MiNT Camera founder Gary Ho announced the development of a new, compact 35mm film camera slated for production and release in 2023. The project was announced in a subtle instagram post, sending users to a page on the MiNT website explaining why this might just be the dumbest move for the camera manufacturer.
“The odds are truly against us. Developing a premium film camera in 2022 is either the stupidest idea, or an endeavor that nobody’s dared to try. The only reason that this might work is the supportive community. That’s the only reason.
“What we need right now is sheer determination and support from you to get this unthinkable project off the ground.”
Ho explained over email that the 35mm film camera has been a work in progress since before the pandemic, and will likely be a premium, compact-style camera with a fixed 35mm lens. Ho didn’t provide further comment on the exact style of the camera, noting that the designs keep evolving and changing over time.
Despite the high costs of new cameras from MiNT, the compact camera will be released at a similar or lower price point than some of the high-end compact cameras, like the Contax T2 or Ricoh GR1.
“It will definitely be more affordable than the existing second-hand premium compact cameras, otherwise this project would be pointless,” Ho explained over email.
At this time, Ho said there are no plans to raise money for the project through crowdfunding platforms.
“The best way to support this project is to get a MINT camera. Some people complain that MINT cameras are pricey, and I know they are not cheap. We basically pour all the money from previous projects into new projects R&D. Like if you buy a SLR670, you’re actually supporting this 35mm camera.
Gary Ho said creating a 35mm film camera is the next logical step forward for the company.
“The way I look at MiNT, is not just a company building cameras. We’re a team building a supply chain, manufacturing network, engineering expertise, and as time goes by, we are going to be more experienced, come up with better products, faster and perhaps cheaper,” he explained over email.
“There are a ton of old 35mm cameras floating around, and frankly I don’t think MiNT’s will match that level of sophistication anytime soon. But there are certain types that deserve our attention. For example, the existing premium compact cameras — the ones that have good lenses and fit in your pocket — are getting rarer, and since they are complex in nature, most of them are unrepairable. Not every type of film camera is worth developing, but some are.”
MiNT is company behind some of the most innovative instant cameras on the market. Gary Ho is the mind behind the game changing SLR 670, which are refurbished SX-70s with a new chip and time machine that allow manual control, and has also made Instax film cameras like the InstantKon RF70 rangefinder camera, and even a TLR.
Despite this project, Ho said MiNT cameras will continue bringing new instant cameras to the market as well.
“We are definitely going to keep developing instant cameras too. What I’ve noticed is, developing instant cameras helps us understand more about film cameras, and developing film cameras actually helps us understand more about instant cameras.”
Daren is a journalist and wedding photographer based in Vancouver, B.C. He’s been taking personal and professional photos on film since 2017 and began developing and printing his own photos after wanting more control than what local labs could offer.