! Although these cost ~$15AUD for a pack of 10, things could’ve gotten a lot worse (see The Impossible Project)
- 3 Shooting Modes: Shoot photos with auto-flash on for immediate great results, or take direct control with the creative shooting modes (with flash and without flash).
Like many of the Lomographic cameras, you are confronted with a myriad of functions and features streamlined into the core structure of the camera. This camera is very hands on, in a way that you control how the picture will turn out in terms of functionality, controlling the exposure and lighting of the mini instax films. As a guide, they’ve included a little table at the bottom of the camera to help adjust the correct lighting functions for a perfect picture:
The major let down for the Lomo’Instant however, is the image quality. The common use for instant cameras is it’s ability to print a physical copy of an image for you on the spot. I use it mostly for taking pictures of people at parties and events, under different lighting conditions – and also to give that flawless skin look (hehe 😜).
In comparison to the any of the Fujifilm Instax Mini’s the Lomo’instant is certainly inferior in terms of image quality. The rendering of colour transfer, differentiation and exposure of figures in the foreground and background are better captured by the Fujifilm lens and mechanism.
The flash apparatus of the Lomo’instant needs some revising, in most photos that I had taken, the flash had come off too strongly and blew out all the details on the faces. After some revising on the small table at the bottom of the camera, I was able to modify the image and do a second take. The inconvenience this serves not only wastes film and money but also time and the moment. Thus, this comes with better practice and experience with cameras from Lomography.
- Uses universal film
- Aesthetic of camera is clean and simplistic
- For analogue/ toy camera lovers (not user friendly)
- Film price
- The flash
- Image quality
- Not for the lazy- takes effort to create a good photo
Would I recommend it to a friend?
Overall, the Lomo’Instant is a pretty sturdy and fun camera to play with. This camera is unlike any other. It’s customisable functionality and lens aspect give it extra brownie points and the colour filters, added camera strap and packaging make it a great gift. Just don’t expect it to be like the Fujifilm Instax Mini’s. I would truly recommend it if they had knowledge in manual toy cameras or wanted to get into that business. Oh and it comes with these cute Tips ‘n Tricks cards:
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