Reflex is a modern update of the timeless manual SLR 35mm film camera. Distinctive in its modular design, it combines contemporary mechanical and electrical engineering with the classic design of an analogue camera, making it the first newly designed manual SLR system in over 25 years.
Film photography, much like vinyl amongst music lovers, has proven timeless with a large, loyal and constantly growing fanbase of photographers and enthusiasts who cherish the tangible format of film. Despite the vast selection of digital cameras on the market and the rapid advancement of smartphone camera quality, analogue photography has proven irreplaceable.
Reflex pairs the nostalgia of film with high-quality technology, to bring the experience of shooting on film to a new generation of photographers.
Inspired by modern design and technology, Reflex I has a number of key features which update the classic SLR system:
- Modularity - We wanted Reflex to give photographers the freedom to personalise their own camera system. Evolution in design has led us to look at products in a more modular way. This is why the Reflex I has an interchangeable lens mount and film back - making it easier to use lenses you already own from other brands and change film while out and about.
- Compatibility and Open Source - As well as being able to mount various lens types, Reflex I is designed to be compatible with add-ons via third party accessories or personal design (3D printing) - giving you even more freedom to create a unique system. In fact, once Reflex is officially released, we will make most of the hardware and electronic designs freely available on our site.
- Connectivity - Reaching our stretch goal of £150,000 will allow us to create Reflex I with in-built BLE technology, so it can be connected to a user's smartphone - allowing you to make notes and capture meta-data about each shot you take and makes it easier to log details.
I-Plate - Interchangeable Lens Mount
Previously, buying a camera from a particular brand meant people were locked into buying and using lenses from the same manufacturer. This can be frustrating and costly. Reflex’s Interchangeable mount plate makes shooting with lenses produced by other brands possible, meaning photographers can continue using the products they already own and don’t have to purchase expensive new kit.
Reflex comes with a choice of universal M42 mount, Nikon F, Olympus OM. Canon FD and Pentax PK
I-Back - Daylight Changeable Film Back
The Reflex camera’s interchangeable back makes the process of changing film easier than ever. This feature gives photographers the option of having a roll of film pre-loaded, so they can quickly change to a different film mid-shoot. It is also a much more convenient way to load film onto the camera.
Flash and LED
Reflex is the first analog camera to have both flash and continuous light source (LED) on board giving photographers the freedom to choose their preferred method of lighting. Both flash and LED have 3 intensities.
The Reflex app (*£150k STRETCH GOAL)
Analogue photographers are familiar with the situation. You take a great shot, but you cannot remember what camera settings you used to capture it. Our plan, if we reach our £150,000 stretch goal, is to develop the camera to be connected to an accompanying Reflex app, which will automatically log the settings of each film loaded and each shot taken and will send a push notification to your phone - giving the option to make notes and describe the shot you’ve just taken.
- Type: Single Lens Reflex Camera
- Format: 135 film, 35mm/FF
- System: Reflex RM
- Lens Mount: Reflex I-Plate (in M42, Nikon F, Canon FD, Olympus OM, Pentax PK)
- Focus: Manual
- Film Loading: Reflex I-Back
- Film Advance/Rewind: Manual, Double Stroke
- Exposure: Manual - Aperture Priority (+ 4 stops EV)
- DOF: Inverted Preview
- Viewfinder: x0.86 Magnification, +90% Coverage, Glass Pentaprism
- Shutter Speeds: 1s - 1/4000th, Time and Bulb, Flash Sync: 1/125th
- Metering: AV + Spot + 4 stops EV (LED readout)
- ISO: 25-6400
- Controller: Arduino Based, Modular Design
- Connectivity: Bluetooth (BLE) Enabled
- Body: Magnesium Alloy
- Body Weight: 490g
- Dimensions: 134mm x 74.5mm x 34mm
- Electronic system: 5v Input, Ion Lithium Rechargeable via USB-C
- Resolution: Zero Megapixels
From professionals who have been using analogue cameras for years to photography newcomers keen to explore using film to students learning about the format, Reflex aims to make film photography accessible to anyone.
From its sleek and compact casing, to its interchangeable back (which makes it easy to load film rolls and allows to change backs mid-film) - Reflex has been designed with simplicity and modularity in mind. Analogue is a versatile format, perfect for shooting all manner of subjects, from portraits to landscapes. And, with an accessible price tag, Reflex aims to open up the experience of shooting on film to everyone.
Reflex has been developed by the creative team behind If You Leave, the renowned photography publisher and social community, founded by Laurence Von Thomas in 2009.
Laurence, CEO of Reflex and creator of If You Leave, first had the idea to create a modular, modern update on the manual SLR camera years ago.
Besides having worked in film industry with leading camera people and shooting on 35mm film himself for over 20 years, he has also been part of an analog photography feedback-loop over the last decade with the If You Leave project. In that time, the brand has hosted photography showcases around the world, published numerous photographic journals and amassed a social following of over 600k, including over 100k on Instagram alone. If You Leave is now seen as one of the leading forums for film and non-film photographers to gain exposure for their work.
In December 2016, a flood at their headquarters in London destroyed a majority of If You Leave’s books and magazines, leading to a temporary hiatus for the project. During this time, the team turned to developing the Reflex concept which was started in 2014 when realising the Nikon FM10 was the last remaining entry/mid range level 35mm SLR in production.
When developing the concept for Reflex, it had occurred to us that the easiest thing to do would be to reverse-engineer an existing camera system and add new technology to it.
This, however, felt like a missed opportunity to build a completely new system from the ground up with modern design philosophies considered from the start.
There are lots of great SLR cameras out there and we have no intention to compete, outdo or replace these. In fact, some of the classic cameras that we looked at for inspiration where the Contax S, Pentax AP, Nikon F2 and FM2, Zeiss Contaflex, Olympus Om4, Minolta XD7 Canon AE-1 and many more iconic SLR's.
Many of these can still be found in decent second hand condition. But when last July Nikon (or Cosina) pulled the FM10 out of production, this meant the end for entry and mid-range 35mm SLR's. In Fact there is only one 35mm SLR left in production and that is the Nikon F6, which is by all standards a great camera, but it is a 13 year old design and sells for $2669 on nikonusa.com
With Reflex, we want to offer an alternative to a second-hand camera being the only affordable option available.
Outside the Kickstarter campaign, the Reflex I comes standard equipped with an M42 mount. The M42 was the original mount on the original Contax S and Pentax AP and set a standard for many lenses to be made with this 42mm screw mount.
We refurbish two lenses that are still widely available;
A Helios-44 58mm f2.0 which is a high quality Russian copy of a Zeiss Biotar.
A Pentacon 50mm f1.8 which is a Meyer-Optik Görlitz Oreston design.
We refurbish these lenses, package them safely and send them off with a warranty so you can get started.
We have been been out and about testing the Reflex I. Below are some of the shots we have taken with the camera. Other test shots can be found on our Instagram page: www.instagram.com/shotonreflex
Camera Testers! We have been getting a lot of requests from people who want to test the camera. We would be more than happy to have a broad range of beta testers once the production prototype is ready to go out. We have indicated on the timeline that this will be between February and March. Please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflex was developed by bringing together a highly skilled team of designers, technologists, engineers, photographers and creatives.
We have developed a series of prototypes, which we have used to take photos as part of our testing.
Current state of development - At the point of launch we have two stages of prototypes, a design and a mechanical prototype. These two being separate units is because for the design prototype we wanted the actual dimensions and weight so we could test the ergonomics and represent the final design. Tight CNC machining and 3D printing tolerances of the body and chassis however don't allow for all parts to fit. This is why we built a second mechanical prototype based on the same chassis, on we assembled all of the mechanical parts, both of-the-shelf and custom made. Examples of photos taken with this prototype can be found on our Instagram page.
Both units are optically functional.
The electronic system is Arduino based, which allowed 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
One of the revelations at the heart of this project is that for the last 25 years, the main camera manufacturers (Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Leica) have remained focussed on the development of mechanical and electrical improvements for digital cameras - yet many of the more complicated parts are made and sold by third party suppliers and are available at competitive cost. Part of the format technical overhaul is that Reflex will have components that are up to date, combined with other parts have never been included in a film SLR.
Arrangements with manufacturers and distributors are in place for the unit quantity we are aiming for with Kickstarter funding.
This camera is the first product from the Reflex brand and is the introduction to an innovative new photographic system which will continue to grow. This launch will be followed by a range of accompanying accessories and technology in the next few years.
Running a sustainable brand and Kickstarter.
Keen to outline environmental concern/awareness, *Reflex is certified with a ‘Climate Aware’ certification. While we aim to offset our footprint and hope to become a Carbon Neutral business in the near future, potentially even carbon positive one day, we look to make eco friendly choices along the way, and changes when possible/achievable.
What it means:
Companies that are Carbon Aware have a holistic understanding of their environmental impacts. These companies have taken the initiative to assess the carbon and water footprint of every purchase they make. This provides a strong foundation to manage their impacts and make choices that enable them to improve over time.
Making space for new, modern and alternative eco-resources, we have been looking into/considering a variety of sustainable materials - cork leather and composite, mushroom packaging, green cell foam, Biofabricated leather, to name a few - regarding all aspects: production, manufacture, packaging and additional accessories.
We are the Reflex team and we are on a mission to bring analogue photography into the 21st century, so it can be experienced and enjoyed by a new generation of photographers.
- Laurence Von Thomas - Design and Founder of Reflex Laurence is a photographer, curator, publisher and designer. After years of experience in the photography and filmmaking industries, Laurence launched If You Leave, a project, quickly became one of the leading online portals for up-and-coming and professional photographers - gathering over 700,000 followers across Tumblr and Instagram and leading to a series of successful books, magazines and exhibition.
- Xavier Guerra - Junior Designer/CAD Drafter Xavier is a design student at FBAUL, Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade de Lisboa and joined Laurence over the summer to work on the design and CAD drafting.
- Simon Barnett - Production and Mechanical Engineer Simon is a Production Engineer at McLaren Racing. He has been part of the F1 team at Mclaren since 1991 (26 years). With Reflex, he has consulted and helped us with: composite part design, design engineering, project management, project planning, implementing new technology and creating designs for manufacturing.
- David Riesenberg - Consultant Design and Mechanical Design David has worked as an industrial designer at Costadesign, Ben Bat, Outform Ltd. and studied at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Ben Gurion University.
- Dominic Lane - Consultant Prototyping and Electronics Dominic has worked with Reflex on electrical engineering. His past experience includes working with Arduino to help them with their early prototypes.
- Abtech Precision Engineering - Prototyping and Parts Machining We have been working with the Abtech team, which specialises in precision machined parts for a variety of industries including: Aviation, Automotive, Surveillance Equipment, Pneumatic/Hydraulic Switching Systems, and MOD Industries.
- Kristof Van Proeyen - Typography and Graphic Design
- Carla Cabras - Graphic Design and Layout
- Parallax Coop - Product Photography
- Opening track for film by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi
Thank you for taking the time to check out our Kickstarter page. We appreciate all the support we've had to this point and hope you can help us bring Reflex to life. If you know anyone who might be interested in Reflex and you'd like to help us spread the word, please do take a look at our social channels linked below.
Risks and challenges
We have been working in the photographic industry for almost a decade and have been developing our Reflex I prototypes with the help of our community and an expert team of product design and engineering experts since 2015.
As discussed above the manufacturing of the Reflex has been accelerated due the availability of some key components that we’re able to integrate into the design. We have design and engineering prototypes of the camera and a well developed logistics and supply chain.
Our product roadmap is building towards product testing by April 2018, and we’ve built in enough time for the inevitable hiccups along the way before delivery in August 2018.
All that said, our team is small and the capital from the Kickstarter is essential for the life of the business and the future of the product. The more money we raise, the more personnel we can surround the project with, which will be key to ensuring product readiness.
Our commitment to the Kickstarter community is that we we will be open at all times about the Reflex’s journey, from now and then after we have it in your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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