The world’s first ever twin lens instant camera is almost on the market, and its unique blend of old world and new is sure to entice a wide audience.
Hong Kong based company MiNT, known for refurbishing old Polaroid cameras, have engineered the InstantFlex TL70. Knowing that retro is hip(ster), MiNT designed the camera to resemble the twin lens cameras of yore, with the viewfinder on top and the lenses stacked.
As the website boasts, the TL70 “is your personal time machine.” The company’s cadre of geeks spent five years designing this camera and, from the soft leather finish and brush chromium metallic frame, every bit is an homage to Polaroid’s legacy.
Indeed, the company believes it is carrying on Polaroid founder Edwin Land’s legacy in creating the InstantFlex. It says that it is aiming this camera to those with a designer’s eye for instant film as well as photographers who appreciate the “magic of instance.”
The twin lens camera, around for the last 150 years, was meant to make shooting faster and easier by allowing a second viewfinder lens to match the focus of the shooting lens. The photographer could look down into the camera and focus while the camera sat at waist height.
The camera resembles the classic Rolleiflex line, and even uses an identical diffusion screen to frame and focus shots. Even the name, TL70, is meant to pay homage to the Rollei twin lens cameras as well as Polaroid’s SX-70 instant camera series.
This comes after the company behind Rolleiflex cameras recently liquidated its factory at auction. Perhaps this is what the company means when it says it is “keeping the legend alive.”
Amateurs will love the simplicity of use. A built-in light meter detects ambient light to ensure proper exposure, or with a press of the B Mode button photographers can keep the shutter open for extraordinary night shots.
For indoor use, the TL70 comes with a built-in flash, also accessible with the touch of a button. All you need is two AA batteries to start shooting. And, of course, the instant print out of the picture will make it a party favorite.
But professional photographers were not forgotten in the making of this camera. While most instant cameras use two shutter blades, the TL70 uses five, which gives photographers greater control over aperture. The camera can focus as close as 48 centimeters, and even has a bokeh feature, a noncircular aperture whose shape is a unique “hidden easter egg” for each camera.
To under or over expose a shot at your leisure, there’s also the EV switch which changes the shutter speed by one full stop. LED lights next to the display window indicate the camera’s exposure, with green light indicating proper exposure and red light indicating that the shot is either over or under exposed.
The result is stunning visual representations never before seen in instant form.
And because the InstantFlex is also 30 percent thinner than the average twin lens camera, it makes it your new best friend for on-the-go shooting.
Another great feature is that, unlike other instant cameras on the market like the FujiFilm Instax Mini, which requires a special kind of film, the TL70 works with all instant films, size 54 x 86 mm.
All this for $323, once the camera goes on sale. There has been a “coming soon” button on the website since March, so fingers crossed it’s up for grabs before summer is here to get all those boat, beach and barbecue shots.