Whether you want to shoot with classic Polaroid film, Fujifilm’s Instax film, medium format negatives, large sheet film or digital, the new modular Mercury camera wants to be your system of choice.
Designed with compatibility in mind, it will also support almost any type of lens.
Currently crowdfunding production costs on Kickstarter, Mercury is touted as the “world’s first digital camera,” with its creators stating that it is time “to rediscover and redefine photography.”
It’s certainly an ambitious project, promising all things to all photographers, while vowing to keep the price and weight low.
Digital and film format camera backs will connect to the Mercury using adapters, and its lens kit and focus unit (located on the front of the device) will accept almost any lens ever made, including true wide-angle lenses, which are now useable only on pricey technical cameras. Front and rear spacers on the system’s body then can be adjusted for the format and lens in use.
Mercury’s creators profess that, for those shooting with Instax or Polaroid instant film, their modular offering is the best (and only) way to do so with fully manual controls and a complete set of lenses. Designs are to be open sourced and modifiable by users, and will continue to be developed to encompass future camera technology.
The project launched at the start of the week on Kickstarter, and they’re off to a promising start with 30% of their target amount already pledged.
The guys behind the Mercury have tested their working prototype with Instax Wide instant film, Ilford HP5+ 4×5 sheet film, Arista 4×5 orthochromatic sheet film, Velvia medium format 6×8 roll film and various Kodak roll and sheet films and claim that they all work seamlessly with the system.
The Kickstarter campaign is intended not only to help raise funds for mass producing the camera, but also to kick start a community of developers into brainstorming and building out the camera’s future capabilities.
The Mercury will come in 6×7 medium format as standard, with a Graflok 23 adapter on the back to accept “medium format (120) roll film backs from Graflec, Mamiya, Horseman, and Mercury, as well as (with slight adaptation) sheet film holders.”
Alternate back adapters to be available include a 4×5 Graflok back, 35mm panoramic back and some “simple, inexpensive roll film backs in 6×9 and 6×6 sizes.”
The standard Mercury frame/adapter combinations start at US$120, while a limited number of ‘Merc’ options include lens, back and trigger and begin at US$375.