instantphoto.eu              Manual Lomo Instant Wide with interchangeable lenses or Lomo UniveralStax

The Lomo'Instant Wide camera 
partially fills a gap that Fuji didn't want close. Fuji makes wonderful instant film that could be professionally used, but only makes crappy cameras with very limited specifications. It has many features that Instax cameras do not have, a page for this camera is here.

The body of this camera is very compact, the ejection is quiet and reliable, much better than the manual Lomo Belair Instant back with its handle. As there are no professional motorized Instant Wide backs available (several projects have failed), I tried to make a full manual camera out of a
Lomo'Instant Wide camera. The first version had a fixed lens and it's here, with a step to step description of my project.

As the project took a while, there were in the meantime Fuji Instax 300 cameras from other tinkerers available, which were able to take a variety of the wonderful Mamiya Universal/Press lenses. I bought one and I loved it immediately. You can see it here. These Fuji cameras did not have automatic full cycle ejection, so I thought it would be a good idea to modify my Lomo, which has an automatic ejection cycle, to take the Mamiya lenses. I have no idea of 3D printing and my DIY capabilities are limited. So a talented friend, who can do both, made it for me.

This is what it looks like:


Back. Hasn't changed.

With the 65mm lens. A good and small street couple. 950 gr. only.

Seen from the bottom. Tripod socket.

Seen from the top. Ejection slot.

The lenses tested. The 75mm and the 250mm did not fit. Nor did a newer black 100mm, but an older silver 100mm did fit to the camera later, it's not pictured but similar to the 90mm.

With 50mm lens. 1220 gr. A good combination if you love very wide angles.

With the old 90mm. 1010gr,

With the standard 100mm. 1130gr.

With the 127mm. 1100 gr.

With the 150mm. 1150 gr.

Some pictures taken with this camera on an extremely sunny day, aperture an speed are noted on the margins. View from my atelier over the roofs of Cologne. Taken on 9 years expired from 2011. The film is quite usable still:

The 50mm lens.

The 65mm lens.

The 90mm lens. This is a very old battered lens from the 60s.

The 100mm, older version. Sunny weather with a bit of haze in the air. The newer black 100mm version did not fit, as did not the 75mm and the 250mm.

The 127mm. The lens is too long for the body.

The 150mm. This lens is too long as well.

Handling is not as easy as an ordinary Instax camera, it's a full mechanical camera (don't complain, you wanted one). So you have to measure the light, set speed, aperture and focus, cock the shutter and release it. Ejection is via the old shutter button on the body. It's one push and a cycle. You just light the camera, push the button and the photo will be ejected. To save battery power, cut the charging of the flash via the flash button. Don't forget to switch off after ejecting. A big advantage to other solutions is the counter for the photos that are taken. You even have the battery charge indicator left. Handling is just as easy as any other mechanical camera with the big difference that you can have immediate results.

If you want to change lenses, you will have to do this in absolute darkness or, much easier, in a changing bag. There is no dark slide to protect the film. But changing lenses is easy and a big advantage of this camera. The Mamiya lenses are superb. So I am very happy with this camera.

Comparison with the Fuji UniveralStax:

The bodies have similar volume, but the style is quite different.

Seen from top.

The grip of the Fuji contains the batteries, si it is quite bulky.

Back to back.

So which one is to prefer? It depends on what you need. The Lomo was built a a wider angle camera. It can't use lenses longer than 110mm. It has an automatic ejection cycle, a counter, a battery indicator and it can be switched off. It has a sober design. The viewer is bigger and shows a much wider angle.

The Fuji has no counter and can't be switched off, so don't touch the button by accident. But some have an ejection cycle now, so check if you want one. It can use the whole choice of Mamiya lenses (with some limits). The finder is tiny. It has no battery indication. It has a bulkier design. And it's much easier to find readily made. You can also buy a Fuji Instax Wide 300 and the 3D-printed part. There are instructions how to transform on the web.