Meet the Nons SL42, A New Instant Film SLR Camera with M42 Lens Mount

Meet the Nons SL42, A New Instant Film SLR Camera with M42 Lens Mount

679 383 James Tocchio

A Hong Kong based company known as Nons Studio has just launched a Kickstarter campaign which seeks to raise over $25,000 via crowdfunding to produce a new instant film camera. The key features of the SL42, as it’s called, make it something of a unique proposition – it’s an SLR camera capable of fitting any M42 universal screw mount lens with a manual shutter that exposes Fujifilm Instax Mini film. Pretty interesting!

The Kickstarter campaign says that the company has spent “400 days” researching, developing, and prototyping the SL42. The end result looks to be a thoughtfully-designed camera with older-school functionality than the typical Fuji Instax camera, cameras which tend to be point-and-shoot affairs.

With the SL42, shutter speed, aperture, and focus are all manually controlled, just like with similar M42 35mm film SLRs from decades ago. The campaign even highlights the effectiveness of the SLR format, claiming that it’s easy to compose a shot and preview depth-of-field. This could make the SL42 a great camera for those seeking more control in their instant photography (we’ll have to wait for a review copy to find out).

M42 lenses were originally created in the 1930s by Carl Zeiss, and later went on to great success with Pentax’s Universal Screw Mount cameras, such as the Spotmatic. There were hundreds of lenses of all different focal lengths made over the span of 80 years, giving the SL42 massive versatility right from the start.

Made for 35mm film, M42 lenses perform a bit differently when shooting Fuji Instax film. Since the image area of Fuji’s Instax film is so much larger than that of the 35mm (full frame) image area, images shot with the SL42 display a circular border. This is bound to be a polarizing byproduct of the design.

Would be backers can fund the project in the first 24 hours for about $170 US (limited to 15 backers). After the first 24 hours the price jumps to about $180 (limited to 35 backers), and then jumps again to $200 (available to all). After the Kickstarter campaign is over, and assuming it’s successfully funded and produced, the Nons SL42 is projected to cost $299.

Kickstarter is a crowd-funding website that allows the public (backers) to help bring creative projects to life by pledging money to the project’s creators. Once a project is fully funded, the payments are sent from backers to the project creators. After that, it’s up to the creators to make good on their promises, and distribute rewards (if offered) to their backers.

As it pertains to the photography community, typical rewards come in the form of whatever product the backers backed. In this way, Kickstarter has acted like a pre-order portal for companies like Peak Design, Lomography, Yashica, Reflex, and FILM Ferrania. In some cases, backers have never received the promised rewards due to project delays or, in some cases, business failures. This is a risk in any Kickstarter campaign.

The Nons SL42 campaign is targeting August 2020 for a delivery date. If and when it gets funded, we’ll have to wait and see. You can explore the project further via their Kickstarter page here.

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio
13 comments
  • This is brilliant, I would love to have one sometime soon.

  • Seems a little silly. Wastes part of the “film” (Instax film). Would like to see someone develop an instant 35mm film, positive or negative, similar to Polaroid Polachrome of the past.

    • Did you shoot Polachrome yourself? If so, do you still have slides? I’d love to see examples.

      • No, never did, though not long ago I started to make an attempt. Bought a used processor, but gave it away after I could not find affordable film and processing pack. Still intrigued with the idea. May try again? Probably not? Just watched a couple of YouTube videos about it. Results not too impressive. Processed film was scratched and dirty, and images were dim and unimpressive. Seems like a neat idea though.

  • This is certainly interesting. Not sure if the circular image is a deal breaker for me or not. Need to think on it some. AND look to see if or how many sample photos I can find.
    It seems like the use of good M42 lenses will be hitting the limits of what Instax film is capable of.
    Lastly, it just occurs to me that a body cap pinhole lens might be able to use more of the available film area? Which just adds to its appeal for me.

    Thank you VERY much for letting us know about this, James!

    • Hmmm, no meter in camera and, apparently, no auto return mirror…neither are my preferred set up for SLRs but I decided to back this. 🙂
      Hoping to get a cool new camera in August! (And will be pleased to get one by Xmas…)

  • Not falling for that trap again.
    Jesus, just bring back the Fuji FP 100 so I can use it
    at my Mamiya Universal 6×9 with professional results !

  • Circular image would be a deal-breaker for me. Still, in what universe is a new film camera not a good thing.

  • Interesting name for this Hong Kong start-up. I believe Nons means “no way” in Cantonese.

  • Long after 135 mm was well established with the professional photographers, even up to the 60s, ocasional photographers used 6×6 and 6×4,5 out of the reason that those pictures could be watched 1:1. They did not have enlargers.
    Now somebody wants to sell us a picture even tinier than 135 format?

  • I love the concept, and having one would be fun (it doesn’t hurt that I have a couple of M42 lenses sitting around). On the other hand, I have become conditioned to view Kickstarters, especially in the camera realm, with suspicion. It’ll be tough to get me to part with $200 in the early stages of this.

  • They should have used Canon EOS mount. The number of lenses adaptable to EOS is enormous. Tilt/shift lenses will cover the entire frame, but it would also be possible to adapt medium format lenses.

  • Say what!? It’s a no name SLR that uses M42 mount lense and uses Instax film? Can you say “Millenial Bullsh*t”.

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James Tocchio

James Tocchio

James Tocchio is a writer and photographer, and the founder of Casual Photophile. He’s spent years researching, collecting, and shooting classic and collectible cameras. In addition to his work here, he’s also the founder of the online camera shop Fstopcameras.com.

All stories by:James Tocchio