Leading camera manufacturers continue to bet on paper photography even in the digital era. One such example is cult brand Leica, which has just released the first instant print model in its entire history. It has quickly become a small treasure for those who enjoy traditional photography.
Instant photography is a singular experience that, in spite of technological advances, continues to be fun and enjoyable. When this kind of camera became popular in the second half of the 20th century, its main appeal was the possibility of taking and printing a photo without the wait associated with film development. At the time, such technological development seemed amazing, and the immediacy of its results was admirable.
Instant photography is a singular experience that, in spite of technological advances, continues to be fun and enjoyable.
As the years went by and after the rise of digital technology, the possibility of seeing a print quickly was replaced by the enormous advantage of taking hundreds of photos and seeing them immediately on a screen. In the first years of digital photography, more than one expert in the field predicted the definitive end of instant print cameras.
Fast forward to the new century and we encounter the rise of social networks. Not only can we take hundreds of pictures at any given time, but we can also share them instantly with thousands of friends and contacts, no matter in which part of the world they may be.
The new reality of hyper-connectivity has brought back the value of social practices that connect us with the people that are physically present around us. There is also a sense of nostalgia for the time when we would take a picture without knowing how it will turn out until we’re holding a print in our hands, even if we have to wait a few minutes. These are some of the reasons that led to instant cameras rising from their ashes with new and improved technologies.
Leica, the legendary photo equipment brand, recently released its Sofort model, seeking to capture the attention of users who enjoy the unique experience offered by instant prints.
With a minimalist design, the model keeps the German brand’s characteristic “rational” style while incorporating more youthful, friendly colors. Its square shape features a large dimension lens and a manual focus dial in the front, even if the camera is specifically designed for automatic operation.
On the rear, we find five simple buttons that command basic, useful functions and different modes such as selfie, macro, sports, party, etc., which help us capture the best possible images in every situation.
Once the mode is selected, we only have to point and take the picture. We’ll hear the mechanism at work, and after a few seconds, a blank paper will come out of the side before we witness the optical magic that gradually paints our shot until reaching its final definition after some three to four minutes.
Instant cameras bring back the magic of photography of a bygone time. The new Leica Sofort is in no way a modern necessity, but the pure enjoyment of photography is the reason we gravitate towards this model. ■