The Rise of the REFLEX

The Rise of the REFLEX | Safelight Berlin

What? What's going on?! A brand new analogue SLR camera?!

Yes, Reflex is a modern update of the timeless manual SLR 35mm film camera.

The camera 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. 

And here we are. Reflex is 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 ships with a universal M42 mount. Alternative mounts are available for 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  (only if *£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.

Camera Specifications:

  • 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
  • Exposure: Manual - Aperture Priority (+ 4 stops EV)
  • Shutter Speeds: 1s - 1/4000th, Time and Bulb
  • Metering: AV + Spot + 4 stops EV
  • Controller: Arduino based modular design
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (BLE) enabled 
  • Body: Magnesium Alloy
  • Weight: 490g
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 74.5mm x 34mm
  • Electronic system: 5v Ion Lithium rechargeable via USB-C
  • Resolution: Zero Megapixel

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 team of photographers has been out and about testing the Reflex I. Below are some of the shots they have taken with the camera. Other test shots can be found on our Instagram page:

Current state of development - At the point of launch there are two stages of prototypes, a design and a mechanical prototype. These two being separate units is because for the design prototype Reflex wanted the actual dimensions and weight so they 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 they built a second mechanical prototype based on the same chassis, on Reflex team 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.

If you want to support Reflex's project check their Kickstarter campaign. There are many components to purchase in wholesale quantities, and so many aspects that we simply can’t manage without support from the film photography community. 

You can also find Reflex on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook here:

Support them, support analog photography! 

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