I was lucky to receive one to test out, and compare with the other Lomo’Instants I own – the classic Lomo’Instant (straight from the extremely successful kickstarter campaign!) and the Lomo’Instant Wide.
About the same time as the Lomo’Instant Automat came out, so did the Fuji Intax Mini Monochrome film. So, of course, I had to try them out together. Here are a few Monochrome shots I took with the Automat.
I have not tried the Monochrome Instax in the original Lomo’Instant, so I cannot compare these images to anything, but I thought they came out amazingly! The images are crisp and highly contrasted, I was very impressed with this film… Now I just wish Fuji would make an Instax Wide Monochrome!
Alright, now let’s talk about the Automat. The key is the name is “auto” – this instant camera from Lomography is designed to be more automatic, more user friendly, and to produce good images, time after time with no fuss. That last part is what most impressed me so far. I have not missed or ruined a picture with this camera as of yet! Compared to the original Lomo’instant, with which I have had over 15+ pictures out of maybe 100 that have not worked, so this is a huge advantage for the Automat.
Another great thing about the Automat is the size! It’s smaller than the Lomo’Instant by about an inch on the sides which makes it a lot more vacation and adventure friendly.
You still get all the fun options you had in a Lomo’Instant; multiple exposures, long exposures, and coloured filters for the flash, plus you get the remote lens cap that was developed for the Lomo’Instant Wide. Fun fact, the remote for the wide and the automat do not take the same batteries, weird. Oh, and speaking of batteries, the automat takes CR2 (?!?) batteries, which were really hard to find and quite expensive! Check out your local photography shop or browse the inter-webs to find some.
The only disadvantages I have noticed so far are more about the design of the camera body, and not it’s performance. The first one is that there is no image counter on the camera, so you have no idea how many pictures are left in your film (unless you keep track and count how many you have taken, but I have a tendency to give photos away to people, because that’s half the fun of instants, so I can never keep track).
The second thing that started to become a disadvantage as I continued using the camera is that the mirror on the camera is now your shutter button. At first I didn’t see how this would affect anything, but a few pictures in, and also a few drinks, I managed to click on the mirror while grabbing the camera from my friends’ hands and caught a great picture of my under arm and chin. (Fun fact, even that picture was well developed!) Basically the shutter button is way to sensitive and in the middle of the body, a button on top like a regular camera would have maybe been a better idea. Also, fingerprints in the mirror!?!!
And finally, the last thing that is a slight annoyance to me is that there is no on/off button, instead the off option is on the lens itself, but you have to push down a button on the side of the camera to lock the lens on “off”. Here’s an image of what I mean;
This is not a big deal, but sometimes (ok, all of the times) I have too many things in my hands and to turn the camera on I basically need two hands, and it’s just a little bit of a pain when you really want to take a quick picture of something that is happening right there, right now, and you need to scramble to get it on. A simple on/off switch would have fine.
In conclusion, the Lomo’Instant Automat is a great upgrade from the original Lomo’Instant camera. If you do not already have one, I definitely suggest you go straight for the Automat and skip out on the original camera, even if it is a bit pricer. It will definitely be worth it when you do not mess up the exposures of your photos!
There is less (if not none!) of a learning curve to the Automat than with the original camera, so this makes it perfect for beginner lomographers as well as any one looking for an instant camera to bring with them anywhere to capture moments without the stress of learning how to use a new tool.