2019 Buying Guide: Best instant cameras
Published Jul 9, 2018 | Dan Bracaglia
Lomography Lomo'Instant Automat
Instax Mini Format | 35mm equiv F8 lens (Automat) | Auto exposure control with exposure compensation
What we like:
- Reasonably fast max aperture
- Premium build, lovely design
- Fairly simple to operate
- Small and lightweight
- Positive and negative exp. comp. modes
- Ability to completely disable flash
- Ships with lots of cool accessories
- Tripod socket
What we don't:
- CR2 batteries can be hard to find
- Manually-driven focus
- Difficult to frame close ups
The Lomo'Instant Automat is a premium camera that uses of the Instax Mini format. The most compact and arguably stylish Lomography instant camera, the Automat is mostly automatic in nature, as the name implies, but offers some manual controls and special features.
Among the smaller instant cameras out there, the Automat's non-retracting lens means you'll still have a hard time fitting it in any pocket. The plastic build quality is excellent though. The shutter button is on the front and doubles as a selfie mirror, but we found the camera little awkward to grip with one hand due to its boxy design. It's powered by two CR2 batteries, which should provide enough juice for up to 50 frames (roughly five film packs).
This is easily our favorite Lomography instant camera
Features included a multi-exposure mode with no limit on the number of exposures as well as a 'bulb' mode. The camera also ships with a remote trigger that doubles as a lens cap (we were a little afraid of losing it). The Automat includes wide angle, fisheye and close-up lens attachments. It also ships with color filter gels as well as a ‘Splitzer’ attachment for split multi-exposure images. Ten LED lights on the camera body indicate the number of shots remaining.
The camera automatically adjusts shutter speed, aperture and flash output for each shot - there is no way to control flash output, which we often found too powerful (max range of 13 m / 42.7 ft). You can use exposure compensation to brighten or darken your shot, and you can choose to use the flash or turn it off. Focus is achieved through a simple three-zone focus system. The available zones are: 0.3 m (1 ft), 0.6 - 1 m (2 - 3.2 ft.) and infinity. Focus is controlled by rotating the front lens ring element, though its easy to forget to set your zone ahead of time. Heavy vignetting is par for the course with this camera, which some may like.
This is easily our favorite Lomography Instant camera: it's got premium build quality and is fairly straightforward to use. But for half the price, you can get a stylish instant camera that's just as usable, albeit without some of the more creative controls.
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