Leica Sofort is a Fuji Instax Mini Camera


I really don't get it. Why is Leica jumping on the Fuji Instax Mini bandwagon just like Lomo while a much larger instant film format like the FP-100c is being given the death sentence? To be fair, I think peel film is really special and the colors are just great, but then again it was never a product that originated with Fujifilm in Japan. 

Earlier this year, Fujifilm announced that it was no longer producing the FP100c and that once the stocks run out, it would be the end of it. Now, the FP100c is a fine instant film that was license from Polaroid in its day, and yes, they pay a royalty to produce this but they never did come out with a camera to use this. Instead, we have the Instax Wide and Instax Mini, which are their own original properties. 

The problem I have with them is the size of the camera, the Wide is just too bulky of a camera but the prints are awesome, while the Instax Mini is just right in size but small in print. Those business card size prints means you have to squint to see what's on it. What's more, the Instax Mini has a following among the young, who love those instant prints for art and sharing with friends. 

So why is Leica, of all people, think these young ones would want to buy and use Leica branded Sofort Camera and Instant film?

The SoCalled Sofort

Now the Sofort Leica isn't going to change what Lomo is already doing, and even though it has several preset modes for shooting, it lacks any sort of manual controls. It even looks like a rip off of a Fujifilm Instax Mini 90. 

And since Leica is famous for its legendary optics, I am not sure if they are going to put glass lenses on this camera either. Will there be a Summarit or Summicron lens on this baby? Clearly there is a business strategy behind this which I will explain in a moment. 

Leica, like Ferrari and Porsche, has brand appeal but the average owner of these vehicles are much older folks that qualify for pensions and a retirement home in the Bahamas. 

These high net worth people aren't being replaced by the younger generation as they clearly favor the brands by Apple or Samsung when shooting something instant to share. The trendy mavens prefer Canon and Nikon and where does that leave Leica? What's worst is that Leica still foolishly markets itself as a street photographer's camera circa the 1950s when Henri Cartier Bresson would sling one around Paris to capture those impromptu moments. That style of photography has been replaced with an iPhone but Leica still thinks you should ante up to a five thousand dollar camera just to shoot street scenes. 

For some years now, I have noticed a dwindling number of fans for the German brand, I rarely see people use a Leica camera for fear they would be robbed or targeted in public. So when Leica signed a partnership with Huawei for the development of the P9 dual camera smartphone, they are clearly moving mainstream to garner enough interest from the younger generation to move to their brand. You whip out a smartphone with a Leica branded camera without generating the same attention as you would with a Leica branded digital camera. 

So here we have it, the Instant film compatriot to the digital Leica system. It is eye catching enough for the young at heart and not as stuffy as the Leica digital cameras which would cost you your left kidney to own. But that's not to say that the Leica Sofort is going to be cheap. Rumors have it at upwards of US$300 a pop. 

Leica will also sell Fuji Instax Mini film under its own Leica brand, expect to pay more for this privilege, but you can load up any Mini Instax film by Fujifilm. 

Leica is trying to appeal to a younger audience to arrest the falling sales of its own digital camera products. And with the brand appeal and hopefully, quality as well, we can see a new generation of Leica camera users who are not already retiring to the Bahamas. 

So I will no doubt double down on a Leica Sofort once I win the lottery. Enough said.