Nons SL660 review: the magical film camera I fell in love with | Digital Trends

    “The Nons SL660 delivers a rewarding analog photography experience and beautiful images with retro charm.”


    Interchangeable lenses

    Great construct high quality

    Accessible technique to get into movie pictures

    Fun to make use of

    Delivers distinctive and exquisite photos


    Film is dear

    Getting appropriate focus and publicity is hard

    The product of a profitable Kickstarter marketing campaign, the Nons SL660 is now a actuality. This distinctive digicam presents the enjoyable of an instax digicam mixed with the premium construct high quality and the pliability of an interchangeable lens system.
    As somebody who grew up as a digital photographer, I’ve at all times envied the physicality of movie, and have regretted that so a lot of my photos are trapped on arduous drives and reminiscence playing cards. Printing at house is a headache, and ordering prints is dear. However, in the event you’re taking pictures rolls of movie, you then’ve both obtained to develop it your self or ship it off to be printed. That’s the place immediate movie is available in, and it presents another that mixes the immediacy of digital with the bodily nature of movie, whereas sidestepping the difficulties related to really getting your work printed.
    Nons SL660 design and operation

    The SL660 is a chunky beast of a digicam, however whereas it could be the scale of a DSLR, it’s nowhere close to as heavy to lug round. That’s as a result of a movie digicam doesn’t want the heaps of electronics which can be crammed inside your common digital digicam, nor does it require a terrific large lithium-ion battery (although it does have a small one built-in). That’s to not say that it’s cheaply made, and actually, it’s one of many extra solidly constructed cameras I’ve used. The metallic housing is reassuringly rugged, which is a welcome change from the plastic exteriors of many fashionable cameras.

    The controls could appear a bit alien to these extra used to digital cameras, but it surely’s actually fairly easy. The again hatch opens up for movie cartridges to be inserted, whereas on the left facet of the lens is the lever that engages the mirror and arms the digicam to take a photograph. You’ll wish to wait to press this till you might have recognized the scene you’re going to shoot — in any other case, you might by accident set off the shutter. The shutter button is positioned to the precise of the lens and operates as any digicam’s shutter button would.
    Andy Zahn / Digital Trends
    On prime of the digicam are a chilly shoe mount for varied equipment, the dial with which you choose the shutter velocity, and a tiny LCD display screen. This display screen shows the variety of remaining photographs within the movie cartridge, the remaining battery capability, and your mild meter. The mild meter reads the sunshine ranges within the course you’re aiming the digicam and tells you what F-stop to set your lens to for the proper publicity. This digicam is finest used with absolutely handbook lenses with mechanical apertures operated by way of a dial on the lens itself.
    However, it can be used with digital aperture lenses by setting the aperture with the lens mounted on a digital digicam earlier than detaching and mounting the lens on the SL660. The digital lens will retain the preset aperture after it’s set utilizing the digital digicam. While that is an efficient workaround, it’s actually one thing of a problem.
    Andy Zahn / Digital Trends
    On the again of the SL660 are the USB-C charging port, energy swap, and movie eject button. Once you might have snapped your shot, merely maintain down the movie eject button and the SL660 will spit your photograph out the facet, the place it would take a couple of minutes to develop. Due to the uncovered USB-C port, and the varied different unsealed openings within the digicam, I’d not use this digicam in even very mild precipitation.
    I examined the SL660 with the Nons 35mm f/2.4 lens. A 50mm f/1.8 lens can also be out there, as are adapters for varied lens mounts, together with Nikon F, Pentax Okay, M42, and Contax-Yashica.
    Nons SL660 picture high quality and efficiency

    Grading the SL660 on picture high quality based mostly on the everyday metrics of sharpness and different components that outline the imaging perfection sought by fashionable digital cameras can be neither truthful nor productive. For one factor, the imaging efficiency of the SL660 is dictated by the Fujifilm Instax Square movie it requires. This movie isn’t excessive decision, has very poor dynamic vary, and a somewhat excessive ISO of 800. Compounding this, the digicam makes use of an built-in optic to spice up 35mm format lenses to the bigger sq. format movie. The shutter velocity additionally maxes out at 1/250, which is absolutely very sluggish.
    The upshot is that the SL660 is finest utilized in low-contrast conditions, and if you wish to use wide-open aperture settings for wonderful swirly bokeh, you’ll both have to shoot in dim lighting or use impartial density filters to darken the scene. Also, due to the character of the movie and the built-in lens system of the digicam, don’t count on razor-sharp photos out of the SL660.
    Once you and the digicam are in sync, its obvious challenges metamorphose into the elements of creative model.

    All this must be mentioned and understood on the outset as a result of the SL660 is a digicam that requires you to develop intimately conversant in its quirks and foibles. Once you and the digicam are in sync, its obvious challenges metamorphose into the elements of creative model.
    Photos captured with the SL660 are likely to have a dreamy, aged high quality that to me evokes a wierd sense of nostalgia. There’s additionally one thing actually magical about seeing a picture seem on paper within the second after you’ve captured it. I additionally discover that capturing a digital photograph of the Instax print with the situation of the shot within the out-of-focus background makes for a really compelling topic for sharing on social media.
    Nons SL660 efficiency
    Andy Zahn / Digital Trends
    Mechanically, I by no means had any cause to complain in regards to the SL660. Its varied controls are very tactile and straightforward to function, and I discover the sounds attributable to the method of taking pictures images to be extraordinarily satisfying. A minor difficulty for me is that the built-in mild meter appears a bit unreliable, although that’s almost certainly on account of my inexperience with mild meters. I discover the most effective technique is to intention the digicam at varied factors all through the scene I intend to shoot, which helps me decide which settings will ship the optimum outcomes. I additionally had bother reaching correct focus as a result of considerably small measurement of the viewfinder.
    In regard to battery life, I obtained the digicam partly charged, and didn’t trouble to cost it earlier than taking pictures. As of this writing, I’ve shot round 30 photos, and have mistakenly left the digicam turned on a number of instances. Thankfully, it shuts off routinely after 10 minutes, and the battery has not noticeably depleted. Depending on how a lot you shoot, your expertise might range, however based mostly on how I’ve been utilizing the digicam, I’d be shocked if I wanted to cost it as soon as each three months.
    Nons SL660 worth and availability
    Andy Zahn / Digital Trends
    Starting at $600, the SL660 isn’t low-cost. If you desire a lens, the 50mm f/1.8 prices $50, whereas the 35mm f/2.4 will set you again $110. For the same worth, you would choose up an especially succesful fashionable digital digicam and seize extra detailed photos. Alternatively, you would get a Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo digicam for simply $200, which may seize digital images and act as a wi-fi Instax printer along with capturing Instax movie photos. However, the SL660 gives an expertise that digital can’t replicate, and it’s a a lot higher-quality possibility with higher versatility than cheap Instax cameras.
    Alternatively, Instax backs can be found for adapting skilled medium format cameras to shoot with immediate movie. This will ship higher-quality photos and a greater taking pictures expertise than the SL660, however there you’re spending lots of of {dollars} for the again, physique, and lens, probably touchdown you nicely over $1,000. The greatest draw back of the SL660 is that the Instax Square movie it requires prices $20 for a pack of two cartridges with 10 photographs every. That means each time you click on the shutter, you’re spending $1, and that’s significantly painful once you’re studying to make use of the digicam and are making lots of errors.
    The Nons SL660 presents a high-end immediate movie expertise
    Andy Zahn / Digital Trends
    Testing the Nons SL660 has been an unbelievable expertise. It has opened my eyes to the fun of taking pictures with movie, and to having bodily copies of the photographs I seize. When I take a photograph with one in every of my digital cameras, there’s little incentive to assume earlier than I shoot, and after I obtain the photographs to my pc, I’ll by no means take a look at them once more. The SL660 slows me down and forces me to compose every shot meticulously. With the ultimate photos printed out, I discover myself continuously flipping again by them and having fun with them immensely.

    This is a digicam for creating artwork and capturing lasting reminiscences outdoors of the jail of a pc arduous drive. Even for a photographer comparable to I’m, usually taking pictures with the Nikon Z9 and different cutting-edge digicam gear, the SL660 deserves a particular place in my package for moments I actually wish to savor. It’s not good by any means, however these flaws depend extra as character than cons. The solely actually unlucky side of this digicam is that the movie it requires is so costly, however that’s past the management of Nons.
    If you like pictures and are in search of an thrilling new expertise to encourage you and allow you to hone your abilities, then the Nons SL660 is what you’re in search of.

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