Reviews You Can Rely On

Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide Review

A beautiful machine that produces stunning wide-format images with a vintage appeal
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Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide Review
Credit: Lomography
Price:  $199 List
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Manufacturer:   Lomography
By Adam Yee ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 24, 2022
80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 13
  • Image Quality - 40% 9.5
  • User Friendliness - 30% 6.1
  • Features - 15% 7.0
  • Battery - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

Despite being more difficult to just pick up and shoot with, the Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide is a great option for more experienced photographers, as it takes beautifully vibrant wide-format images and provides the greatest amount of creative control of all the analog machines we tested. The biggest annoyance of this camera was that the printer was susceptible to jamming, and its large and bulky size made it harder to carry around. That said, the film prints paired with the vast array of creative settings, including long exposures, remote capture, and unlimited multiple exposures, kept us coming back for more. We have repeatedly tested this camera against newer models year after year, and it consistently ends up among the best of the bunch. See it ranked against other top products in our article on the best instant cameras.
REASONS TO BUY
Gorgeous prints
Lots of creative features
Simple user interface
REASONS TO AVOID
Prone to jamming
Expensive
On the heavy side

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Bottom Line Fun high-quality and wide-format photos with old-fashioned appealAn easily transportable hybrid that offers the experience of old with modern updatesA stylish camera that's user-friendly and takes quality photos, making it ideal for sharing with friends to capture the fun at a moment's noticeAn easy-to-operate model with a retro look and a mobile app for added control and creativityA great pick for those who want point and shoot simplicity while maintaining that artsy film vibe
Rating Categories Lomography Lomo'Ins... Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Polaroid Now+ i-Type Fujifilm Instax Min...
Image Quality (40%)
9.5
7.5
7.5
6.5
7.0
User Friendliness (30%)
6.1
8.1
8.2
6.8
7.3
Features (15%)
7.0
9.0
6.6
8.2
6.8
Battery (15%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
6.5
Specs Lomography Lomo'Ins... Fujifilm Instax Min... Fujifilm Instax Squ... Polaroid Now+ i-Type Fujifilm Instax Min...
Film Cost Per Photo (approx) $0.85 $0.50 $0.90 $2.10 $0.85
Film Capacity 10 shots 10 shots 10 shots 8 shots 10 shots
Battery Capacity Claimed: 30 Instax Square 10-pack
Tested: Accurate; the same batteries it came with were used throughout all of testing
Claimed: 40 prints per charge
Tested: About 5 packs or 50 prints; camera lasted a surpisingly long time when it read as "out of battery"
Claimed: 30 film packs
Tested: never had to change batteries
Claimed: 15 packs (or up to 60 days)
Tested: 1 charge lasted throughout testing
Claimed: 100 prints per charge depending on conditions
Tested: Accurate; camera was used in a wide variety of conditions (cold, indoor/outdoor, near a heater), and the charge was never drastically affected.
Power Supply Four size AA 1.5 V alkaline batteries Built-in rechargeable battery (Micro USB) 2 CR2 batteries Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB) Built-in rechargeable battery (micro USB)
Dimensions (as per manufacturer) 167.8 mm x 94.7 mm x 120.9 mm (excluding protrusions) 122 mm x 79 mm x 23 mm 130.7 mm × 118.6 mm × 57.5 mm 150mm ×111.2mm × 94mm 82.5 mm x 122.9 mm x 36.7 mm (excluding protrusions)
Weight (as per manufacturer) 21.6 oz (without battery, strap, film pack, and close up lens) 16 oz 13.8 oz 15.7 oz 8 oz (without fiilm pack and memory card)
Picture Size (as per manufacturer) 99 mm x 62 mm 54mm x 86mm 64mm x 64mm 88.9 mm x 107mm 62 mm x 46 mm
Image Settings Light or dark mode, adjustable focal zoom dial In-camera filters (monochrome, vintage, aqua), an option for prints to be framed, photobooth option which prints 2 photos on the same sheet Autofocus Autofocus Multiple filters (stylish, B/W, sepia, fish eye, vivid), 10 in-camera frames (antlers, color stripe, light bar, wings, speech bubble, photo inside a photo, comic strip, etc.), 30 frame options through the app, ability to put a time stamp on prints
Focus Distances Motor-driven 2-range switching (0.9 m - 3 m / 3m - infinity) Normal Mode (0.9 m - 3 m) Landscape Mode (3m - infinity) Fixed focus Zone focus 0.55m-1.3m, 0.6m-infinity 3.94 in / 10 cm to infinity
Focal Length 95 mm 27 mm 65.75 mm 94.96 - 102.35mm 28 mm (35mm fiilm equivalent)
Aperture f/14 Max f/2.2 f/12.6 f/11 - f/64 f/2
Film or Digital Film Digital Film Film Film prints, digital camera
Film Development Time 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) Automatic digital print 90 seconds (dependent on ambient temperature) 10 to 15 minutes Around 90 seconds to develop, 12 seconds to print

Our Analysis and Test Results

Above all else, what makes the Lomo'Instant Wide a top contender is the pleasing blend of modern instant camera tech with the old-fashioned appeal of its appearance. This camera's gorgeous wide format prints offered the most accurate color depiction and best overall image quality of all the cameras tested. The amount of high-level creative controls was unmatched by any of its contemporary analog counterparts. With the ability to shoot multiple exposures and long exposures — mixed with add-ons like color gel filters, and ultra-wide and close-up lens attachments --the user can get great shots in any scenario and from nearly any distance, allowing them to get as creative as their heart desires.

Performance Comparison


lomography lomo'instant wide - supplying the best image quality in a unique looking package, the...
Supplying the best image quality in a unique looking package, the Lomo'Instant Wide is a fun option for those with a creative knack
Credit: Laura Casner

Image Quality


Earning the top score in our image quality test, the Lomo'Instant Wide produced excellent color accuracy and performed very well in adjusting to different lighting conditions. Despite needing to get the settings just right, this camera displays the full range of colors and produced the most natural and realistically saturated prints of all the cameras in the test group.


The Lomo Wide also displays textures incredibly well and was the only one to accurately capture an image taken involving a mirror, with a clear reflection and no blowout or blurring of the subject. So, for any true film connoisseur or anyone willing to take the time to get familiar with this camera, it's guaranteed to give you some fun and beautiful keepsakes.

lomography lomo'instant wide - the lomo'instant wide's image settings can be intimidating for a...
The Lomo'Instant Wide's image settings can be intimidating for a beginner, but offer the greatest range of creative capabilities of any camera we tested.
Credit: Laura Casner

User Friendliness


Our user friendliness test was one area where the Lomo'Instant Wide did not do well. Despite having relatively simple and intuitive controls, having to constantly unjam the printer was extremely frustrating. Using the close-up lens attachment was another pain point, as even after extensive research and messing with the settings, the prints always came out blurry. Aside from these unfortunate issues, the Lomo Wide is fun and fairly easy to use, with a high level of creative controls conveniently located on the body. It's quite sad that our experience was tainted by the need to spend so much time troubleshooting and yanking out dark slides that were jammed in the print slot.


The continual problems with the film dispenser led to the Lomo'Instant Wide receiving its lowest score of all the metrics, coming in near the bottom of the group. The film dispenser jammed multiple times throughout testing and even five times in one day. There were times when the remainder of the film pack could be saved by removing the jammed dark slide, but some caused the next few shots to be ruined, and others resulted in the entire pack being wasted.

lomography lomo'instant wide - despite our issues with the film, we really enjoyed getting creative...
Despite our issues with the film, we really enjoyed getting creative with this camera.
Credit: Laura Casner

Features


For being a fully analog machine, the Lomo'Instant Wide comes equipped with a variety of features that give the user a high degree of creative opportunities. The controls on the body look minimal, with a few buttons and switches to adjust things like focal range, exposure compensation, brightness, and flash, but they provide a good amount of control over the final output while also keeping the learning curve gentle. The additional add-ons include both close-up and extra wide-angle lenses, color gels, and the ability to shoot long exposures, as well as unlimited multiple exposures. The lens cap also doubles as a remote, allowing you to set a timer or take self-portraits more easily. The aforementioned issues with the print dispenser and the close-up lens held this camera back a bit, but the creative opportunities offered by the Lomo'Instant Wide are about as much as you can get without going digital.


While the Lomo'Instant Wide does allow for a high level of creativity, it's also the heaviest camera that we tested, so it doesn't have the convenience or the added benefits of some of the smaller hybrid models. However, things like digital storage or a review screen would drastically change the experience and defeat the purpose of shooting analog, especially for the purists. When compared to similar models, this Lomography has more features and therefore provides more opportunities to get creative. Even so, the constant trouble with the printer, which is arguably the most important feature of an instant camera, caused it to score on the lower end in this test.

lomography lomo'instant wide - the lomography lomo'instant wide's plethora of accessories can be a...
The Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide's plethora of accessories can be a bit intimidating for newcomers.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Battery


The fact that we never drained or had to replace the batteries in the Lomo'Instant Wide led to another top score for this camera. The same four AA batteries lasted through weeks of testing in all types of conditions, which was impressive because we often took numerous shots using many of the different settings each time we pulled it out. Also, since this camera doesn't automatically shut off when it's not in use, it was surprising that all the time we spent removing jammed slides and troubleshooting didn't drain the batteries more quickly as it did with some of the others.


The peak battery life performance for the Lomo'Instant Wide put it at the top of the pack for this metric. Although we didn't come across anything from the manufacturer stating the number of expected prints per battery cycle, we found a review that said around 40-50, which seems conservative but accurate based on our findings.

lomography lomo'instant wide - the lomo'instant wide had impressive battery life in our rigorous...
The Lomo'Instant Wide had impressive battery life in our rigorous testing, and was the only camera with a remote control shutter release.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


While the Lomo'Instant Wide can produce breath-taking images and enable the user to get as artistic as their creativity allows, it is also quite expensive. For many, the retro design, creative features, and picture quality will be enough to justify the price tag, and if we hadn't had so much trouble with the printing process, we'd completely agree. However, having access to printed photos in seconds is the main draw of instant cameras, and this one struggled to provide that. Also, the fact that this camera uses replaceable batteries, which are not included, means that the cost will continue to grow with its use. One saving grace is that the film for this camera is on the more affordable end, but this too will add up the more you use it.

Conclusion


All in all, the Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide is a beautiful vintage-looking machine that takes incredibly stunning pictures. Even with the printing issues, we found the experience of shooting with this camera enjoyable because of the impressive wide-format images that we came away with. Still, we have to note that every time we've tested this camera we've had issues with the film jamming. We keep hoping that the issue will be properly addressed, but thus far it has not and we will likely remove it from our lineup in a future update because of this. If you can get a fully functional model, we still recommend this camera for creatives, more experienced photographers, and anyone else who wants to have more control of settings but also wants the irreplaceable experience of shooting with film. Just make sure you have a solid return policy before purchasing this, just in case.

lomography lomo'instant wide - here's an example of a film jam we had at the beginning of several...
Here's an example of a film jam we had at the beginning of several packs of film.
Credit: Laura Casner

Adam Yee