The Rolleiflex Instant Kamera Makes a Comeback

The Rolleiflex Instant Kamera Makes a Comeback

December 13, 2019 Off By Cory Taggart

Camera enthusiasts around the world, particularly collectors, never dreamed the Rolleiflex would return, but like a Golden Girls reunion rising from the ashes, the iconic design has returned. This series of twin-lens reflex (TLR) cameras, first released in 1927, was one of the most popular film-roll cameras in history. New models were being released as late as 2014, but production ended in 2015 when the company was dissolved.

Rolleiflex Viewfinder

Image credit: MiNT

The Hong Kong company, MiNT, recently teamed up with Rolleiflex’s original producer, Rollei, to produce the Rollieflex Instant Kamera. Thankfully, MiNT has experience working with older cameras, providing repair services and accessories for Polaroid owners. They even have their own version of a TLR- the InstantFlex TL70 from 2015. This collaboration makes InstantFlex an official member of the Rolleiflex family.

The most unique feature of the Instant Kamera is its design. Rather than being held up to the eye, the camera’s viewfinder is up top. Users hold it at the waist and bend down to look through the viewfinder. A magnifier inside the camera allows for crisp detail, along with manual focus settings.

Retro Rolleiflex TLR

Retro Rolleiflex TLR from the 70s.

While the design is suitably old-fashioned, it comes with the features expected of modern instant cameras. Five apertures are available, including a “Bokeh” setting. Shutter speed can also be adjusted to a minute degree; the range goes from a lightning quick 1/500 of a second to a full 10. Once the photo has been taken, press the eject button to view the visual bounty.

When announcing the Kickstarter for the Instant Kamera, a spokesperson for Rollei said: “[W]e’re confident that Rolleiflex Instant Kamera will evoke memories of days gone by when in the hands of people who grew up with one in the 60s. But we also want to introduce ourselves to a new generation of analog photographers to help them release their untapped creative potential.”

The Rolleiflex retails for $459. Hipsters and VSCO Girls rejoice.