A Twin Lens Reflex Polaroid-type camera? Oh, boy, I didn’t see that one coming. I was at the Impossible instant film site and ran across this camera. The Mint Twin Lens Reflex Instant Film camera. It was like being hit in the head with a sledgehammer! Who would ever do such a thing in the digital age? But it makes perfect sense. Like Impossible, Fuji’s Instax cameras and Lomography, (including their new instant cameras) MINT Camera is a Hong Kong company specializing in fixing and modifying Polaroid instant film cameras and making accessories for them. A 2009 startup, their original products and repairs of Polaroid SX-70s, etc., made perfect sense. A great plan for a niche market. Since its early days, MINT has partnered with The Impossible Project, who kind of took over from Polaroid. (not really,…it’s there own formulas)
Mint Twin Lens Reflex Instant Film
At the beginning of 2015, they announced this Rosemarys Baby project,…a Twin Lens Reflex Instax instant camera that is very much on the bandwagon of a vintage Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera,…the kind used by Helmut Newton and others early in their careers. How cool is that? Even Polaroid in their heyday had nothing in the wings even approaching that. The first iteration had a few issues, but after consulting with Rollei in Germany, the 2.0 version is a thing of beauty. OK, the build quality of the original Rolleiflex is not there. But at less than $350, (that includes lens), it’s pretty good.
Focusing is easy with the 2.0 viewfinder,….it’s bright and enables precise focus. It’s an anti-glare coated Fresnel viewfinder, making it very bright. It doesn’t really have a super wide view, but in normal view, it’s a joy to use, even in dark environments. And on the inverse,…sunny days.
There’s a focusing wheel on the side, and a flip up magnifier for critical focusing.
I already had the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic instant camera, which I always thought was kind of vintage looking, in a modern way. BUT,… the InstantFlex TL 2.0 is fully manual. FULLY MANUAL! Exposure settings are NOT automatic. As with all totally manual cameras, exposure is in your court
5 aperture settings, (lowest f/5.6), and an EV compensation wheel. There is a built-in ambient light meter that shows up as a ‘Green” LED in the viewfinder, verifying correct exposure.
Press the shutter and you get an exposure that pops up your Instax Mini picture to rise up from inside the viewfinder. (you have to hit the eject button) Yes, it uses Fuji instax mini film. (easy to get)
Coolest Instant Film Camera?
I’m not really sure which is more beautiful,…the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Neo or the Mint Twin Lens Reflex Instant Film. The MINT is definitely cooler.
When you take a digital image of someone, many photogs will show the image on the LCD,….but hand someone an instant physical image, and watch their eyes light up!
I included the above Rolleiflex TLR camera image so it can be understood why a used Rolleiflex TLR with their intimitable Zeiss lenses are usually about $2500+ used,…I am not saying the MINT TL70 is an instant film Rolleiflex. But it is as well built as MiNT’s RF70.
Besides B+H, the Mint Twin Lens Reflex Instant Film camera is also available on Ebay. Real beauties for the traditionally minded. Find MiNT TL70 2.0