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Thursday, 08 September 2016


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At the end of the day, every artist needs to find the tools that make his/her heart sing, and if this does it, have at it! Looks like a very fun combination, and in your hands, I want to see the pics!

Aaaah, Memories....my first foray into "serious" photography occurred when working in a camera shop in 1973. An earnest young man in flowing Hare Krishna robes came in and wanted to sell his late father's collection of cameras, --I imagine he was renouncing all his worldly goods.... Among the otherwise rather ordinary collection was a Rolleiflex with the f2.8 Xenotar, which I snapped up quickly at a fair price. (I later learned the f2.8 Planar was slightly better..) My Pentax SV was relegated to the drawer for a short time until the cost of 120 film outweighed the superior results of the Rollei. I sold the Rollei at a profit, and moved on to the Olympus OM system. Turning semi-pro in 1990, I acquired a Mamiya C330 with three lenses, which equalled my friend's Hasselblad in lens performance ( and was a LOT quieter at weddings!) That camera never let me down, and I have very fond memories, but no camera, going totally digital in 2004. I wonder if anyone's still using those workhorses somewhere today? But $389 for a bit of nostalgia???? No no no no. Back in 1975, who could have envisaged a hybrid of a Rolleiflex and a Polaroid SX-70 ?

Kute! A kind of Vivian Maier Simulator (VMS).

Fwiw, I also have two Rolleiflex cameras, one restored from the 1960's and another mint from the final models made. They ooze rustic charm but their reversed viewfinder image literally makes me nauseous after a few minutes. Maybe the VMS corrects this?

You might like this thread from our friend Steve Lloyd (part of Talk Photography's Film & Conventional sub-forum), who's converting his Yashica 635 to take an Instax back (swappable with the standard back). Steve keeps entertaining us with these interesting threads, and more so as he's just started using 3D printing...


Here's a link to a review on Japan Camera Hunter http://www.japancamerahunter.com/2016/07/mint-instantflex-tl70-2-0/

I got my first (and only) TLR when I was thirteen. It was an Argus 75, a twin lens box camera.

Buying a Rolleicord or a Flexaret, plus a heap of film, would be much cheaper and much more fun.

There are 'instant-backs' using Instax Mini and Instax Wide which are available from a lomography company. It would be interesting to put one of the Wide backs on an old 6x9cm folder (as that is the format of the Wide image area).

Instax Mini, as used in the auto hipster-flex or whatever it's called, is business card sized or slightly smaller. Something like a 6x4,5cm size, which isn't very satisfying really.

I have a soft spot for TLRs. My first "good" camera was a Yashica Mat. Photos I took with it helped me land my first job as a newspaper photographer. Years later Mamiya C330s did almost all the work at my portrait/wedding studio. (Including close-ups of golf club heads for a catalog. That Paramender really works.)

The Mint TLR got me excited for a bit. But after some clicking around, it seems it doesn't actually have a full manual mode. As near as I can tell from several reviews (you'd think a reviewer could make a clear statement about this, wouldn't you?) the Mint TLR has aperture-priority automatic exposure with an exposure compensation feature that lightens or darkens one stop. No full manual mode. No cigar.

I don't know much about designing cameras, but it seems to me it must be cheaper and easier to leave off the exposure meter and flash and just provide manual controls to adjust aperture and shutter speed. Am I missing something?

So, I guess there will be no Mint on my pillow, at least until they make a full manual version.


Your XT1 can print straight to an SP1 or SP2 Instax printer. That would be cheaper than buying this. I have both versions of the printer. The 2 is definitely the way to go. I am anxiously awaiting the B/W film. I carry the SP2 with me everywhere with the X Pro2.



As someone who doesn't like using tripods, it came as a surprise to me how much more I like using my Minolta Autocord TLR mounted on one. I don't think I've used it handheld since discovering this.

Maybe because that makes it even more of a change from using my E-M5 with it's "built-in electronic tripod". Now it's a matter of seeing, finding a place for the tripod, setting up the frame, focusing (and not worrying about the focus point shifting as when using the thing handheld) and then conjuring up some exposure value before releasing the shutter. Usually a relaxed way of photographing if the light isn't fickle :)

Post-war, when I was brought up, the standard camera in Britain was a box camera. We had a Kodak but there were Ilford's and other makes. Exposure, focusing and film speed were factors that didn't exist. The problems were trying to remember whether or not you had wound the film on after the last photo. The result could be blank shots or double shots. Trying to see the subject through the viewfinder was the biggest problem as you held the camera at waist level and tried to look through the tiny viewfinder was difficult. It was often dirty or, looked like it, so you cleaned the lens and viewfinder by rubbing your finger over it to remove the dirt.
We loved the results though. After a while an incredibly sophisticated new model appeared - the Kodak Brownie, which had the look of a modern camera and operated just like a modern camera, whereby you just press the button to take a photo. Difference was still no focusing, shutter or lens adjustments. But if you had one of those cameras you were a photo King.

When I joined the RAAF in 1980, the Mamiya C330 was the default camera in every photographic section for general photography.

I agree there is a special fun-factor to shooting with a twin-lens reflex. Given the non-square format though, the fun would stop the minute you tried to frame something horizontally. Add the reversed viewfinder and the design drawbacks become even more obvious.

I still dust off my trusty 2.8f from time to time. If for no other reason because it almost always starts a pleasant conversation. It is one of the few cameras that never makes people feel threatened (at least in my experience).

From TLR, to SLR, and now, to mirrorless.

Well, they left me at the 'mini' format. If you are going to copy an old style camera for instant film I'd select a 2X3 Baby Graphic that has an Instax Wide back (interchangeable with a 6X9 roll film back) and a copy of the 101mm f4.5 Ektar up front. Now that would be worth the $389 they want for this toy.

Sigh. Maybe I'll just give up on the coffee and enjoy the time travel. :)

I wrote this back in Feb 16 in a comment about the JCH review of the TL70. Short summary - cheap construction, poor IQ.

I too pre-ordered the TL70 and eagerly awaited it’s arrival at my door. I hoped for a competitive option to Fuji’s Instax cameras, but with manual controls and improved image quality. Unfortunately, I found it to be an overpriced toy-quality camera, with sharp edges, and relatively flimsy construction. The deal breaker , however, was inferior image quality (soft focus and muted color) compared to my wife’s Fuji Neo Classic 90 Instax camera. I shot a few frames, and passed it off to my son for his amusement.

The TL70 is not as well built as my Polaroid SX-70, and is far surpassed in image quality by my Polaroid 110A, converted to use Polaroid/Fuji pack film. I think the main differentiator between these cameras, image quality wise, is the relative quality of the lens used – the original roll-film Polaroids had superior lenses to the later consumer-oriented models and new Instax cameras. What we need is for Fuji to develop an Instax camera with a better lens.

The Olympus AF-1 Twin (or Olympus Infinity Twin outside the US) (waterproofed, very) were "twin lens" 35mm compacts in a box similar to XA but larger to contain the AF and motor drive. Just a bit to big to fit in the back pocket of my jeans (unlike the XA).


They had switchable 35mm and 70mm lenses (who says a 50mm lens on APS-C is a silly focal length!) in the same body. Both were decent lenses (even though they were moulded plastic and the 35mm was a triplet).

I got one after my Olympus XA was dropped in the sea (by my now wife). I still miss it. The AF-1 wasn't as nicely built (or as small) as the XA though it might have survived the dip in the sea (if one was quick!).


Sucked me in.

I have a sizeable credit at Amazon, and I just decided to blow part of it on one of these (the 2.0 version.) I've almost picked up an Instax more than once but always held back because they didn't seem like "real" cameras. This one looks like it will be a blast!

I've always felt there could be a market for an interchangeable lens digital body with an integrated waist level finder (only) - a full sized one with a hood and a pop-up magnifier like we see here, not one of the hinged EVFs as are increasingly common. Think a downsized 500 C/M. It would be great for relaxed creative work, the same type of shooting for which we used to use 'Blads, RB67s and the like.

Hello, Fuji?

Unlike some of the detractors (who make valid points) I see this camera as a fun camera and very useful tool. Without going into detail, think icebreaker for certain types of street photography.

I recently acquired a Rolleiflex K4A and it is a blast. The MiNT would make a good companion!

I have a plain Jane no letter designation Yashicamat. Late 50's version. (Best version IMO) It takes wonderful, detailed photos and gets me more attention and "excuse ME's" on the street than I want. But I agree it's hard to get along with on a day to day basis. Slow and cumbersome they are.

I've always hated "instant" film, because nearly every photo I've seen shot that way looked terrible (mostly technical issues). Yeah, I've seen some of the exceptions, and especially if you push it to the PN55 shot by experts it could produce amazing results -- though it strikes me as a stunt, especially since you have to choose when you expose to go for either a good positive or a good negative, you can't have both.

And then they're unique artifacts, which some people love but for me is the kiss of death. I'm motivated by the urge to preserve things, and popping out not-very-good unique artifacts just isn't attractive from that point of view.

Still, I'm pleased that materials are still being made for the people who do like working that way.

"... but their reversed viewfinder image literally makes me nauseous after a few minutes." Kenneth Tanaka

Among the cheap cameras I had as a kid was a plastic TLR (can't remember the make) which took 127 film. It produced quite nice results, but yeah, the reversed viewfinder image did induce mild nausea, especially when trying to pan with a subject.

I have a Fujifilm Instax Wide 210 and have used it for a few years. It has the same complaint I've heard from other Instax users, that the images are soft; and often the lens is blamed.

But I think the problem is in the design of the film cassette itself. It's made from thin plastic, with a relatively weak internal spring to keep the film pushed against the front of the cassette. And the film itself is a sandwich of various layers, which seems a bit squishy to me, like the thickness of the print depends on the pressure against it. Also, the lens image is projected through the back of the print, not the front.

All of these factors combine to represent a design intrinsically poor in maintaining proper focus at the film plane. Just a fraction of a millimeter makes all the difference in focus.

Am I the only TOPer to go for one of these? ;-)

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