Lomography Lomo'Instant Wide Review
Pros: Great photo quality, multiple lenses, multitude of features and creative settings, large photo size
Cons: Big and bulky, expensive, overexposure in bright sun
Compare to Similar Products
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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