Art of Gear Addiction: Fuji Mini 90, I mean, Leica Sofort

They always say “don’t judge a book by its cover” or “don’t let the look fool you.” Let it. Let that plastic beauty of a block hang around your neck. Have your pick from an array of stylish colors accented by a strip of leather cladding and show off the glorious red dot logo as you casually strut around town. Stop and pose with it, and look amazing. After all, nothing matters one bit unless you look cool, right? With the Leica Sofort, you are a superstar.

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Ready to fire.

Forget the fact that it’s a Fuji Mini 90 and that it’s completely limited by the Fuji Instax Mini format instant film. So what if it has a plastic toy lens that is so poverty it doesn’t matter if you focus or not. The credit card sized instant film doesn’t care, and the camera prints out physical images right where you stand. Magic! Hand them out, share them and just simply enjoy instant film as it was meant to be:

Childish fun.

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Sofort ergonomics default in a landscape design. The Fuji Mini 70 is setup vertically for portraits.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Fuji Mini’s are generally marketed for young girls to have a fun time and share physical photos with each other. They make scrapbooks and collages and that sort of thing with Instax and then sparkle glitter on the end product and giggle. All at a huge cost to their parents who thought it was going to be fun for their girls, then realized they made a huge mistake because feeding these little monsters is very costly over time. They then sigh of relief when their girls are bored of using the Fuji after two months.

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I believe this is what your supposed to do with these photos. Quality is a bit potato, but hey, what do you expect from instant film this small?

It’s now my turn to be a little girl and have fun, but with style this time. This time, even though I’m using the same camera, it’s a LEICA. Because I’m “baller” compared to a teen. That’s the term, right? I can buy “baller” adult things, like beer and cigarettes. I can even afford to load the more expensive Leica-branded Fuji Instax Mini instant film and shoot even “better” photos that are the same quality. The high roller life.

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Designed by Leica Camera Germany. Justification at its finest. Rear LCD screen displays your settings. Battery door reveals a rechargeable Fuji battery when opened.

I do find it hilarious that when you tear open the Leica instant film packs, it clearly says “Fujifilm” on the disposable plastic film housing. But there is a bit of a difference in the color rendering. Leica must have specified a certain color science to Fujifilm for production, because it does render warmer. Also, the flash on Leica Sofort has a warmer, more yellow-tinted lens mounted. So there’s that too, I guess.

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You can turn the “focusing ring” on the lens to select one of the 3 focusing zones.

Outside of that, everything is just Fuji. Even the OEM battery included is labeled Fuji. Not even worthy of a red dot sticker on top, sad. Someone like me has to admit: this is a purely G.A.S. driven purchase. I even already have a Fuji Mini at home (my wife’s) but I find that thing poverty and unworthy of being used. Instead, I have a fancy Sofort! A Leica that you can buy brand new for under $300! So let the GAS take over, add it to cart and check out.

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My entire setup: Gordy’s wrist strap and the OEM leather case.

In a nutshell, this Leica Sofort is like… cosplay

Yeah, the costume looks great and even the accessories are functional, but in the end it’s all just for show. Fortunately, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that for your inner teenager. Go and have your fun. That is what photography is all about: Having fun and feeling great… and looking cool.

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Watch your hands when the camera is dispensing film.

Art of Gear Addiction is a series of whimsical opinion articles written on the subject matter of Leica gear ownership by Chris C., a friend and contributor to Cosmotographer.

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