The Bonzart Ampel ‘retro’ digicam: two lenses are better than one

Bonzart Ampel
Not too many budding photographers can say they’ve used a two-lens reflex camera, yet a few are making their way back to market. The new retro-styled Bonzart Ampel digital camera is one such product, which Slashgear got some hands-on time with at the 2013 CP+ show in Japan. Here’s how it works: The twin-lens setup requires that you look down into the top of the camera, into a screen that flips up with a shadow guard. Many early photographers used this style of camera, with Hasselblad possibly being the more famous of makers.

The Bonzart Ampel has two distinct lenses that work together, but each can also be used to take different-styled photos. One lens shoots normal images with a choice of 4:3 (think of your old boxy standard definition TV) or 1:1 (square) aspect ratios. The second lens shoots a tilt-shift image, which makes the subject appear in miniature form. Two separate dials operate each lens individually.

Those who want to go deeper into the abilities of the camera can get a snap-on magnetic wide-angle lens, which uses a strong magnet to snap onto either of the cameras lenses. The Bonzart Ampel has several integrated photo effects such as vivid, black and white, sepia, and refreshing.

The Bonzart Ampel from Bonzart (GDC) in Japan was shown at the CP+ camera show in Japan.

The camera shoots at 5-megapixels for images, and can capture HD video up to 720p. A 4x digital zoom helps give a little more functionality to the camera and lets you zoom in or out on photos, but you won’t get the clarity as your would from an optical lens zoom. The camera uses an SD memory (up to 32GB) and takes three AAA batteries. It sells for $199.