If you want a premium-brand camera that shoots digital and prints analog, then the Sofort 2 Hybrid Instant Digital might be for you.
It also happens to be a Leica camera, so that definitely carries a few bonus status points in its favor at a glance. The Sofort 2 is being introduced a full 7 years after the original Sofort came out on the market as Leica’s first instant camera.
Now, with this new model, Leica has added a bunch of new features. Most crucial among them is its hybrid capacity, which means that while shooting your photos onto instant film, it also lets you save them digitally.
When users snap a shot with the new Sofort 2, they can send their photos to the camera for printing through their Leica Fotos phone app and they can do the same with any other images captured with a Leica digital camera.
They can of course also save digital copies internally in the Sofort 2 itself.
The new Leica device is also decidedly sleek looking and has an instant status symbol with its very visible and famous Leica red dot logo.
Sure, you can go for one of Polaroid’s new I-2 digital instant cameras, but they don’t quite offer the brand image and physical style of the Sofort 2.
It has the same blocky shape and rounded corners as the original Sofort but with a bit of new streamlining and the classic rounded sides of many other Leica camera models of all types.
The brand has also made the Sofort 2 available in multiple colors consisting of a rich red, elegant black and classic Leica black.
This camera isn’t just about its looks either.
The manufacturer, with its long history of making robust devices, built it inside a synthetic polycarbonate frame that’s tough without making the camera too heavy since it weighs no more than 320 grams without its film pack.
Other external features include a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C connectivity port and an ¼ inch tripod thread along the bottom of the Sofort 2.
With its film pack, the camera can store up to 45 images, but through the Sofort’s microSD and microSDHC there’s room for many more digital photos.
As for the lens of the Sofort 2, it’s a Leica Summar 2.4mm f/2 with a 28mm-equivalent focal length in full-frame. In comparison, Polaroid’s I-2 offers a 38mm equiv. field of view from its lens, and larger film too.
Internally, the Sofort 2 camera has a 1/5-inch CMOS sensor that’s unusually, surprisingly small considering the rest of the device. With its crop factor, it produces rather disappointing 2,560×1,920-pixel images with a total resolution of 4.9 megapixels.
This compact size is actually made even worse when you go into the output details of this camera, because it doesn’t output images in that resolution.
Instead, when you print your photos with the camera’s Leica instant film packs, they shrink to 1,600×1,600 and if you send your shots through the Fotos app, they’re reduced even further to an 800×600 size.
However, Leica has given the Sofort 2 a total of 20 different visual effects for different kinds of creative expression. 10 of these are lens effects and 10 are film effects.
Some examples include Vignette, Soft Focus, Blur, Colorshift, Fisheye, Light Leak, Double Exposure, Mirror and Half-Frame among others.
In addition to these, the film packs themselves are available in dual formats, including Sofort color film (mini) in a warm edition and Sofort color film pack (mini) in a neo-gold edition.
With these and the overall quality of the camera, you can probably create some very decent, small instant-print shots despite the small sensor size and photo resolution in the Sofort 2 Hybrid.
As for the quality of the 800×600 digital images for printing in larger formats later, it’s hard to guess, but I wouldn’t expect too much sharpness.
As a hybrid camera, the Leica Sofort 2 also has a 3-inch LCD display with a 460,000-dot resolution and a control menu layout that’s similar to what you’ll find in other Leica cameras.
Overall, the Leica Sofort 2 Hybrid Instant camera offers a lot of external style but seems a bit weak on internal substance.
For example, Polaroid’s competing I-2 model costs roughly a third more, but if instant photos are your thing, it offers more features and superior resolution.
However, the Sofort 2 isn’t too badly priced by the standards of Leica products, costing $379.99. Leica will also be releasing a pile of accessories for the camera.
Images credit: Leica Camera
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