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Lomo Instant review



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Lomo Instant
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  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant
  • Lomo Instant


Our Score:



  • Cool retro design
  • Built-in flash with fun colour gels
  • Good-value bundle with extra lenses


  • Bulky and a little flimsy
  • Viewfinder doesn’t work with close-up lens
  • Pricey film

Key Features

  • 27mm-equivalent wide-angle lens
  • f/8-f/32 aperture settings
  • Compatible with Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film
  • 1/125s shutter speed and Bulb mode
  • Manufacturer: Lomography
  • Review Price: £89.00

What is the Lomo'Instant?

Lomography's Lomo'Instant is the most advanced instant camera yet, and the result of a crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign.

With the rise of the selfie and concerns over cloud storage of digital snaps, Polaroid-esque instant cameras have made something of a comeback. This model from analogue camera expert Lomography is the latest version to hit the shops, but what sets it apart from the others?

The Lomo'Instant offers far more control than you get with any other instant camera, including a selection of removable lenses, different shooting modes, aperture control and the ability to take multiple exposures.

The first models went out to Kickstarter backers in October, and the Lomo'Instant is now available to everyone.


Lomo'Instant – Design and Handling

The Lomo'Instant sports a pleasingly retro design, although the box-like design means that it’s rather bulky. With the exception of the incredibly cool Fujifilm Instax Mini 90, instant cameras in recent years have tended to feature slightly ugly, uninspiring designs, but the Lomo'Instant is cool and blocky.

The camera sports a similar faux-leather covering to the Lomography Lomokino and Belair models, and is available in black or white. There’s also a model that’s covered real brown leather with a slightly higher price tag of £109. We like the white version best, as its shows off the minimalist design more, but the finish is rather prone to picking up marks and scuffs, and there’s no protective case available to keep it in.

The only accessory that is available – aside from the optional lenses which we’ll look at in more detail later – is a shoulder strap (£8.90), which is good news as it makes the hefty camera slightly less cumbersome.

As with most Lomography cameras, physical controls are kept to a minimum, but these all feel well placed and intuitive.


Lomo'Instant – Controls and Features

The key control that you’ll need to get to grips with is the mode switch, which enables you to choose between having the flash on, off or on auto, where a sensor will automatically set the flash to the most suitable level based on the ambient light.

If you want to keep things simple, you can just set it to auto each time, but it’s worth experimenting a little – after all, the whole point of this camera is that it offers you the flexibility to do just that. There’s even a handy chart on the underside of the camera that tells you which settings to use for which shooting conditions. The chart is cleverly moulded into the plastic casing, so it doesn’t mess with the camera’s design.


The next major control is the shutter release lever, which is smooth and offers just the right amount of tension not to jog the camera when you’re taking a shot. A simple, sliding focus switch lets you choose from two options – 1m and below for close-ups and 1m to infinity for everything else. Setting the focus to close-up makes the front portion of the camera body protrude slightly, leaving it slightly vulnerable, so make sure you switch the focus back to infinity before plonking the camera back in your bag.

A ‘B’ (for bulb) switch means that you can snap long-exposure shots – ideal for light streaks at night.

An MX control lets you take multiple exposures – just flip the switch before taking a snap and you can take unlimited pictures on the same frame before the picture pops out. While you can take as many multiple exposures as you like on one frame, you’ll get the best results from just two or three.

The exposure-compensation dial can be used to adjust the aperture from -2 (f/32) up to 2 (f/8) – the largest aperture range currently available on an instant camera, which means that you're more likely to get the right amount of light into your shots.

The settings need a bit of trial and error to get right, but you’ll soon be glad of the control offered when you see how opening up that aperture makes a big difference in dark shooting conditions.

Perhaps the most basic, yet effective, feature of all is the tiny round mirror on the front of the camera, which is great for lining up selfies. For conventional shots, there’s a straight-through optical viewfinder, but it’s rather on the small side.


Lomo'Instant – Film and Lenses

The camera uses the Fujifilm Instax Mini instant film, which is readily available, albeit rather pricey – especially as you only get 10 shots per film. Hunting out bulk buys on eBay is a good way to go.

Loading up the film is as easy as on any Instax-toting cam – you simply tear open the foil wrapper, plonk the cartridge in, making sure that the yellow stripe matches up, and take a picture to eject the cover sheet.

Further adding to the flexibility offered by the camera, the box contains a set of colour gels that can be placed over the built-in flash. As with any colour gels, the lighter colours tend to give better results, as they give a subtle filter effect rather than an overbearing hue.


The camera’s fixed 27mm equivalent wide angle lens is really rather good – it works well on portraits and selfies and also means that you can pack a fair bit into long shots, too.

A bundle pack with three additional lenses will set you back an extra £30, though the lenses can’t currently be bought separately – so you need to decide at the start whether you want the camera with or without the extra optics.


The portrait lens is the best of the three and works well on mid-range photos of people, while the fisheye is probably the lens that you need the least – it’s good for some novelty shots but unlikely to be your ‘go-to’ lens, plus it needs plenty of light to get good results.

The close-up lens attachment is a bit trickier to get good results from – largely because you can’t use the viewfinder to focus on anything that close, so you’re shooting blind. It’s also best to steer clear of the flash on close-ups, with bright daylight giving the best results.

Naturally, all images are slightly on the soft side, but getting the right combination of lens and aperture gets picture as sharp as is possible.


The camera is powered by four AAA batteries, so swapping in new cells is easy and you don’t have to remember to take a charging cable around with you.

Should I buy the Lomo'Instant?

Overall we like the Lomo'Instant a lot, despite its flaws. The design is cool, but for something so bulky, it feels a little flimsy and the faux-leather finish is slightly prone to marking. The amount of manual control is good but not too overwhelming, even for photography newbies.

We love what’s been accomplished in terms of an instant camera, but we’re hoping for a second-gen model with a few refinements, including a more robust build and a more resilient finish.

We also like that the camera uses easy-to-find Instax film, but the costs do rack up as you rattle through those shots.


If you fancy diving into instant photography, the Lomo'Instant offers great control and is capable of great results – especially if you splash the extra 30 quid to get the additional lenses. If you just want to dip a toe, some Fujifilm models offer better value.

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Overall Score



October 21, 2014, 2:05 pm

this is a nice camera


November 21, 2014, 7:14 am

I got my San Remo version and found it to be large, clunky with a cheap and flimsy feel I had to repair the battery compartment spring before it would even power on. The lenses and gels add some fun but it's a camera so the photo quality should be the critical factor and this camera is mediocre to average. The photo are much less clear than those taken with a Fuji camera at less than half the cost. I think lomography has a coolness factor of some kinds but there camera;s are a disappointment. This is not $130 dollar camera and Id be amazed if it holds up to even moderate use.


November 22, 2014, 11:26 pm

I received the San Remo kit with the lenses, strap (does not match the camera) and color gels (no batteries included) and tested it with one pack of film. I'm very disappointed in the delivered results. From the 10 pictures only one is reasonable good, another acceptable, both taken outdoors guided by a light meter. Indoor flash pictures are not good to very bad. I have not tried the delivered lenses and think it will remain that way. Probably it will serve as a nice to look at display camera. The most basic Fuji instant mini gives better results and if you compare it with the Fuji Neo Classic it is no match.


December 5, 2014, 12:53 pm

I was a long-time Polaroid fan. My favorite materials were peel-apart films -- Polaroid's ProVivid and 4x5 sepia, and Fuji's FP-100C (still made). All produce(d) technically excellent photographs.

The pictures shown here -- even allowing for the degradation produced when scanning -- are some of the lousiest instant photos I've ever seen. If you can find the Fuji material, and a working Colorpack camera with a glass lens (manual or auto), you'll make much better photos. The better Colorpacks have portrait and close-up lenses that couple with the rangefinder, so there's little question as to framing, and no question as to focus.

Then there's the SX-70, the greatest camera of all time. Its pictures weren't as good as those from peel-apart materials, but it was a folding SLR that slipped into your pocket! It's unlikely that anyone like Edwin H Land will ever appear again.

Sarah BK

December 30, 2014, 3:45 pm

Do you know of any affordable and still manufactured cameras that use the FP-100C? It's impossible to find any original Polaroid land cameras here with the ease Americans seem to be able to get them.

(Even off ebay - prices are high, shipping costs more than the camera and that's excluding import charges since they're almost all from the US).


December 30, 2014, 7:56 pm

No one manufactures cameras that take Colorpack materials. I don't understand why you would have to pay import duties, as you're dealing in an "obsolete" product. Besides, a US seller could simply mark "gift" on the package.

Sarah BK

December 30, 2014, 8:20 pm

What a shame :/ I guess I will just have to keep hoping I bump into a 100 series polaroid sometime soon...

Well, some listings include import charges. Others don't but then there's always that risk - never quite know what the post office regards as obsolete and not. And the shipping alone is quite high - 40-60$...


January 1, 2015, 4:53 am

this camera is a piece of garbage. honestly I was so disappointed... wasted 2 packs of film and decided to just return it. really just not worth the money or effort.


January 14, 2015, 2:34 pm

Ah yes, back in the day when me and John Belushi would skate to our local disco and then use the dud pictures to line our icing up in the flat, but that night when he was around, I think he overdid the icing...

Aurahkel IOA

January 25, 2017, 11:17 am

Good creative ideas. poor bulid quality and extremely poor customer service. They take days to respond to messages. Sent a Petzval with focusing issues they sent back the lens in two piece and told me to assembly it myself?? I will never buy a Lomo stuff again.

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