Nons Teaser image for 35mm Rangefinder

Squaring up – Nons Tease 35mm Rangefinder

A little unexpected pre Christmas surprise arrived this month. Nons are teasing a new camera. But this is no instax SLR. What we may see is the first non-Leica 35mm rangefinder to be released in  over a decade. But this Nons 35mm has a format twist.

Nons are well known now for their SL series of instax SLR. I had expected a passive EF roll film (likely 35mm) SLR from them at some point. But nope ! In their history of being a disruptor they’ve torn up the playbook once again.

Nons Rangefinder view through viewfinder
I missed the focus square and assumed this was a SLR. Image by NOns and used with kind permission

They’ve only gone and made a 35mm rangefinder !!

Hang on – Only Leica does those

Leica re-launched the M6 last year adding a 3rd 35mm rangefinder to their portfolio. This is an original M6 “Classic”. Noqqe, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes. for almost a decade since Cosina stopped making the Voigtländer Bessa series rangefinders in 2015, Leica have had the45mm rangefinder show to themselves. Oddly MiNT, Nons’s arch rivals make a instax rangefinders but not a roll film one. Things are a bit different in digital land but Leica still holds the Lux crown their as well.

But Nons look set to change that

.So what’s it look like ?

Good question but no idea. I suspect this is a prototype camera. In fact the only image of the camera is the viewfinder shot above. I’m hoping we get the anodised aluminium of the SL660 rather than the plastic of the SL42 but we’ll need to wait and see and the former is likely to add costs.

Canon Canonet
Canon Canonet 35mm Rangefinder from 1960’s

Whether the camera has a fixed lens à la Yashica Electro 35 or interchangeable like the Leicas is not known. It won’t be a compact like the legions of Japanese 1970’s compact Konica C35 clones . Whilst it may look like a clssic rangefinder like my Canonet pictured above, I do wonder if the SL660 styling will be evident

Nons SL660 in Christmas mode
Nons SL660 in Christmas mode

And what’s the Spec ?

Spec details are also sketchy but Nons posted 3 images you see here on the 14th of December on their facebook & insta streams. They have confirmed to me this is a 35mm but a rangefinder not a SLR ( I missed the patch). Nons also confirmed what you can see in the photos is that this shoots in a 24x24mm square format.

Nons Teaser image for 35mm Rangefinder
Nons Teaser image for 35mm Rangefinder. Image used with kind permission from Nons

That was a historically format that never quite tooks off. You do find it on many cameras notably the Robot cameras, Zeiss Ikon Tenax series but it never had the appeal of half frame . Square format rangefinders were made notably the Robot Royal 24 and the Mamiya Sketch. The format has oddly limped on today with the Lomography Diana Mini shooting it

Nons Teaser image for 35mm Rangefinder. Image used with kind permission from Nons
Nons Teaser image for 35mm Rangefinder. Image used with kind permission from Nons

Beyond that at the time of typing nothing else is known. As well as their Instax SLR, Nons also have a set of EF mount lenses (50/1.8 & 35/2.8). intended for use on the SL cameras. Analog Cafe does a nice review of the 35mm lens.

My gut feeling is the lenses are from a generic lens manufacturer but have on Nons specification the EF mount. What is a big step up is to have rangefinder coupled lens as we seem to have here.

It’s pretty safe money to say the camera will have a leaf shutter and the square format suggests that as well.

Hang on-
What’s that on the right in their last Photo ?

You noticed too ? well spotted

Crop of above image
Crop of above image

That looks like a ‘roid but not one I know. I certainly isn’t a rangefinder. so are Nons sneakily showing us another prototype here ? Or is it just a modded Polaroid owned by their team ?

So What’s the timescale for this ?

Nons haven’t said. The camera is clearly a prototype but I think we’ll probably see a build up towards a Kickstarter launching in the spring with production aimed for Q3 or Q4 2024. Pricing is again unknown but it will be less than a Leica !!!

One thought on “Squaring up – Nons Tease 35mm Rangefinder”

  1. Hello
    Square with 35mm wide was a huge success but in 28 x 28 also called 126 format. There are millions of 126 cameras you can snap for $1 and that just need the format be revived like the 110 was by Lomography. And I am sure you would be able to sell tons of film in this format ! If I had some money to put in the film world I would do 126 cassettes and adapt existing films.
    Anyway, I will have a look at that new rangefinder. It’s cool new film cameras are being produced, apart from reloadable ones with disposable cameras tech I mean (even if I love my Simple Use that has been reloaded 116 times).
    The price of those new cameras is the actual problem because R&D is costly and none can be as cheap as an old film camera. You can have M42 SLRs for the price of a reloadable plastic camera, rangefinders for a little more so why buy new ones except for supporting the hobby ? It looks more sensible to get a $50 or $100 camera and put the rest in the (more and more expensive) films …
    And concerning the Leica prices, only the LTM ones are at a fair price, the M family just fetch prices that you just can’t justify. So just *everything* is less expensive than a Leica including professional medium format cameras or the best lenses …

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