Shooting With Lomo’Instant Automat – Review

“Sleek, chic and gloriously automatic, the Lomo’Instant Automat Playa Jardín Edition is the ideal everyday instant companion.”

The Lomo’Instant Automat was developed by Lomography and funded by a Kickstarter campaign. Last month I used this camera intensively and the thing I love about this model compared to other instant cameras, is that this Lomography camera is the most advanced automatic instant film camera on the market. I made use of all the lenses supplied within the package and the two shooting modes as well to make every shot unique and special. It works with the popular Instax format film, I shot with both the colour as well as the black and white film. The standard lens is the equivalent of 35mm and that works great in all kind of situations.

Lenses and accessoires

The other three available lenses are the fisheye lens, close-up lens and the wide angle lens. Other accessoires are the splitzer that you can use to expose certain parts of the image which can be handy for multiple exposures. Then there ia a remote included which is handy for selfies this remote can also be used as a lens cap, it also has a built in torch which you may want to use for light painting. The Lomo’Instant Automat comes with colour filters for creative effects to place in front of the flash light.

Let’s start

To switch on the camera, you need to twist the lens. Now you have three focusing options to choose from, close (till 0.6 meters), mid-range (1-2 meters) and infinity. Make sure to set the lens in the correct position, otherwise your photos are not sharp because it’s a manual focus lens.

The shutter release button is the reflective silver button on the front of the camera. You can also use this button as a selfie mirror!

A small viewfinder window is found in the top left corner of the camera. You can use this to roughly frame your photo, but please keep in mind that it’s not completely accurate and you may find you need a bit of practice because the lens does not see the same as the viewfinder. Especially for close-ups you have to remind yourself to make a good composition. Also the viewfinder is not aware of the lens you use. This makes it all a little bit more exciting :)

What makes it so special

On the back of the Lomo’Instant Automat you will find the buttons for the other creative options. You can switch the flash on and off, an option that I really appreciate! In sunny situations a flash was to much, so I switched it off for a better photo. The next button is the exposure compensation, where you can create a multiple exposure photo as you can see in the photo above at the bottom right. To start I pressed this button, then I made a photo of a car in front of a building and a minute later I made a portrait of my model. Then I pressed the button again and the camera starts printing the photo. Super easy, but with a cool result! There’s also the option to take control of shutter speed by switching to the bulb mode. Now the shutter will stay open for as long as you hold button. This option takes some experience. You can also use the remote for a selfie or for a photo when the Lomo’Instant Automat camera is used on tripod.

The results

The photos take some time to develop, in the first few minutes you’ll be able to see just a little bit of what you just shot. It is really fun to have a look at the photo in the beginning of this process. They are fully developed within about 20 or 30 minutes.

Think about the light

I made some photos of a beautiful sunset, but the sun turned out as a black spot and the the rest of the picture was overexposed because there was to much light coming in the lens. Keep this in mind with situations with a lot of sunshine and backlight. Also remind yourself that the aperture is f/8, so when there is not much available light, make sure to use the flash otherwise the photo will be underexposed.

Practice and play

It is super fun to shoot with this camera. It is such a different but also exciting  way shooting with a digital camera or with this instant camera mainly because you just have 10 frames inside the camera. For the Colorfilm Instax mini Glossy (2×10/pk) you pay €17, so you will rethink what you are shooting. What is always a good thing in my opinion!

An interesting camera for everyone who loves photography. The Lomo’Instant Automat costs between €159 and €199, depending on the lenses/accessories and colours.

Interview

I also did an interview (in Dutch) with Lomography, check it here!