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Announcing the Reflex: the first newly designed 35mm manual SLR system in 25 years

Brought to you by designer and founder Laurence Von Thomas, Reflex is a brand new, modern and modular 35mm SLR film camera available to fund on Kickstarter as of a few moments ago. It is the first newly designed manual SLR system in over 25 years.

Here’s what’s covered in this article:

Before we jump in, I can also exclusively reveal that Silberra Film are Reflex’s film partner and will be providing the films you see on the campaign page. You have to love collaboration in the film photography community.

 

 

 

About the Reflex system

The Reflex system was designed to be modular, allowing multiple lens systems to be used with the camera, including: M42, Nikon F, Olympus OM. Canon FD and Pentax PK. The basic camera will ship with the M42 “I-Plate”.

In addition, the camera bring something unique to 35mm cameras straight from the medium format world – modular “daylight” film backs. These I-Backs allow film to be changed mid-roll, mid-shoot.

Laurence Von Thomas and the Reflex team have designed the camera to be compatible with add-ons via third party accessories or individually-created 3D printed parts an plan to release further details for what they feel to be an important “modding community” for this new platform.

According to Reflex, “In fact, once Reflex is officially released, we will make most of the hardware and electronic designs freely available on our site.”

 

 

 

Specifications

Reflex Design

Reflex Design

The camera shell is constructed from a magnesium alloy making it both light an robust, weighing in at less than 500 grams (body only). Here’s a list of full specs at the time of writing.

ManufacturerReflex
Camera nameReflex
Camera typeSingle Lens Reflex (SLR)
Film format135 film, 35mm (full frame)
Image format35mm film
Manufacture datesTBA
ViewfinderTBA
Lens mountReflex I-Plate in either M42, Nikon F, Canon FD, Olympus OM, Pentax PK.

Other lens systems can be mounted with appropriate adapters.
LensesAny in the above mounts plus additional lenses with appropriate adapters.
FocusManual
ShutterElectronic focal plane (Arduino-based)
1s - 1/4000th, Time and Bulb
Additional functionsReflex I-Back - daylight interchangeable film back
Accessories3rd party + open source (TBA)
MeteringAV + Spot + 4 stops EV
ISO 25-6400
FlashFlash and continuous light (each with three intensities)
Power5v Ion Lithium rechargeable via USB-C
Weight490g
Dimensions
(appx)
134mm x 74.5mm x 34mm

 

Further images here:

 

 

 

Relfex I-Plate modular lens mount

Reflex - I-Plate (Interchangeable Lens Mount)

Reflex – I-Plate (Interchangeable Lens Mount)

Reflex will ship with an M42 mount I-Plate and alternative mounts for Nikon F, Olympus OM. Canon FD and Pentax PK mounts will be made available.

 

 

Reflex I-Back interchangeable film backs

Reflex - I-Back (Daylight Interchangeable Film Back)

Reflex – I-Back (Daylight Interchangeable Film Back)

The Reflex camera uses and in interchangeable back design, allowing pre-loaded film backs to be swapped out mid-shoot.

 

 

 

Connectivity / Reflex app

Reflex App

Reflex App

Whist the initial Kickstarter offering remains analogue in nature, the team is hoping for success and already planning to build in BLE (bluetooth low-energy) technology if they hit a £150,000 stretch goal.

The idea being that the BLE would allow metadata to be send to a companion app and saved along side with other information and notes about each specific roll.

 

 

 

Flash and LED lighting

Reflex - Flash and Continuous Light

Reflex – Flash and Continuous Light

Reflex is the first analog camera I’ve heard of that provides both a flash and continuous LED light source on-board. Both flash and LED have 3 intensities.

 

 

Current development and timelines

At the point of launch, Reflex have “two stages” of prototypes: a design and a mechanical prototype.

They have apparently created two separate units in order to finalise the actual dimensions and weight, so that ergonomics can be fully tested whilst technical development continues.

The camera body will be manufactured using “tight CNC machining”

Both units are optically functional and the current Kickstarter timeline is as follows:

Reflex - Timeline

Reflex – Timeline

The camera’s electronics are Arduino based, which allows for rapid development and testing.

ed us to develop rapidly, however, the module that we are currently using will most likely not be the one used in the production camera. This is as we will be able to get a smaller custom controller made

Arrangements with manufacturers and distributors are in place for the unit quantity we are aiming for with Kickstarter funding.

 

Support the campaign

You can back the campaign right now over on Kickstarter, with the earlybird pricing of the Reflex body and an M42 mount for £350.

Additional rewards which include film packs from Silberra, additional film backs, notepads bags and other goodies are also available. Two special editions are being made available for Kickstarter backers: a titanium body and a 24k gold-plated body.

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

~ EMULSIVE

 

 

 

Addendum

Update 01: Shoot Film Co’s Mike Padua adds his thoughts on the cynicism of camera enthusiasts following the Reflex announcement. It’s a thought provoking read and I strongly recommend you head on over to Shoot Film Co. to read it for yourself.

 

 

 

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Help drive an open, collaborative community – all you need do is drop us a line and we’ll work something out.

 

 



About The Author

EMULSIVE

Self confessed film-freak and film photography mad-obsessive and OVERLORD at emulsive.org. I push, pull, shoot, boil and burn film everyday, and I want to share what I learn.

36 Comments

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  1. I have a Minolta XD11 that would not sell on eBAY for $50 with lens, the world doesn’t need a new camera body.It needs free developing. Kodak had the right idea, buy our product and we will develope it for you, now that’s a good Kickstarter campaign. Anybody out there interested ?

    Reply
  2. we don’t need a new camera body we need FREE developing, thats the only thing that will compete with digital, now that’s a Kickstarter campaign I would subscribe too

    Reply
  3. The “Reflex” camera is – at least – fresh and innovative (interchangable “Contarex-like” back, blutooth option, interchangable bajonet mount) and it has a real nowadays shutter type. So, worth the price!
    The “Ihagee Elbaflex” is just a simple pimped Kiev, not even on the technical level of the year 1950. Not worth the price!
    These self-called “Ihagee-reloaded-people” don’t even know how to spell the name of the most famous Ihagee camera. the EXAKTA:
    http://www.picfront.org/d/9EBR
    OMG! Booooh!

    Reply
    • Actually, both spellings are accurate. Exacta was used in France, Portugal and the united states 😉

      Reply
  4. I like the option to use different lens mounts, but I do not want to open up the camera, like your system. Adapters like the ones that already exist will make using lenses from different mounts easier at one session. They can also be left on the lenses.

    Reply
  5. Exited to see this. For me the concept is going too far. I would start with a smaller project. There is a demand for a digital back for these old cameras (OM-1) you are developing this any way. The back flap can easily unclipped and replaced. I find the prism shape ugly. A ergonomic thumb rest on the back flap. will increase ergonomics a lot. I like the lens adapter function. The flash and light does not belong on the camera. A removable bracket will allow much more flexibility, and reduce the cost of the camera considerably.Only 2 or 3 plug in points will be needed, no shoe. A optical zooming viewfinder like the Olympus Mu can make the mirror unnecessary. If it is removable, a bigger zoom range could be achieved, or another lens inserted, or screwed on. A digital removable viewfinder, like the ones Cannon is using is also a possibility. It already exists. Rangefinder lenses can then also be used.

    Reply
  6. Strange how the haters believe film is so great that it needs to be relegated to a dime store industry.

    Reply
  7. All of my 35mm SLRs still work perfectly. I don’t need another. I do need more labs to reopen.

    Reply
  8. Very intriguing system, I am very tempted by this.

    Reply
  9. Wow! Now this is analogue technology we want to see…. this is so very cool! Can’t wait to see it all unfold.

    Reply
  10. I’ll have to hold off on backing something like this. The article is already misleading in two ways. The mention of manual SLR. To most folks that means, film advance, ISO, shutter speed and aperture are done by the user. I don’t see that here. Also, Lomography, Leica and Nikon have all designed manual film cameras in the 21st century. I’m talking about the Konstrucktor, Leica M-P & M-A and the Nikon FM3a.

    Reply
    • All those things are done by the user. There’s a shutter speed and ISO dial on top of the camera, but I really don’t blame you for missing the film advance lever, it’s on the back of the camera rather than on the top. The placement is unusual, but it seems neccesary because of the interchangeable film back. The aperture ring will be on the lenses. It’s all there, it’s just not laid out in quite the conventional manner.

      Reply
  11. It’s great, but I’d prefer a mechanical shutter. Battery independence.
    I’m not able to stump up that sort of cash either, but good luck to them.
    The multi lens mount idea is fantastic!

    Reply
    • So much this. If mechanical shutter mechanisms are available it would save A TON of time and money prototyping. You could run any additional features off the X sync internally (like old date backs used to do). Are such mechanisms no longer made? It seems like that would be much easier to implement.

      Reply
  12. WAHEY! WAHEY! A new SLR camera:) Looks totally & utterly COOL!!!!!!

    2 questions have leapt into my mind:

    1.What will the viewfinder be e.g.% view coverage/focusing aids?
    2.Is the battery a sealed/camera specific unit/module or is it a generic unit like AA/AAA/2cr5 which is readily available on the High Street/Internettywebby?

    Reply
  13. First question was which lens mount… All of them! Certainly looks good to me, would like to play with this

    Reply
  14. Is there any automation in this camera?

    Reply
  15. A bit of Topcon styling in that shutter release (DM, RE).

    Reply
  16. Interesting is an understatement, looks awesome!!

    Reply
  17. This looks great! If only someone could do this for medium format…

    Reply
  18. I like the idea of interchangeable backs for 35mm. But it’s hard to justify yet another camera. Maybe if there was a Minolta MD mount adapter…

    Reply
  19. Em, any idea of the ISO range for the meter ? I didn’t see that listed anywhere on the kickstarter page.

    Reply
    • They list the ISO range in the spec list: ISO: 25-6400

      Reply
  20. I’m so tempted but know I can’t afford to back it at the moment…….arghhhhhhhhhh!

    Reply
  21. EFF ME….! That looks sweet! Interchangable lens mount!? Awesome! Me like! #filmsnotdead

    Reply
  22. Very Interesting. I’m undecided at the moment of whether I’ll back this (mainly because that’s a lot of money for me in my current situation) but very excited by the prospect of it. It really has been a great year for film photography this year hasn’t it?

    Reply

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