Leica has unveiled the Sofort 2, a hybrid quick, compact camera. The Leica Sofort 2 combines digital capture and analog output to provide the joyful and spontaneous look of the original Sofort that debuted in 2016 but with significantly greater flexibility. The camera can snap an image and instantly print it out like the original, shoot and store on a microSD card without printing like a point-and-shoot digital camera, or be used as a portable wireless printer to generate instant prints from other Leica cameras using the FOTOS app.
The Sofort 2’s 4.9 megapixel CMOS sensor and 28mm f/2 equivalent lens aren’t up to pace with a 60 megapixel Leica Q3 in terms of image quality or precise handling. But that isn’t the case. This is a lighthearted, casual camera for everyday use.
Even while the Sofort 2 doesn’t capture photographs directly to film, it does include an LED light printer and accepts the same Sofort film packs as before. As a result, the prints are optically created rather than inkjet or thermal, giving them the appearance and feel of authentic analog images.
The Sofort 2 comes in white, black, and red. The backside of all models is black, with a rear LCD and the usual three-button controls and direction pad.
The original Sofort was highly popular and a lot of fun, but it had significant flaws. Every shot was printed because the camera was entirely analog. Furthermore, each photograph could only be printed once, restricting the options for sharing. The Sofort 2 can print several copies, ensuring that everyone receives a print. You can also print a copy while keeping one for yourself. The camera has a manually operated lever that allows you to select which photographs to print. Of course, with a microSD card slot, photos can be saved for later transfer to your computer, wireless transmission via the FOTOS app, or selection and printing immediately in the camera.
The original’s composition, focus, and exposure were likewise extremely simple. Instead of fixed zone focusing, we get a modern 3-inch back LCD for a WYSIWYG preview and autofocus. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO are changeable for proper exposure and combined with a 256-zone TTL metering system. But don’t expect much manual control. Because the Sofort 2 is intended to be simple, the camera is totally automatic, except for exposure correction and customizable white balance. This also implies no DNG files, only sRGB JPGs. And it’s ideal for rapid shooting and sharing.
When combined with the Leica FOTOS app, the Sofort 2 opens up a world of possibilities. Wirelessly transfer pictures from the camera to FOTOS, and any images in your FOTOS library can be shared from your phone to the Sofort 2 for printing. For example, you could take someone’s portrait with your SL, M, or Q camera and give them a print to keep within seconds. This has the potential to be fantastic for family gatherings, street and travel photography, weddings, and even commercial assignments. The inbuilt rechargeable battery may last up to 100 prints, so stock up on film packs, each of which is good for ten prints.
The Leica FOTOS app can also be used as a remote, controlling the camera’s live view, flash, and self-timer. The My Memories gallery within the FOTOS app is another pretty cool feature. Any photographs you’ve printed from the camera will be easily accessible here.
Aside from the various benefits of the Sofort 2’s hybrid digital/analog image system, the ability to apply in-camera digital effects gives up many creative possibilities. Ten film types and ten lens effects can be combined to create 100 unique appearances.
Leica is releasing a slew of new accessories along with the new camera. Four distinct carry bags are available, all made of black recycled polyester with gray and red wrist and neck straps. There are bamboo magnetic photo frame sets, metal storage cases, and a unique marker for writing on the prints for the printouts. Of course, there are film packs in warm white and neo-gold.
The Leica Sofort 2 will be available for $389 in early to mid-November.