Monday, August 11, 2014

I Stand Corrected (TLR-alike digital is apparently a thing)

Upon conclusion of my earlier post I was prompted to scour the annals of the Great Mighty Internet for TLR-alike digital cameras and patents that have already been established, and lo and behold discovered a dated PetaPixel article detailing a now out of production toy camera that Rolleiflex, the original household name of medium format TLR, released in 2011.

As a first production model of the concept of camera I had in mind, it's relatively close, but certainly priced beyond the reasonable and pared down to aforementioned toy camera status. Down to the need for the faux film winding lever needing a spin to "crank" the camera for each shot, it's less a photographic tool and more a novelty item.

But the concept is there. And with the lower prices of similar technology today (hell, it was lower in price then than what was charged), is more than viable. While my perceived ideal naturally entails a larger sensor able to take advantage of Micro Four Thirds glass, a fixed lens system with, say, a 1/1.7" sensor (or even a 1/2.3" sensor just to get it out the door for first run) is more than adequate to cater to the initial target audience to establish a commercial foothold and thus permit production of a higher grade of camera based around a similar layout.

Call me foolish for my insistence that this model of camera has any life left in it, but I am wholly convinced it would make waves if marketed intelligently to the right crowd (e.g. Instagrammers). I refuse to believe the technology itself is too expensive to gamble on a new design when Panasonic is selling off its smaller Micro Four Thirds bodies with a kit lens for less than $200. With WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity and an intelligent interface able to push images up to social media quickly it seems remarkably fun. Or maybe I missed the boat when everyone started using their cellphones above dedicated cameras for any and all things. But still see enough people indulging in dedicated point and shoot cameras to indicate that this may very well have its appeal, again, especially with the Instagram crowd. As always, it's all in the marketing, and faux vintage is all too easy to capitalize upon at the current stage of our (well, at least American) cultural trends.