Lomo Instant Square – just delivered…

A few months ago, I pre-ordered a Lomo Instant Square on Kickstarter, and I received it last week. It came without film, and I had to order the new Fujifilm Instax Square film on Amazon ($12.45 a pack of 10 instant prints).

On paper, the Lomo Instant Square is a very interesting camera:

  • it works with the new Fujifilm Instax Square film, which yields images significantly larger than the Instax Mini, without needing cameras as large as those accepting the Instax Wide film.
  • It also accepts the Instax Mini film – but it needs a different film door, which is only sold as part of a bundle of accessories ($59.00). I’ll pass for the moment.
  • It has a lens with glass elements. The focal distance is 93mm, and the maximum aperture F/10.
  • Thanks to its folding construction and light weight, it’s easy to carry.

I’ve only shot a few pictures so far, but because it’s a brand new model that only Kickstarter subscribers have received so far, I decided to post a few pictures of the camera with my comments.

The Lomo Instant Square in 4 bullet points:

  •  it’s intelligently designed, with the needs of serious photographers in mind.
  • the build quality is good – for a Lomo camera – it’s not a Leica for sure, but it worked out of the box, and looks like its going to withstand the test of time in the hands of a moderately careful user.
  • the Fujifilm “Square” prints are much larger than the “Minis” (which are credit-card size), but they’re still significantly smaller than the Polaroid SX700/600 format. The Impossible Project and Polaroid have a clear advantage here.
  • I need to test the camera in different situations (in particular taking pictures of people with and without a flash – which seems to be the typical use of an instant film camera) – but what I’ve seen in admittedly difficult conditions shows potential – it’s hundreds time better than the combination of a Holga 120 and a Lomo Instax Mini back.
Lomo’instant square in its box – it’s available in three colors. As you can see, this one is white. The camera comes without the film, and more surprising, without batteries.
the camera, a manual, a box of accessories, a box of sample pictures, and a filter. The remote control is stored in the base plate of the camera (you have to buy the batteries of the remote separately)
Lomo’Instant Square – folded – the lens (93mm, F/10) is protected by plastic curtains. They retract when you unfold the camera.
The Lomo has two strap lugs, but the strap does not come with the camera (it’s $9.90 extra if you want it)
The commands at the back – flash off, multi-exposure, exposure correction, mode Normal or pause B, timer. The film door can be replaced by a door designed for the Instax Mini film (a $59.00 extra – you start seeing a theme here? )
The shutter release button is the square (of course) Lomo logo on the front.
It’s a folding.The lens (with glass elements) can be set in 3 positions: 0.8m, 1 to 2.40m (the default position), and the infinite.
Lomo ‘instant Square internals – the Fujifilm Instax Square has a sensitivity of 800 ISO
Jules – my first picture with the Lomo Instant Square  (scanned on multi-function printer) – real size: 6cm x 6cm image, on a 8.5cm x 7cm print.

When I took this picture, it was already getting dark in the house, and Jules was somehow back-lit. With a lens opening at F/10 and a 800 ISO film, I was clearing flirting with the limits. The camera did well considering  the circumstances. The picture is too dense (under-exposed), and the color balance is blue-ish, but the result is encouraging – the lens shows potential, and it’s my first Lomo camera that produces decent results out of the box without requiring some form of surgery.

The picture in the center is one of the examples provided with the camera – it shows the relative size of the Instant Square picture compared to the Instax Mini. Left – a picture taken with the Square (default exposure); right a picture taken with the exposure on “-“. On the Lomo, “+” over exposes, and “-” under exposes.
The Instax Square picture is much smaller than the Impossible Project’s SX70 film. The Lomo seems to under-expose, but the picture has much more contrast than the first iteration of the Impossible Project’s film (picture on the right was shot in 2010, with a Polaroid SX70 camera)
When comparing the quality of pictures, all things are relative. After I was finished shooting pictures of the Lomo, I took a picture of Jules at the same place, but this time with a Nikon D700 and its Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 lens (1600 ISO, f/4, 1/60 sec, cropped and adjusted to taste in Lightroom).

A few links

Lomo’s official site

My previous experiences with instant film:

Fujifilm and the instant film bonanza

The Impossible Project’s PX100 – the ultimate “low-fidelity” film ?