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instantphoto.eu              MINT InstantKon RF70  

The MINT InstantKon RF70 camera
fills finally a gap that Fuji didn't want close. Fuji makes wonderful instant film that could be professionally used, but only makes crappy cameras with very limited specifications. The Mint camera has many features that other Instax cameras do not have, as: rangefinder, extended automatic mode, manual mode, B mode, long exposure times, built-in flash, flash socket, multiple exposure.

Technical Specifications:

Film: Fujifilm Instax Wide Film
Exposure Area: 62mm x 99mm

Aperture: f/5.6, f/6.7, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22
Lens: 3 elements, front element glass, 2 aspherical lenses plastic, f=93mm
Focal length: 0.75m - ∞ , manual focus
Shutter speed: 1/500s - 1 second (A mode), longest ~10 minuntes (B mode – long exposure)
Viewfinder: Separate rangefinder, optic viewfinder, 0.44x
Shutter: AUTO, A+1, A-1, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, B, R-sync flash  
Flash: Built-in electronic flash (adjusts according to ambient light)
Battery: 2 x AA alkaline battery
Others: Shutter release cable jack, tripod hole, neck strap eyelets, 2.5mm external flash jack
Size: 182 x 122 x 64mm
Weight: 806 g
Warranty: 5 years

Below is a description of the camera, followed be an extensive review, some pictures of the camera and some taken with it. There were some difficulties to get the parcel, first it was stuck at the customs, then in a severe delivery problem by the transport company. I had to drive a long way to get my parcel. So unpacking was done in the boot of my car on a parking of the motorway.

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The set, nicely packed.

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What's in the filter box.

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The camera box.

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Instructions and a word from Mint.

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The camera and batteries.

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The camera unboxed.

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Front. Cell window, viewer and two rangefinder windows.

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Back side. Viewfinder eyepiece, back opening botton, indication LEDs, rangefinder eyepiece, LED screen.

../jpgother/mint_instakon_rf70_IMG_0167.JPGTop. Flash and flash button, Setting dial, eject lever witth shutter button. Speed settings from 1 to 1/500, B, Automatic and + or -1, rear sync flash (flash fires at the end of exposure time to take ambient light)  and Off. Half depressing the shutter button lights the indication LEDs green or red and can be used as a meter. Just change the settings until the green light confirms.

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Bottom. Tripod mount and battery compartment.

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Battery compartment open.

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Right side. Strap lugs.

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Left side with grip.

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Back open.

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Film cartridge installed.

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Camera open. Distance and aperture setting around the lens.

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Front.

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Camera open. Seen from the top.

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Camera open. Seen from the bottom. The tripod mount has
a Manfrotto RC2 type Rapid Connect Adapter installed.

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Viewfinder eyepiece, indication LED lamps, rangefinder eyepiece, LED screen on with exposure number and battery indication. The camera powers on when opened, but can be shut off via the dial. There is a green LED if exposure is o.k., red in all othe cases. The LED lamp flashes if the flash is charged.  In case of over-exposure, the LCD screen indicates the ND filter value (2, 4 or 8), a very handy feature.

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Camera mounted on a tripod.

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The camera fits into the bag of a Fuji 500AF.

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Size comparison:
RF70: Size: 182 x 122 x 64 mm, 806 g
Fuji Instax AF500: 174.5 x 120 x 76 mm, 655g
Fuji Instax 210: 178.5 x 117.5 x 94.5 mm, 610g
Lomo Instant Wide: 190 x 120 x 95 mm, 640 g
Polaroid 100: 190 x 115 x 65 mm, 1043 g

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Size comparison again.

The camera is small as you can see from the pictures. If you ever had Fujifilm GA645 or a GF670 (or a Voigtländer Bessa III), all made by Cosina, you will love the camera, it seems to be enspired by these models. It feels solid. Handling is easy if you are used to big rangefinders, it's a big step forward for instant photography.

Just to give you an idea, some first photos taken with this camera, all automatic mode (A):

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A, F22,
∞, first photo on the motorway..

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A, F22,  ∞, Cassel, very sunny day.

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A+1, F22,  ∞, Cassel, severe backlight.

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A, F22,  3m, Cassel.

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A, F22, 4m, Cassel, beautiful car.

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A, F22, 0.75m.

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A, F16, 0.75m, R-sync flash with ambient lamplight.

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A, F5.6. 2m, focus on the first candle, veranda on a very dull day. Shallow depth of field, as promised.

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A+1, F16, 2m, very dull light in veranda.

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A, F16, 2m with flash. The flash can help a lot and the exposure system gets it right.

There are more photos, more testing and a continued review on a second page here.

My personal conclusion:

This camera is much better than any other Instax camera I have (and I have quite some...), much better than the Fuji AF500 as well. It can make the photos Instax film deserves. Automatic mode gets it right in an astonishing high percentage of cases. Manual mode gives you all the possibilities you may want.

Handling is easy, fluid and logic. All settings are easy. The ejection lever is a good idea. If you take photos in quiet places, you can eject under your coat or even outside. It also makes double or multiple exposure as easy as possible.

The exposure system is fine. The automatic exposure is very good, when you touch the shutter button, it lights a green lamp if it's fine, red in all other cases. The lamp can't be overlooked as it's next to the viewer. In case of over-exposure risk, the camera gives the ND filter value (2, 4 or 8) on the LCD screen when you touch the shutter button. That's a marvellous help. You can also measure the important part of your picture by pointing the camera towards it, half press the shutter and then frame your picture and shoot.

In manual mode you can use the exposure system as a light meter. Half press the shutter and ajust speed or aperture until the lamp is green. The error margin of the sytem wasn't bigger than that of my Gossen DigiSix. Instax film has a strange sensivity behavior: in strong sunlight it's 1600 ISO, in low light 400 ISO and only in between it's 800 ISO. If you take this into account when metering, you get perfect results. The camera compensates this behavior automatically, to my taste it sometimes overcompensates a bit, which can be overridden with A+ and A- setting.

The manual focussing is fine as well.
The separate rangefinder is less cumbersome than I feared, its position just under the viewfinder makes it easy to use. I have no problems with this rangefinder, it's big enough, easy to use and gives good results.

The camera powers up when unfolded. The struts do not fall into place, you have to straighten them. There is an "Off" setting on the setting dial l if you want to leave it open. To fold it again, you have to set the lens to infinity and push the button under the lens, it folds as any folding camera. You can leave a filter on the lens when folding, but I would not recommend to do so, it's easily forgotten when you use it again.

The camera feels solid for a camera with a plastic body. And then there is the question of the price. Is it expensive? In my opinion, it's not. This is a small series of hand-assembled cameras, nearly all parts had to be custom made. Compare it to the few modern medium format folders that are still on the (second hand) market. A Bessa III is about 3 times the price. The Fuji GF670 doesn`t count, as it can no longer be repaired. A Makina? Twice the price at least. And this is a new camera, it has a 5 years warranty. So no, seen what you get it's not expensive.

Maybe there will be a cheaper, automatic only version in the future. Why do I think so? In the manual, there are 2 versions, the one I have and an all automatic one. So maybe....

There are a few things which I would like to see:

- a lens shade, as the lens is prone to flare
- a threaded adapter for stardard lens accessories
- a tripod socket centered between front and back. It's very close to the front. As I use Rapid Connect plates, these are not as solidly fixed as they could be.
- an automatic night mode like the Lomo Wide
- firmer clicks on the setting dial, it can be moved inadvertently
- a longer course of the shutter button
- a strap lug on the top of the left side to be able to attach a grip
- a less fiddely button to close the camera
- a standard PC flash socket or a hot shoe.

To make it clear: these are just minor concerns which could be taken into account if the camera evolves. There is no perfect camera. This one is already extremly fine as it is.

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