NEWS: MiNT’s New 35mm Film Camera Uses LiDAR Technology for Autofocus

By Molly Kate

MiNT’s new 35mm film camera project is shaping up as seen in their latest update that was sent out to email subscribers. The update is titled “Autofocus and Skin” and you can guess what it was about.

Gary Ho, MiNT’s Founder, tells us in the update that the camera will use LiDAR technology for the autofocus feature of the camera. He mentions the testing outperformed other autofocus technologies in terms of accuracy and range which has delighted the MiNT team. LiDAR is more expensive but Gary writes that the technology is worth it, although they didn’t have a choice as older AF modules were not available.

LiDAR stands for Light Detection And Ranging and uses laser technology like a bat uses echolocation to calculate the distance between the source and surrounding objects. The technology has been around for some time and in fact, is already integrated in earlier Apple iPhones starting with the iPhone 12 (Peta Pixel).

Peta Pixel reported in an article in 2020 about the iPhone 12, “With the iPhone 12 Pro, LiDAR is used for autofocus in low-light scenes and therefore improves accuracy. It can identify a subject, focus, and capture even faster and works in both photo and video. You should see six times faster autofocus performance in low light, and it can also allow for better portraiture effects in low light.” The laser technology is eye safe as long as it follows the classification regulations such as those laid out in IEC 60825-1 (Source: UK GOV site).

“Having autofocus in a film camera isn’t a big deal. Companies have perfected the technology years ago. However, what truly excites me about the Mint35 project is that we’re using a new autofocus technology in a 35mm film camera, which has never been done before in any 35mm camera.” – Gary Ho, per MiNT’s latest update blog

MiNT also polled the community for a preference in camera skins in the latest update. Have your say on their site via the link here.

MiNT 35mm Film Camera in progress
Image per MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update Blog

“I’m thrilled to announce that we’re in the final phases of perfecting this part of the camera and it is very promising.” – Gary Ho, per MiNT’s latest update blog

If this is the first time you are hearing about MiNT’s new 35mm film camera project, then see our previous article about it here. The camera models the style of a 1960s cult classic compact. In an era where analogue photographers have let it be known that they want new film cameras, MiNT is answering and it seems they might be close to a final prototype.

MiNT 35mm Film Camera in progress
Image per MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update Blog
MiNT 35mm Film Camera in progress
Image per MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update Blog
MiNT 35mm Film Camera in progress
Image per MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update Blog

To find more information, you can head over to MiNT’s update blog here, plug in your email, and enter the portal for all the updates that Gary has posted since starting on the project.

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About The Author

By Molly Kate
Photographer, writer, and CPA currently running a Youtube channel called Eclectachrome. I'm a huge fan of shiny new objects which makes writing news a perfect fit. Favorite cameras are often mechanical rangefinders, folders, and compacts and I love most film stocks. I enjoy developing and scanning my own film as well as printing in the darkroom when there's extra time!
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Huss on NEWS: MiNT’s New 35mm Film Camera Uses LiDAR Technology for Autofocus

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

Interesting they use a Rollei 35 as the image for the leatherette sampling. I'm a bit surprised they are using AF, but why not if they can use state of the art AF? The form factor of a Rollei 35 w/ AF? Sounds great! And I'll put money down that this camera will not scratch film. Unlike my new Leica M6 and new MPs (I just had another new MP user contact me about his camera also scratching film).
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Raphael replied:

Comment posted: 26/07/2023

That is not a Rollei 35 but the new Mint camera is very heavily inspired by the Rollei 35 ;)

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