Minox Rollei MiniDigi 5.0 AF review

Canon? Nikon? Sony? Pah! When I were a lad…

If the pictures were actually any good that would be perfectly acceptable from what is effectively an expensive novelty camera

TechRadar Verdict

This not a camera to take photos with; it's a camera to make you smile


  • +

    It's got soul

  • +

    It makes you smile

  • +

    Great attention to detail

  • +

    True to the original


  • -

    Takes dreadful shots

  • -

    Wildly expensive

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Stop, wait: don't look at the rating or the price. Look at the picture again. Isn't it pretty? Isn't it awesome? Doesn't it put a great big grin on your face?

Yes, this is the rebirth of a classic twin-lens camera, shrunk to half scale. And it's digital, which is why we're covering it here on TechRadar.

Basic Spec

Let's get the criticisms out of the way first. It only offers three megapixels (but it does a half decent job of interpolating to five) and though we adore the fact that, like the film-based original, it takes square photos, it does mean that at its default settings it's only spitting out shots that are 1,536 pixels along each side.

If the pictures were actually any good that would be perfectly acceptable from what is effectively an expensive novelty camera.

Any serious photographer will tell you that it's all about the lens, and here it's disappointing. It looks like the system you'd find on last year's cameraphone, and the resulting images are insipid, noisy, poorly exposed and badly balanced. They represent a lesson in how not to take good photographs.

Three years ago they'd have been branded 'good'; these days, Sony Ericsson mobile phones take better shots.

We love this camera

Then there's the price. We can't imagine that licensing and producing a camera like this comes cheap, but £350 is just silly. The same kind of cash buys you a Canon EOS 400D. But despite the shoddy picture quality and the dotty price tag, we love this camera.

So often on TechRadar we're judging things by how powerful they are, how much more productive they make you, or how good they are at a task. But with the Rollei, there's something more.

Car metaphors may be the last resort of the lazy journalist, but we can't escape the comparison that like an Alfa Romeo, this camera has soul. It's more than just retro; from its waist-level popup viewfinder to the handle you have to turn 'to advance the frame' before you can take another shot, it just makes you want to smile.

Novelty gadget

We know it sounds wrong, but you shouldn't buy this camera to take photos. It doesn't even take 'good' bad photos; we were prepared for funky Holga-esque goodness, but no, these are simply of low quality.

And we completely agree that £350 is a hell of a lot of money to spend on a camera that takes crap photos. But, if you're in the enviable position of having £350 to spend on something purely because it will make someone happy, this little chap fits the bill nicely.

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