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 I jump in, I can also exclusively reveal that Silberra Film is 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.”
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.
|Camera type||Single Lens Reflex (SLR)|
|Film format||135 film, 35mm (full frame)|
|Image format||35mm film|
|Lens mount||Reflex I-Plate in either M42, Nikon F, Canon FD, Olympus OM, Pentax PK.
Other lens systems can be mounted with appropriate adapters.
|Lenses||Any in the above mounts plus additional lenses with appropriate adapters.|
|Shutter||Electronic focal plane (Arduino-based)
1s - 1/4000th, Time and Bulb
|Additional functions||Reflex I-Back - daylight interchangeable film back|
|Accessories||3rd party + open source (TBA)|
|Metering||AV + Spot + 4 stops EV
|Flash||Flash and continuous light (each with three intensities)|
|Power||5v Ion Lithium rechargeable via USB-C|
|134mm x 74.5mm x 34mm|
Further images here:
Relfex I-Plate modular 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
The Reflex camera uses and in interchangeable back design, allowing pre-loaded film backs to be swapped out mid-shoot.
Connectivity / 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 sent to a companion app and saved along side with other information and notes about each specific roll.
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Flash and LED lighting
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:
The camera’s electronics are Arduino based, which allows for rapid development and testing led 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!
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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