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The Rolleiflex returns with a twin-lens instant film camera with modern flair

The twin lens camera was first introduced in the late 1800s to dramatically speed up the process of taking a picture — now photographs are taken in milliseconds, but the twin-lens reflex is getting a modern makeover. On Thursday, April 26, historic photography company Rollei launched the Rolleiflex Instant Kamera, a twin lens camera using widely available Fujifilm Instax Mini film. The company’s crowdfunded campaign landed complete funding in only 22 minutes.

Only vintage Rolleiflex cameras are available for film enthusiasts, costing hundreds to even thousands on the secondhand market. Rollei is working to make twin-lens photography attainable again with the modern yet vintage inspired Rolleiflex Instant Kamera. Like the traditional twin lens reflex camera, the Instant Kamera uses a waist-level viewfinder. The preview on the screen is also the same size as the print on the Instax Mini film.

With the Instant Kamera, photographers can control the aperture, with settings available from f/5.6 to f/22, as well as setting the focus manually. The camera uses a built-in light meter, with a green light telling photographers when the shot is properly exposed, along with options for controlling the exposure compensation. A flash is also built in.

The camera also adds a few different options to expand the possible shots. A bulb mode allows users to take long exposures, while a mode for creating multiple exposures is also included. Rollei also says the camera (err, sorry, Kamera) can also focus up close, with a minimum focusing distance of about 19 inches.

The shooting lens (rather than the lens that creates the image in the viewfinder) is a 61mm. Like the company’s vintage cameras, a magnifier allows photographers to get a better look at the image in the viewfinder, which also has an anti-glare coating.

Rollei says that, while it kept much of the vintage design, the Kamera is 30 percent slimmer than other twin-lens cameras and weighs just over a pound.

The Rolleiflex Instant Kamera joins options like Mint’s InstaFlex camera, a company that actually helped with the Kamera’s development (and interestingly, the InstaFlex was inspired by Rolleiflex).

The Kickstarter campaign for the Rolleiflex Instant Kamera is already fully funded, negating some (but not all) of the crowdfunding risk. Backers that support the project within the first 24 hours could get the camera for about $408, with additional but slightly less discounted pledges for the remainder of the campaign, which closes on May 31.

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This article is part of our continuing series, Tech for Change

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