Leica Camera AG is a German optics enterprise and manufacturer of Leica cameras. The company is primarily known for its high-quality, lightweight rangefinder cameras, which have gained renown from their use as the camera of choice for several famous street photographers. The predecessor of the company, formerly known as Ernst Leitz GmbH, is now three companies: Leica Camera AG, Leica Geo-systems AG, and Leica Micro-systems GmbH, which manufacture cameras, geosurvey equipment, and microscopes, respectively. Leica Micro-systems AG owns the Leica brand and licenses the sister companies to use it.
Leica is getting into the affordable camera game. Well, not really. But its newest camera comes with a price tag that’s more often associated with low-end compact cameras than elite German photography machines. The only catch is it’s an instant camera.
The Leica Sofort, which will hit stores for $299 in November, uses Fujifilm’s Instax film to produce prints immediately after you snap the shutter. It has a variety of automatic modes, including standard auto, party, people, sport, action, and macro. It also has the ability to do multiple exposures and a dedicated mode for selfies. The Sofort even has a mirror on the front to help with selfie framing.
Leica will be offering both color and black and white film packs for the Sofort, as well as a range of accessories. The camera will come in three colors: white, orange, or mint green, which is almost, but not quite, the color of money.
The Sofort isn’t the only instant camera in this price range the Impossible I-1 is also $299 — but given that the Sofort is largely just a point-and-shoot model, it’s a bit more expensive than what you’d spend on other basic instant cameras. Still, Leica cameras always come with a higher price tag, and when considering how much other Leica models cost, the Sofort isn’t as expensive as you might expect it to be. At the very least, it does look pretty cool.