Mint Camera has been developing a new 35mm film camera for more than a year and today it revealed that not only is it coming this summer, but it will also be an autofocus-equipped remake of the Rollei 35.
Called the Rollei 35AF, Mint was able to come to an official agreement with Rollei to not only use its classic logo but also the name.
“We are thrilled to announce that Rollei has graciously granted us permission to use their logo. This collaboration marks an exciting step forward for all parties involved,” Mint writes in a blog post.
“The Rollei brand will undoubtedly increase awareness for this camera. After pouring our hearts and souls into this project, I really hope the Rollei 35AF becomes accessible to a broader audience.”
Mint’s founder Gary Ho says that the development of what is now known as the Rollei 35AF came about because the original is much beloved (thanks to its compact, unique design) but imperfect, specifically citing three issues that stood out to him.
“Not everyone can master the manual zone focus system as the focus can only be guessed. The flash can only be added as a separate accessory at the bottom of the camera, resulting in an ergonomically strange and aesthetically displeasing setup. Repairing these cameras is becoming increasingly challenging due to the scarcity of skilled technicians and parts,” Ho writes.
The Original Rollei 35 was made in Germany, was revealed at the 1966 Photokina trade show, and mass produced for global distribution later that summer. At the time, the Rollei 35 was the smallest 135 film camera on the market and to this day remains one of the smallest ever made.
It was an extremely popular camera and over a 30-year period and more than two million Rollei 35 series cameras were produced. It remains one of PetaPixel‘s recommendations for the best film cameras even today.
“I know many analog friends had high hopes when purchasing the original Rollei 35, attracted by its appearance, only to discover that the developed pictures weren’t exactly what they expected,” he continues.
“We are about to change that.”
Mint’s new Rollei 35AF shares much in common with the original design, at least in terms of compactness and general aesthetics. Mint has not shared final images of the camera, however, so there are still many unanswered questions about the updated design. Ho says that the camera is on schedule for availability by summer 2024 (but has not shared how much it might cost) and has set up a web page where interested buyers can join a wait list to purchase the camera when it is ready to ship.
Image credits: Mint Camera