Instant film cameras are hot these days, similar to how record players are chic again. Just look at Fujifilm, which achieved success with its Instax series, or the Impossible Project, which renewed the spirit of Polaroid with the new I-1. Instant cameras are convenient and quick (relatively) like digital cameras, but require the operation finesse (film is expensive, after all, so you have to be choosy with what you shoot) of old-school cameras.
If you prefer actual analog hardware, but updated for today, check out Mint, a company that initially started restoring instant film cameras to working condition before designing their own. It recently announced two new models: the new SLR670-S with Time Machine add-on that allows photographers to choose both a shutter speed and ISO on a modified Polaroid SX-70 instant film camera, and the InstantFlex TL70, the “world’s first twin-lens-reflex instant camera” now with a Rolleiflex-inspired viewfinder.
Mint redesigned the Polaroid SX-70 to create the new SLR670-S. Noticeable is a device on the top of the camera, called the Time Machine, allows the user to change shutter speeds, including a bulb mode that will continue exposing the image as long as the shutter release is held down. The Time Machine allows the traditional camera to shoot from 1/2000 to one second.
The SLR670-S starts with a factory-restored SX-70, but it isn’t just an old camera with a new add-on. In order for the Time Machine to communicate with the camera, Mint redesigned the flash socket to handle the signals from the Time Machine and added a new “electronic eye” for more accurate auto exposures. While the Time Machine can be removed, owners of a classic SX-70 can’t just add one on top to gain the manual shutter speed capabilities.
Along with the adjustable shutter speed, the SLR670-S can accept two different film sensitivities, allowing flexibility for shooting at ISO 100 in good lighting or ISO 600 in limited light, by swapping out the film. Because of the flexibility in shutter speeds, the SLR670-S doesn’t need neutral density filters to shoot with 600 film, like the original SX-70. The lens of the camera, however, is still fixed at an f/8 aperture.Capture the moment, check out more instant cameras here
The camera uses 600-series film from the Impossible Project, but is still fully mechanical and operates without batteries. The camera is listed for $675.
The changes to Mint’s existing InstaFlex TL70 (version 2.0) are just as traditionally inspired. The camera’s new viewfinder is five times brighter, thanks to inspiration from a trip to Rolleiflex in Germany. Along with the brighter view, the twin-lens-reflex camera’s magnifier is now larger and clearer. The camera also received updates to the shutter and aperture mechanisms for smoother operation.
The InstaFlex TL70 2.0 is selling for $389, but owners of the original version can purchase an upgrade kit for $59. Like the original, the camera uses Fujifilm Instax Mini film.