A Hong Kong based company known as Nons Studio has just launched a Kickstarter campaign which seeks to raise over $25,000 via crowdfunding to produce a new instant film camera. The key features of the SL42, as it’s called, make it something of a unique proposition – it’s an SLR camera capable of fitting any M42 universal screw mount lens with a manual shutter that exposes Fujifilm Instax Mini film. Pretty interesting!
The Kickstarter campaign says that the company has spent “400 days” researching, developing, and prototyping the SL42. The end result looks to be a thoughtfully-designed camera with older-school functionality than the typical Fuji Instax camera, cameras which tend to be point-and-shoot affairs.
With the SL42, shutter speed, aperture, and focus are all manually controlled, just like with similar M42 35mm film SLRs from decades ago. The campaign even highlights the effectiveness of the SLR format, claiming that it’s easy to compose a shot and preview depth-of-field. This could make the SL42 a great camera for those seeking more control in their instant photography (we’ll have to wait for a review copy to find out).
M42 lenses were originally created in the 1930s by Carl Zeiss, and later went on to great success with Pentax’s Universal Screw Mount cameras, such as the Spotmatic. There were hundreds of lenses of all different focal lengths made over the span of 80 years, giving the SL42 massive versatility right from the start.
Made for 35mm film, M42 lenses perform a bit differently when shooting Fuji Instax film. Since the image area of Fuji’s Instax film is so much larger than that of the 35mm (full frame) image area, images shot with the SL42 display a circular border. This is bound to be a polarizing byproduct of the design.
Would be backers can fund the project in the first 24 hours for about $170 US (limited to 15 backers). After the first 24 hours the price jumps to about $180 (limited to 35 backers), and then jumps again to $200 (available to all). After the Kickstarter campaign is over, and assuming it’s successfully funded and produced, the Nons SL42 is projected to cost $299.
Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that allows the public (backers) to help bring creative projects to life by pledging money to the project’s creators. Once a project is fully funded, the payments are sent from backers to the project creators. After that, it’s up to the creators to make good on their promises, and distribute rewards (if offered) to their backers.
As it pertains to the photography community, typical rewards come in the form of whatever product the backers backed. In this way, Kickstarter has acted like a pre-order portal for companies like Peak Design, Lomography, Yashica, Reflex, and FILM Ferrania. In some cases, backers have never received the promised rewards due to project delays or, in some cases, business failures. This is a risk in any Kickstarter campaign.
The Nons SL42 campaign is targeting August 2020 for a delivery date. If and when it gets funded, we’ll have to wait and see. You can explore the project further via their Kickstarter page here.