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Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide Review

A creative powerhouse that is overly complicated if you just want point and shoot functionality
Top Pick Award
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Price:   $200 List | $89 at Amazon
Pros:  Great photo quality, multiple lenses, multitude of features and creative settings, large photo size
Cons:  Big and bulky, expensive, overexposure in bright sun
Manufacturer:   Lomography
By Max Mutter, Steven Tata, and Jenna Ammerman  ⋅  Jun 4, 2019
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68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 7
  • Image Quality - 45% 8
  • User Friendliness - 25% 4
  • Image Settings - 20% 9
  • Film Cost - 10% 4

Our Verdict

Providing more features than almost any other instant camera on the market, the Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide truly lets you experiment with the medium. If your main goal in using an instant camera is to elicit more creativity by ditching all of the post-processing opportunities of the digital realm, this is definitely the camera for you. This camera offers an Auto, Bulb, and 1/30s fixed shutter speed mode with an exposure compensation switch and a flash off button. The addition of a few interchangeable lenses and a lens splitter, three zone focusing settings, color flash filters, and, probably most importantly, the ability to take both multiple and long exposures, opens this camera up for more opportunities for creative expression than its competitors. All of that functionality is backed up with great image quality that is only bested by the much more spartan Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. This does come at a price, however, as both the Lomo'Instant Wide and its film cost a bit more than average. However, we feel that extra cost is well worth it if you're looking for an instant camera that can keep up with your desire to experiment with light.


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Pros Great photo quality, multiple lenses, multitude of features and creative settings, large photo sizeExcellent photo quality, brightness control adjust well to lighting conditions, user-friendlyGood photo quality, nice group of creative image modes, classic aestheiticsGood photo quality, nice selection of image and creative settings, both camera and photo size a nice middle groundGood photos in indoor/low-light situations, both camera and film relatively inexpensive, multiple exposure settings, small and durable
Cons Big and bulky, expensive, overexposure in bright sunQuite large, limited image settings, somewhat expensive filmRelatively expensive given the smaller film format, poor bright and backlit photo performancePoor performance in outdoor lighting conditions, lack of long exposure abilityTends to overexpose when used in bright sun, smaller photo size, limited image settings
Bottom Line A creative powerhouse that is overly complicated if you just want point and shoot functionalityThe most consistent and highest quality model we've tested, but lacks some adjustabilityThe most creative option for the smaller film formatOffers more opportunities than models that shoot mini film, but not nearly as bulky as those that shoot wide filmA great balance of price and performance that will please most users
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Rating Categories Lomography... Fujifilm Instax... Instax Mini 90 Neo... Fujifilm Instax... FujiFilm Instax...
Image Quality (45%)
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User Friendliness (25%)
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Image Settings (20%)
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Specs Lomography... Fujifilm Instax... Instax Mini 90 Neo... Fujifilm Instax... FujiFilm Instax...
Dimensions 7.5" x 3.75" x 4.75" 6.6" x 3.7" x 4.8" 4.5" x 3.6" x 2.2" 4.7" x 5.0" x 2.3" 4.6" x 4.7" x 2.7"
Weight 784 g 612 g 296 g 393 g 307 g
Picture Size 2.4" x 3.9" 2.4" x 3.9" 2.4" x 1.8" 2.4" x 2.4" 2.4" x 1.8"
Image Settings 2 exposure settings, wide lens, macro lens, lens splitter, color flash filters, nultiple exposures, bulb mode, flash on/off, remote shutter control, can connect external flash 2 exposure settings, 2 focal length settings, force flash on 2 exposure settings, double exposure, bulb, party, macro, kids, self timer, flash on/off 2 exposure settings, landscape, macro, selfie mode, double exposure, color flash filters 4 exposure settings, Hi-Key
Focus Distances 0.6 m / 1-2 m / infinite 0.9 m - 3 m / 3 m - infinity 0.3 m - 0.6 m / 0.6 m - 3 m / 3 m - infinity 0.3 m - 0.5 m / 0.5 m - 2 m / 2 m - infinity 0.6 m - infinity
Focal Length 90 mm (35 mm equivalent) 95 mm 60 mm 65.75 mm 60 mm
Aperture f/8, f/22 f/14 f/12.7 f/12.6 f/12.7
Cost per photo $1.25 $1.25 $0.58 $1.05 $0.58

Our Analysis and Test Results

Experienced photographers will love the Lomo'Instant Wide's extra features, making it the best camera for those that want to take interesting, quirky photos.


Performance Comparison


The Lomo'Instant Wide earned one of the highest overall scores when all of our tests were said and done, making it one of our favorite instant cameras.


Image Quality


The Lomo'Instant Wide's image quality is just short of field leading, falling behind only the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 in our tests.


Generally, the Lomo'Instant Wide's photos have rich colors, solid clarity, and good overall composition. Colors tend to get better separation and become noticeably more vibrant when taking photos inside using a flash.


You only really notice shortcomings in the Lomo'Instant Wide's photo quality when comparing it side-by-side with that of the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. In that situation you'll see that the Lomo'Instant Wide's photos have a softer, less defined look due to a relative lack of clarity and color separation. However, many people think this look has more of that instant film patina and actually prefer it to the clearer look of the Fujifilm's photos.


Like pretty much all instant cameras, the Lomo'Instant Wide struggles a bit in outdoor, bright light situations. In those conditions white areas of the image tend to become quite overexposed, sometimes leading to a kind of lens flare on the image. The Lomo'Instant Wide actually performs a bit better in these lighting conditions than many other cameras, but if you're mostly looking to take photos on bright days of brighter colors, we would suggest looking at the Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 instead.


This camera uses Instax wide film, resulting in an image that is 2.4" x 3.9". This is twice the size of the mini Instax film used by our Best Buy Award winner, the FujiFilm Instax Mini 9.

User Friendliness


The Lomo'Instant Wide earned the lowest overall score in our user friendliness testing, largely because its multitude of creative options can create a slightly confusing and less intuitive experience for more casual users.


Those who really want to nerd out and push the instant film format to its creative limits are going to love all the different options, and settings offered by the Lomo'Instant Wide. However, for those that just want to document an event with some simple instant film keepsakes, all of those features can become unnecessary roadblocks to getting a good picture. Though the Lomo'Instant Wide does lay out fairly intuitive controls for all of its various settings, we still found that it took some experimenting to get the look we wanted from a photo. There is an auto mode that makes things a bit more simple, but there are still a lot of bells and whistles that may confuse people.

The Lomo'Instant Wide's control panel isn't exactly intuitive.
The Lomo'Instant Wide's control panel isn't exactly intuitive.

Bottom line, this camera isn't a great option for those looking for simple point and shoot functionality, but it certainly rewards those who want to put in the time to get some creative images.

We'd also like to point out that the Lomo'Instant Wide is quite large and bulky, does not come with a carry strap, and has a lot of external accessories. This isn't a camera that you'll just tote around, it requires a bit of forethought if you're going to bring it out on an excursion.

The Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide's plethora of accessories can be a bit intimidating for newcomers.
The Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide's plethora of accessories can be a bit intimidating for newcomers.

Image Settings


If you're going to fall in love with the Lomo'Instant Wide, it will be because of all of its nearly infinite possibilities. Accordingly, it earned the highest score in this metric.


The Lomo'Instant Wide has so many different creative possibilities, that we're just going to go through them one by one and give you an example of each.


Wide and Macro Lenses


This is one of the few cameras that actually provides you with multiple lenses. The wide lens can be set to 3 different focal settings: 0.6 meters (24 inches), 1-2 meters (~3-6 feet) and infinity. The macro lens lets you get just 0.1 meters (4 inches) away from your subject.

Multiple Exposures


If an instant camera offers any sort of multiple exposures, it is generally only a double exposure. The MX mode of the Lomo'Instant Wide lets you take as many as you'd like (though more than 3 tends to get a bit too busy). This feature can easily be used in conjunction with others to get some really interesting results.


Long Exposures


The bulb mode allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you keep your finger on the shutter control, allowing for opportunities like light painting or streaks of cars moving down city streets. Just remember to turn the flash off for this one.


Lens Splitter


There is an included lens splitter that allows you to only expose one area of the film at a time. This lets you get multiple exposures with distinct dividing lines, avoiding that ephemeral, ghostly appearance you get when exposing the entire film multiple times.

This photo utilizes 3 of the Lomo'Instant Wide's image settings: double exposure  color flash filters  and the lens splitter.
This photo utilizes 3 of the Lomo'Instant Wide's image settings: double exposure, color flash filters, and the lens splitter.

Colored Flashes


In the box you get a number of different colored flash gels so you can experiment with different colors of light. This is especially fun to use alongside the multiple exposure feature.

Flash Control


This may seem odd to highlight, but the Lomo'Instant Wide allows you to manually turn the flash on and off, a feature that is absent on many instant cameras.

The lens splitter in action.
The lens splitter in action.

Exposure Compensation


This camera has three different exposure settings: standard, +1, and -1. This lets you adjust the photo to be lighter or darker.

Remote Shutter Control


The lens cover of the Lomo'Instant Wide also functions as a remote shutter button, allowing you to take photos and even use the bulb mode while in front of the camera. There is also a small selfie mirror that can help you frame your shot.

Connect External Flash


For studio fun you can connect an external flash to the camera, and even have it fire in conjunction with the camera's own flash. There is also a mode that locks the shutter speed at 1/30th of a second, which is meant to be ideal for interesting flash work.

Film Cost


The Lomo'Instant Wide uses the same wide Instax film as the Editor's Choice winning Fujifilm Instax Wide 300. It can be bought in a 20 pack for $25, which works out to $1.25 an image. That cost is a bit above average, but that is to be expected as it provides a photo that is twice the size of most other cameras. The monochrome film is only slightly more expensive, generally costing $13 for a 10-pack.


Value


The Lomo'Instant Wide lists for substantially more than most instant cameras. If you're looking to get creative with your shooting, and to spend some time and effort doing so, that extra cost is well worth it. However, if you're just looking to take some simple photos, that extra price will just represent a steeper learning curve you probably don't want to deal with.


Conclusion


The Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide is an excellent choice for photographers who want to spend some extra time getting some really creative shots, but is an overly complex option if you're more of a casual user.


Max Mutter, Steven Tata, and Jenna Ammerman