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Exploded view of 35mm camera parts (Pic: MiNT Camera)
The new 35mm camera project was announced in 2022 (Pic: MiNT Camera)

MiNT Camera‘s proposed compact film camera will use an autofocus system the company claims has never before been used in a 35mm camera.

The camera will use lidar – otherwise known as “light detection and ranging” – which has already been used to improve autofocus in recent models of Apple’s iPhone.

The news was unveiled in the latest blog post update from MiNT Camera’s Gary Ho since the project was announced last year.

He said: “Having autofocus in a film camera isn’t a big deal. Companies have perfected the technology years ago. However, what truly excites me about the MiNT35 project is that we’re using a new autofocus technology in a 35mm film camera, which has never been done before in any 35mm camera.

“Unlike traditional ranging methods like phase detection or contrast detection, the Mint35 uses lidar, a relatively new ranging technology that has gained popularity in recent years and can even be found in the newest iPhone models.”

He added that the developers had found previous autofocus modules were no longer available as the technology was now deemed obsolete. “Undeterred, we took the risk and decided to reinvent a new AF module from scratch. To our surprise and delight, the latest tests revealed that our lidar-based approach outperformed all the outdated methods — a truly thrilling and rewarding outcome after the tremendous effort we invested in making it work.”

He added: “The best thing about using lidar is its accuracy and impressive range capabilities. This is particularly useful in large apertures, where the depth-of-field requires precise focussing. Plus, it’s safe to use.”

The lidar module will, however, be more expensive than other options, Ho said.

The blog post also showed a blurred back view of the prototype camera in shots where Ho asked readers to vote on which style of covering should be used on the production camera.

The images can be seen below:

Blurred view of MiNT35 camera (Pic: MiNT Camera)

Blurred view of MiNT35 camera (Pic: MiNT Camera)

The new 35mm camera comes as Ricoh – the optical technology company which owns Pentax – also announced it would be releasing a film compact camera.

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Stephen Dowling
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2 months ago

I have never seen an advance lever over the viewfinder like that, it probably doesn’t matter much but could be a bit odd if you want to take pictures in succession while looking thru the viewfinder