The Nons SL660 Is the Perfect Film Camera for the Modern Day

Instant photos with manual control

Key Takeaways

  • The Nons SL660 is a $500 Kickstarter manual camera that shoots Instax film.
  • With rising prices for film, developing, and used cameras, instant is now relatively cheap.
  • Film photography is ever more popular.
The Nons film camera with a Instax Square Film image leaning against it.

Nons

NONS SL660 takes all your old lenses, is totally manual, and captures photos onto instant film. It's hard to think of a better way to make a film camera in 2022. 

Film is far from dead. Despite rising prices and a lack of availability due to supply problems, film photography is only getting more popular. Even new films are being designed. And yet there's one big problem. Nobody but Leica is making film new cameras, and those cost more than a used car. Enter the Nons SL660, an all-manual instant camera whose time is right now. 

"The SL660 captures what film photographers love, which is that tactile manual feel when shooting. It uses what can be found on the market today—such as Canon EF lens and Fujifilm Instax Square instant film—which makes it way easier to use instead of searching for vintage lenses and film," photography blogger and enthusiast Andy Thomas told Lifewire via email. 

Price Watch

The lack of new cameras has led to a spike in used and vintage film camera prices. Film prices jump every year, and even commercial developing and printing are done on vintage lab machines. It used to be that instant photos—Polaroids, mostly—were prohibitively expensive at around a dollar a shot. Now, those prices are comparatively cheap. 

The $500 Nons SL660 is billed as an “interchangeable lens SLR analog instant camera.” It uses Fujifilm Instax Square instant film, like a smaller Polaroid. It uses the EF mount for lenses, which has been Canon’s standard SLR and DSLR mount since the 1980s. The twist is that you can use adapters to use lenses with Nikon F, Pentax K, Contax Yashica, and M42 mounts. In short, pretty much any mass-produced vintage lens other than Olympus. 

The Nons film camera with various lenses behind it.

Nons

For film photography, pretty much all you need is a box to hold the lens, and you’re good. But there are a few nice extras. There’s a film counter, a flash mount with sync, a bulb mode that lets you open the shutter for as long as you hold the shutter release, and—the most modern part of the whole setup—a li-ion battery rechargeable USB-C port. 

Shutter speeds are pedestrian, maxing out at just 1/250th sec (even basic old film SLRs manage at least 1/1000 sec), but you can always reduce the aperture on your fancy vintage lens to compensate. 

Finally, the camera is built from sturdy, anodized aluminum with a wooden handgrip. Built to last, that is. 

Brand New Retro

The Nons SL660, a Kickstarter sequel to the company's successful SL42, might be the perfect film camera for today. Unlike new instant cameras from Fujifilm and Polaroid, it has full manual control. Unlike other Instax-film-using cameras like those from Lomography, you can use proper, high-quality lenses. 

"I believe film is going through a revival because millennials are feeling a bit nostalgic and younger generations are discovering the magic of film for the first time," professional photographer Ryan Inman told Lifewire via email. 

Nons

And unlike all those other vintage film cameras, you get all the fun of non-digital photography without the cost, hassle, and frankly unpredictable quality of local developing and printing. As mentioned above, once you factor in the price rises of film and its requirements, instant starts looking very affordable. And Fujifilm's Instax is used in so many cameras and printers that it's easily available and probably here to stay for years to come. 

"Film forces you to slow down and really put thought into every frame before hitting the shutter. There's something special about that that cannot be replicated on today's mirrorless systems that do the work for you. In a way, film forces you to do the work up front, and it takes care of the post-processing. That's why film is something special," says Inman. 

Film is fun, and the Nons manages to balance quality with simplicity, making for a great combination. It's unlikely that we'll ever see film cameras from the big manufacturers, who are already struggling against the takeover of phone cameras. But if we can get niche, enthusiast-built cameras like this SL660, who cares?

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