instantphoto.eu              Lomo'Instant Automat

The Lomo'instant Automat is a more advanced camera for Fuji Instax Mini film. It was a Kickstarter project. Launched in 2016 it was easily financed and, as all Lomo campaigns, quickly delivered. There is a wide range of accessories, including some lenses. Obviously they took their Lomo'Instant from 2014 and the exposure system from the Lomo'Instant Wide to combine these features. Let's have a look at the camera specs.

Technical Specifications:

Film Format: Fujifilm Instax Mini Film
Exposure Area: 62mm x 46mm
Lens Focal Length: 60mm (35mm equiv.)
Aperture: F 8, F 22, (+1 -1)
Shutter Speed: Bulb Mode,  8s - 1/250s
Film Ejection Automatic
Multiple Exposures: Unlimited
Flash: guide No.: 9
Tripod Mount: Yes
Film Counter: LED
Flash automatic or manual
Remote Control Range: In sunshine: 1-2m, Indoors: 5m
Battery Supply 2x CR2
Remote Control Battery Supply: 1 x 1632 battery (3V)
Filter Thread: 43mm
Size: 11.4 x 8.9 x 6.4 cm
Weight: 354 gr.

Some pictures of the camera:

The box.

Box open.

What's in the box: Camera, instructions and 2 small boxes.

One little box contains the cap, which is a remote control, and some picture frames. The other contains only picture cards.

The camera front with cap and a pack of colour filters for the flash.

Cap off. Camera front.
I tend to use these cameras in landscape mode, as on the photo. But let's use the indications for the "normal" mode, which is portrait mode for Instax Mini Film. Finder on top left edge, selfie mirror, which is the shutter button as well. Lens, flash and sensors. There are colour filters for the flash (guide number 9). The lens is a wide lens, 35mm equivalent. Under the lens, to the left: lens closure lock, has to be pressed if you want to move the lens into "off" position.

The left and the right side only have a strap lug.

Camera bottom. Tripod socket.

Camera top: ejection slot. 10 LED as a film counter. Around the lens barrel 4 positions: off and 3 focus settings: 2m to infinity, 1 to 2m, 0.6m.

Back. Tiny viewer window. Remote sensor. Control panel: Flash on/off, multi exposure, lighten/darken and automatic shutter/B.
Battery compartment, takes 2 CR2 batteries.
Film presence window and back opening lever.

Film Compartment.

The South Beach model. Front...

...and Back

Lomo'Instant and Lomo'Instant Automat.

The Lomo'Instant is longer Lomo'Instant Automat..

...but it less deep (or thick).

If you unpack the camera, there are a few things which are annoying. It begins with the batteries. There are no batteries in the package, as usual nowadays. But CR2 batteries are not common, even if you have a spare one from your 80s mini cameras, it's not enough, you need 2 of them. You can easily find them online for reasonable prices, but if you ask a local photo dealer, they are expensive. Same thing for the remote control: CR1632 batteries are not common at all, a CR2025 (as in their Wide model's remote) would have been better, or 2 common LR types. The next thing: switching the camera on and off. You can turn the lens barrel to one of the distance settings which switches the camera on, but to switch it off, you have to turn it back and press a button at the same time. That's a little bit awkward. Speaking of awkward: using the selfie mirror as a shutter button is really strange. You usually try to keep the mirror clean, but on this camera  you have to press it with your (sticky) finger.

The Lomo'instant Automat is a lightweight camera, easy to handle. It has an only automatic shutter (with a wide range of speeds) or B setting, and it has only 2 apertures that you can't choose. The fisheye lens is only a gadget, the real image is ways too small. Multiple exposure is easy. The picture results are fine on bright days, there is quite some vignetting, as on other wide angle cameras. The flash is too weak. It only lights subjects within a 2m range. So for the very close wide angle portraits, often shown, it's fine, but it won't light a normal interior photo. On dull days, pictures are much too dark, even with +1 compensation. The finder on mine is a little bit off.

I got my camera new from a camera dealer for half the price, so i'm OK with it. But picture results are ways behind the Fuji cameras. For the price of this camera you get the Fuji Instax Neo 90 which is much better. Look at the picture results in the Fuji camera section.

Some gereral words about Lomography and their service: There is a 2-year warranty, at least in Europe. My personal experience with their service is very good. As most of their cameras are made of (cheap) plastic, there is no repair, they just exchange your defective camera. You have to send it in to their Vienna office at your expenses, which is not cheap if you are not based in Austria, but they try to compensate by adding film or so to the return. You absolutely need a proof of purchase, there was heavy abuse by fraudulent customers they told me. So if you buy second hand or your camera is gift, be sure to put your hands on the proof of purchase. After  the 2-years warranty period it's over. They will try to help for the expensive not-so-plastic cameras like the LC series, but for the rest there is no repair. Keep this in mind for the prices you pay for older gear.

Some photos taken with this camera. Scan 400 DPI with no post-treatment. The settings - if any -  are noted on the rim of the photo.

To be fair: the pictures shown here are more than life size. If you hold them in your hand and look at them, they seem sharper. So one about life size first:

About life size.

Cologne center, Rothgerberbach (main threspassing road). Dull day with heavy clouds, so +1 setting. Quite OK as result. Its a wide angle, 35mm equivalent. Some vignetting towards the right side, i.e. the bottom of the photo.

Same picture on a nearly sunny day. Some flare to the left from the sun hitting the edge of the lens. A lens shade would avoid this,

Cologne center, Großer Griechenmarkt, Same dull day as the first, so +1. Just OK, +2 would be better.

Cologne, Neumarkt (new market). A 3-ton Claes Oldenburg sculpture on the edge of the building. Vignetting disappears at the bottom. Nice result.

Shop front. Quite some distortion from the lens.

Same distortion, quite visible. The finder is a bit off at the top, the top of the building was well visible in the finder.

The picture results are OK, no fuzz about apertures as it's automatic. But you have to correct exposure on dull or bright days, the system is not capable to do this itself. So on bright or dull days you lack a further correction setting. The lens vignettes a bit towards the bottom. The distortion is strange and unacceptable in my opinion. I bought a second camera to see whether I had a faulty camera, but no, it has the same distortion. The lens of the older and much cheaper Lomo'Instant is better concerning this, it has neither vignetting nor distorsion. Inside photos are difficult, the flash is too weak and photos without flash are too dark, inspite of automatic exposure and even +1 correction. This is a
non-experimental, automatic camera. Picture results are ways behind the Fuji cameras. As said above: For the price of this camera you can easily get the Fuji Instax Neo 90 which is much better. Look at the results in the Fuji camera section.