Lomo' Instant Square Camera Review

We take a look at this unique, dual-format glass lens instant camera.


|  Lomography Instant Square in Film Compacts
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification



The Lomo' Instant Square is a unique instant camera in that it can use multiple formats of Fuji Instax film by installing a different back. You can use either Instax Square or Instax Mini film with the camera, which features a glass front element for clarity. It's available in black, white and red with silver accents, all with a leather feel coating on the front and back. 

The Instax Square is part of a wider instant camera family from Lomography, including the Instant Automat, and Instant Wide. Here, we take a look at how it performs.

Lomo' Instant Square Features

The Lomo' Instant Square has a unique design - the lens is folded away for transportation and then when you want to use it, you have to pop out the front which turns the camera on. There is a rubber bellows-type structure inside which forms a rudimentary lens barrel.

The lens is a 95mm f/10 (45mm equivalent) and you also have the ability to change the focal distance from infinity down to 0.8m by sliding a switch. There is a viewfinder to the left, and the shutter button is the Lomography logo on the front. There's also a selfie mirror and flash built-in. 


 

On the bottom, you'll find the battery compartment. The camera takes 2x CR 2 batteries. There's also a remote control which slides out for triggering the camera from a distance. It also has a timer mode. 

The top is where the instant photos feed out from and on the back, there's the control panel. Flash and multiple exposure modes can be toggled on and off using a button. Exposure can be adjusted up or down (+/-) and there's also the ability to set bulb mode for long exposures. A 10-second timer mode can also be set up. 

On the right-hand side are a series of dashes which light up to represent how many shots are left in your film pack. As mentioned before, both Instax Square and Instax Mini films can be used. To use Mini film, you need to swap the back door on the camera to the one provided for Mini film (slide down the hinge catch to free it.) Mini film should be placed to the right of the chamber, lining up with the yellow mark on the side. Some practice may be needed with using the viewfinder to get accurate images as it's all geared up for Square exposures.  


 

Also included with the camera is the replacement Mini film door, a self-portrait glass lens add-on and a Splitzer - a device which allows you to block off parts of the image from light for multiple exposures in creative photography.  


 

Key Features

  • Bellows-style retro camera
  • Takes both Instax Square and Instax Mini film 
  • Bulb, multiple exposure modes
  • Timed capture mode 
  • Flash with on/off toggle
  • Portrait lens and splitzer included 
  • Remote control for remote and timed releases included

Lomo' Instant Square Handling

The Instant Square is made from robust feeling plastic covered with a leather feel coating which does give it a luxury edge. The camera is quite chunky even when the lens is folded away. 

To use the camera you need to push the lens forwards until it clicks into position. Care needs to be taken not to trap your fingers, especially when it comes to collapsing the camera away again, as you have to press a metal rod down to allow the mechanism to close. We wouldn't recommend letting kids use the camera for this reason. 

You'll also need to be careful around the rubber sleeve when the lens is unfolded as although the construction looks high quality, it doesn't seem that difficult to accidentally puncture or rip it, leaving the camera unusable. It's definitely a cool and unique, but fiddly design choice by Lomography here. A couple of times we were scratched when not taking care opening and closing it. 

Loading the film is simple - just open the door catch, and insert the film lining up the yellow mark on the film pack to the yellow mark on the inside of the chamber. Shut the door, turn the camera on by opening up the lens and you should be good to go.

The shutter button has a reassuring clunk when pressed. The included filters just screw onto the front of the lens when needed. The focal slider is pretty rudimentary however does the job. Practice will be needed to get precise adjustments right in image - it's a bit of a guessing game with the viewfinder not looking through the lens. 

 

Lomo' Instant Square Performance

Images taken with the Lomography Instant camera have a grainy, retro feel. Images aren't as clear as those taken with the Fuji Instax family of cameras, but this could be put down to the more ad hoc, creative feel of this camera. We also found it difficult to frame things as we wanted, with the viewfinder causing objects to appear to the right of the frame. You could argue good use or the rule of thirds! Colours have a yellow tinge. 

Photo examples

+ and - EV is quite extreme, with them with coming out very over or underexposed. Detail and texture were good when photographing light through the tree branches.  

We used the remote to take a group photo. Including a remote is a nice feature however the sensor didn't seem overly receptive, with us having to hold an arm out straight at the camera in order to obtain a shot. Indoor portraits came out well, with rich colours. 

 

Value For Money

The Lomo' Instant Square is available through the Lomography website for £209 for the black and white versions and £229 for the red and silver edition. This is a relatively large investment for an instant camera. 

The Lomo' Instant Automat, which is more compact and takes Instax Mini film is available for £169 with many of the same functions. 

Other instant camera options include the Fujifilm Instax series. The latest in the series, the Mini 9, is available for £69. This model has less creative options than the Lomography offerings. If you want something more stylish, The Mini 90 NEO Classic is available for £119. Again though there isn't the ability to use accessories on the lens for more creative options. 

All of the abovementioned cameras take Fuji Instax Mini film which is available in different styles depending on your taste. A 20 shot pack of Instax Mini film is available for £13.91. Black and white film, as well as film with funky frames, is also available. Instax Square film is only available with the classic white edging and a pack of 10 can be purchased for £8.95

See our Top 7 Best Instant Cameras article for more choices. 
 

 

Lomo' Instant Square Verdict

The Lomo' Instant Square camera is a novelty addition to the Instant camera market that brings a real retro feel thanks to the bellows look. There are plenty of creative options and the camera comes well equipped for experimentation with images. 

The size may put some off, as well as the fiddly opening and closing mechanism but if you love artistic photography then this may well be your thing. This model brings extra versatility in the ability to use 2 different sized films, so it's a good choice for those who like to swap formats a lot. The built-in remote control for group images is a welcome addition.

For the casual instant shooter, this model is a little OTT but we can see the appeal for those dedicated to experimental photography in the instant realm. The camera takes nice portraits indoors in good lighting without using exposure compensation.

Lomo' Instant Square Pros

  • Can use Instax Square and Instax Mini film
  • Lots of creative options
  • Super retro, trendy feel

Lomo' Instant Square Cons

  • Very large
  • Design liable to trapping fingers
  • Difficult to judge framing/focus

Features4/5
Handling2.5/5
Performance3/5
Value3.5/5
Overall Verdict

 

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