Gary from MiNT released his latest blog update on the progress of the new 35mm compact film camera project on November 9, 2023. This update gives us the price of the camera, approx. 650-800 USD, as well as an estimate of when it will be ready for market, likely in 2024. Light leaks and viewfinder issues have been sorted, the design has been enhanced and finalised, and the team is working on producing ten pre-production units.
While Gary’s updates have provided us with insights into the project, Spanish-speaking community blog, Disparafilm, also published an interview with him which they have invited us to share with our audience. The interview dives into the project further and gives us a few more nuggets of information about the new camera.
One of the most interesting insights that Disparafilm’s interview provides us is about the lens. The team asked Gary if the lens would be a new design or based on an existing example, to which he responded it would be modeled from on an older 5-element glass lens from a 35mm camera.
MiNT’s camera will also feature a flash as well as the LIDAR autofocus that we reported on back in July 2023. There will be no manual focus functionality in this camera.
The interview discusses design decisions and compromises made due to the small form factor of the camera:
“Designing a camera is a delicate process that requires consideration of numerous factors to achieve desired outcomes. A higher max shutter speed will sacrifice battery life. We are always balancing the factors. If there was a huge limitation, I would say it is the battery. As a camera designer, it is always desirable to have more battery juice. But in such a tiny camera, there is no choice.” – Gary Ho, Disparafilm Blog Interview
The blog post shares the same sample photos we have seen in MiNT’s update #9, but Gary mentions he cannot wait to get the prototypes into the hands of ‘real’ photographers and see what they can create with it.
MiNT’s camera aims to fill a gap in the compact film camera market that is widening with the industry’s lack of repair specialists able to work on electronics-based autofocus compact cameras. Dispara asks how the new MiNT camera will compete in the used compact market, but Gary notes that while there are a large number of these types of cameras, there is a problem with the high price for good options and the inability to service them.
“It’s a bit like Polaroid cameras. There are plenty of cheap box-type 600 cameras. But a lot of people still buy the SLR670.” – Gary Ho, Disparafilm Blog Interview
When Disparafilm asks if MiNT is developing any other new products, Gary responds the team has dedicated “125% of our efforts” to the 35mm compact camera. They want to bring it to market as soon as possible. In update #10 on the MiNT project blog, he shares that the project has been an expensive one to see through.
“The R&D costs associated with developing this camera have been sky-high. The mould costs, labour costs, and everything is just very expensive. Basically Mint is risking the whole company to get this project off the ground.” – Gary Ho, MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update #10
If anyone is interested in supporting the project, MiNT has set up a donation link which can be accessed in their blog post here. It’s not certain yet whether the company will release the camera for sale or start with a crowdfunding campaign.
“Although we do not make any promises or commitments in return for your support, we are eternally grateful, and would like to offer an opportunity for those who have shown their support to request priority access at the launch. If you would like to be at the front of the line, please leave a message in the memo section when making your contribution. We will ensure that you receive priority access at launch.” – Gary Ho, MiNT 35mm Film Camera Update #10
Disparafilm is a Spanish-speaking community blog founded by Chechu, otherwise known as Herman Toothrot, based in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. A self-taught photographer, Chechu started Disparafilm at the start of 2020 as a personal project which then grew into a popular community platform. The community has a discord server with over a thousand members as well as an Analog Club with 100+ members. Analog Club is a platform for people to learn about film photography while also being part of a social group and receiving perks such as discounts and personalised advice. There’s a whole team behind the website now and in addition to the community blog, Disparafilm also produces YouTube videos and news articles.
To stay updated on MiNT’s progress, you can sign up to follow their blog here.
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