The Lomo’Instant Automat Is Too Much Fun To Pass Up


Instant film has long been beloved by photographers and average Joes for a reason, you get instant results and can share them with others within minutes of taking a shot. And that is why you need a Lomo’Instant Automat, it’s just too much fun to pass up! Read on to find out why from Lomographer alienmeatsack.

When Fujifilm first released their Instax series of cameras, the Mini format and limited set of features/ functionality in the cameras was a hindrance but people loved it just the same. At this time, Lomography had not entered into the Instax game with their own full camera, just backs for other cameras. Somehow, I knew that Lomography was going to get in on this new world of instant photography, I just had to wait. Patiently, we waited.

Then as time passed, FujiFilm upped their game with the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic. It was sexy, fun to use, offered way more power than the simple cameras that had preceded it. But, Lomography had something to say about that, and released their first in a series of their own Instax cameras, the Lomo'Instant. It was of course an instant hit with the Lomography crowd. Being their first foray into a full instant camera world, they put their heart and soul into it. But Lomography was not content with just setting the bar, they upped it when they released the Lomo'Instant Automat, a follow-up to their highly successful Lomo'Instant Wide. The Automat used the fun and affordable Instax Mini film, just like the previous Lomo’Instant did, only this time, the camera did so much more.

I joined in the Kickstarter campaign when it was announced and awaited my Automat's arrival with baited breath. When mine arrived, I was not sure what to expect. I had been using the Neo 90 for a while, loved it, but didn't truly deeply love it. Then I opened the box, took it out and started using my Lomo'Instant Automat. And that was when I knew Lomography had just laid down their cards and put out one heck of an Instax Mini camera. I was in love, and have been ever since.

So, after having run some packs of film, 6-8 to be exact, through it in light, dark, sunny and otherwise lit scenery, I offer up a few tips and hints to get the best experience out of your Automat.

1. Remember that Instax Mini film is ISO 800. So, you are working with a faster film in sunny environments. Keep this in mind as the sunnier shots will end up blown out if you don't watch where you aim the camera. I suggest keeping the sun directly out of the shots unless you intend on blowing out the shot a little (or a lot). The Automat has two apertures, f/8 and f/22. Which means in bright sun, the shutter speed should technically be 1/800th of a second for proper exposure at f/16, but its shutter only goes to 1/250th. Remember this and control your shots while the sunny f/16 rule floats in your head. And do yourself a favor and pick up a 43mm threaded ND filter that's 1-2x stops of filtering. It will come in handy on a sunny day, trust me on this.

Over Exposed due to the brightness of the sun without a filter
A 2 Stop ND filter, and a shot directly into the sun both without and with the ND filter

2. Use that remote-control lens cap! It's brilliant, easy to use, and its right there on the camera, so using it is just like putting on gloves. You do it because it’s what you do when you have a remote to control your camera. The lens cap offers standard shooting as well as bulb mode shooting, so you can put your camera on a tripod and do longer exposures without moving the camera, or snap a selfie further away. The camera even fits into most selfie-sticks so you can take photos further away using the lens cap remote control!

3. Turn off the flash if it's sunny outside. Unless you need a fill light when shooting in the sun, the flash does little for you and uses battery. Keeping it off means more shots and less flash glare. If you want fill light carry a small reflector with you, they are cheap and can fold up and fit into a camera bag or even your pocket. You don't need much, a silver or gold reflector and aim its light. Even a piece of white paper will do the trick in a pinch.

4. Learn the viewfinder. Note that little extra line in the viewfinder to the left and keep in mind it is for framing images shot at the closest focus zone. Remember that when shooting up close and ignore it when shooting groups or infinity. And when shooting anything else, remember that the VF IS your shot and to try to lineup your shots using it fully.

5. Focus isn't everything. Between the varied apertures and the nature of Lomography cameras, sometimes being a little out of focus is just what you want in a shot. The 3 zones offered are just a guide, let your shots be the definition of what zone works best for you. Don't be afraid to set it to the closest setting and get right into the subject be it a tree or someone's face. You will be rewarded for your experimentation. And if you aren't happy with the results, make a change and try again. You'll get to see the results in a few minutes and can correct easily from there. Same goes with the infinity focus setting, don't be afraid to use it or use the group setting for an infinity distance shot if the subject is partly in the zone.

6. In darker shots or shots with more dark then light, use the exposure control and add a stop of light to your shots. The flash just blows out closer images, but by adding a stop of light, you get a little brighter image. And since the cameras sensor is going to average the dark vs the light, you may end up with a dark shot when you meant for a light one.

7. Keep your eye on the super handy LED film counter on the side. It will remind you how many shots are left so you don't end up taking a brilliant photo onto nothing. The inclusion of this simple and yet useful feature is one of the many reasons that the Lomo'Instant Automat should be part of your collection.

8. Stock up on Instax Mini color and Monochrome film, you are going to use a lot of it with this camera. And you will do so willingly because every shot that comes out is a piece of art. The camera guarantees that you will get a good shot with its sensor and ease of use.

9. Keep your fingers clear of the sensors on the front when pressing the shutter button. Even slightly shading them can cause the camera to misjudge the light around it and under or over expose a shot. It's easy to put your hand there when aiming the camera, so be mindful of this.

10. Don't follow any of my rules because Lomography is all about tossing the rules out the window. And the Automat does the work for you, so let go and shoot and look at what you get afterwards.

And finally, use that MX Switch. When pressed, you can snap away until you've either blown out your shots or created a masterpiece and to finish, just hit the MX switch again and out pops your magical works.

Everyone has their own style; this camera offers just the right amount of convenience and functionality to let your style shine through. So, let it. Don't fight it, it wants to help you take the best photos you can. And the simplicity it brings affords you the experience of thinking less and shooting more. 

I am quite impressed with the Automat, it's beautiful, very designed, has features that rival competitor’s cameras, and it has that signature Lomographic feel to every shot. And that is why this is an Instax camera you should have in your collection. It makes taking instant photos fun, and makes it so simple that anyone could do it. And the pros, well, they will love it too because it lets them get more technical and play around. If this were baseball, I'd call the Lomo'Instant Automat a home run where the ball hits the lights and they explode in a glorious display. And the shots you take will reflect that as well.

But don't take my word for it, pick one up for yourself and see why everyone is loving the Automat. It's the new standard for Instax cameras and puts most of the others to shame.

Having some fun with the Lomo’Instant Automat.

We are positively sure that you want a Lomo'Instant Automat of your own, get it in the Lomography Online Shop. Don't forget the film!

written by alienmeatsack on 2017-03-06 #gear #culture #people #tutorials #fun #instant #instax #camera #mini #iso-800 #lomography #fujifilm #automat #nd-filter #kickstarter #lomoinstant #lomo-instant


  1. argentic-translation
    argentic-translation ·

    Thanks @alienmeatsack :D

  2. schugger
    schugger ·

    ...hmmmm...I didn't want the Automat 5 mins

  3. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @argentic-translation I hope you and all enjoy the piece as much as I did shooting for it and writing it! It literally got me off my butt and out shooting! :D

  4. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @schugger It is hands down my favorite Instax Mini camera now and I own the original Lomo'Instant, the Fuji Neo Classic, the Polaroid PIC-300 and a Fuji 7. The others are now going to just gather dust. :D

  5. schugger
    schugger ·

    @alienmeatsack you are an addict anway ;-) I must admit, always find the Mini Format kinda too small...and in contrast to you I love the unpredictable results of impossible film a lot...and I own the original Lomo'Instant. Well, I have to think about buying the many cameras...

  6. frankcamera
    frankcamera ·

    great article! love the B&W close up

  7. rapa93
    rapa93 ·

    @alienmeatsack This article helped me a lot and confirmed my idea that an ND filter could be very helpful in some occasion! May I ask you a suggestion about which one choose/buy for a Lomo'Istant Automat?
    Thank you so much!

  8. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @schugger Me, an addict? Nooo. All those cameras in my office, all that film in the fridge, thats just for show. And the huge collection of Instax film I have, thats just in my head :D :p

  9. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @rapa93 You are correct, an ND or Polarizing filter will be very useful if you shoot in bright sun with your Automat. I suggest you get something 1-2 stops at most unless you intended on doing something with moving water or similar. Anything stronger will tend to under expose the images, even with the camera set to +1 on exposure. As far as brand goes, honestly, any brand is good as long as it fits. Buy what fits your style. If you tend to break, drop, scratch or lose filters, get a cheaper one. If you want a nicer quality one, try Hoya, B+W (what I use mostly) or Tiffan. You get a little thicker lens, a little less scratch prone. And they dont break the bank, cost wise.

    I think a 1 stop is about perfect for most shots if you look at how exposed sun photos are but I like the 2 stop myself, seen above, it gives me a little extra filtering on bright days.

  10. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @frankcamera Thanks! I used the Lomography Closeup lens for those. However, if you look up at the Quince bush flowers shots, I used a set of my Holga Close up Filters for those. It's quite a different look. I think they both have a unique Lomographic vibe to them, but if I was going to pick one I'd go with the Accessories lens kit for the camera since they screw on so no losing them. The hardest part is the closeup, since it is 10cm/about 4" and it's hard to aim that since the viewfinder is almost useless. You have to sort of eyeball it using the lens itself to aim. The results are very nice as a result, especially since the depth of field is shallow so you never know what is going to be in focus.

  11. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    A few other tricks not included in the article. Want to do super long exposures beyond the 15 seconds Bulb mode gives you? Just turn on the MX mode and put the camera on a tripod or somewhere steady and do several shots over the top of each other. If you have a steady subject, you'll get some really great results with 2-3 or so runs, then hit the MX switch again and out pops your masterpiece.

    Another MX trick, if you are shooting in MX mode, you can turn off the camera and it will just shut down, leaving your partly exposed shot ready as the next one when you turn it on again. So you can carry it around and do MX shots in two locations or change positions without worry. I've even left MX shots like this overnight in the camera and shot the next day forgetting I had shot on that frame before. It doesnt spit out an image until you shoot the next time. And, you can do the above trick and turn back on MX and keep adding layers if you wish as well. This works great with the Splitzer. Just make notes of what openings and shots you've done and you could technically shoot an image that is all slices all the way around.

    And dont be afraid to use the MX mode to do multi-click shots, slap on a ND filter and hit -1 on the exposure and click away in MX mode in the sun, or leave the ND filter off and leave exposure normal for night shots.

    Tons of possibilities!

  12. schugger
    schugger ·

    @alienmeatsack *bwahahahaaaa*... not an addict....only for show....yeah, I almost belove that....;-)

  13. alienmeatsack
    alienmeatsack ·

    @schugger You're talking to the guy who shot 12-13 packs of film for a single article just because its so much fun. :D Of course Im an addict, duh. I have 70+ cameras, a fridge and freezer full of film, a huge stash of Instax to use when its expired, and I do it all because I love how it makes me feel. And sharing what I love with you guys is like handing the keys to my heart to each of you.

  14. kc3po311
    kc3po311 ·

    I just got a limo instant and I'm hoping I got a bad case of film, I've shot 7/10 in it and all came out black! I really am hoping I git a bad batch of film not camera. Luckily both purchases were from here so I'm sure they will make whichever is bad right!

  15. katphip
    katphip ·

    @kc3po311 it's best to write a note to and our lovely customer service team can assist you! :)

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