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Let's talk about film cameras


Unlike instant photography, there are a lot of excellent film cameras. For instant cameras, the Polaroid SX-70 wins hands down. For film cameras, there are lots of different types.

The ones that spark my interest are the premium compact cameras. They are the embodiment of technological breakthroughs in the film camera era of the 90s and 00s, when competition was fierce and companies poured millions of dollars into R&D just to grab market share, right before the dawn of digital.

Analogous to the SX-70 when Polaroid dominated the photography world, and smartphones in our current generation, premium compact cameras represent the pinnacle of that era's glory days.

The SLR670 was built upon the original Polaroid SX-70, and it turned out great. So this time if we start, we might as well stand on the shoulders of giants.

Contax T2Ricoh GR1

For those who aren't familiar with compact cameras, imagine a camera with a good lens and wide aperture. Now imagine being able to put that camera in your pocket. It's the best of both worlds. Right now, the options out there are limited. The ones that fit in your pocket don't have very good features, and the ones with good features don't fit in your pocket!

At the time of this writing a Contax T2 costs north of US$1200, and US$700 for a Ricoh GR1. Not to mention the Leica Minilux which is asking for US$1000 on eBay. You can tell whoever designed these cameras cared a lot. They put much thought and love into the designs. The extra compact form, excellent lenses, auto-focus, auto-winding, solid body, built-in flash... it had everything you needed. Frankly, I don't think MiNT will be able to match that level of sophistication.

So what's the progress?

What MiNT can do though, is base our design on an older iconic camera, like what we are doing with the SLR670. With limited resources, ameliorating 60s and 70s technology is easier than trying to tweak 90s and 00s stuff. This can improve the odds of success.

The idea is to add modern features to a timeless camera, which is what we are good at. What if we improve the lens, add a built-in flash, or even auto-focus to an iconic camera that doesn't have these functions? It's possible, in theory, with today's technology.

We are trying to make it as compact as possible. Turn on the volume, it sounds great, doesn't it? There's still a lot of work to do.


P.S Thanks for following this blog. I'll add a signup form for testers here when the time is right.