Turning film cameras into digital cameras

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by aniramca, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. My 50s Rollei TLR produces lovely 77MP files without any modifications

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Apr 8, 2007
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  2. aniramca

    Guest Guest

    i doubt there's any demand for a digital back for a tlr. i haven't
    seen a tlr being used in a *very* long time.

    the link spanned two lines enclosed in angle brackets. if you use a
    newsreader that doesn't handle that, manually copy/paste the entire
    link. here's the main page:
    Guest, Apr 8, 2007
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  3. aniramca

    Summer Wind Guest

    I saw a TLR in use just a couple of days ago, by me. I have a Yashica-MAT
    124G and a Mamiya 330F. The OP asked about a digital film-sized cartridge
    that could be used in any 35mm camera, not a back. Backs are make/model
    specific. Such a thing will never be produced, of course, but making one
    for TLRs would get you past the film plane issue because there is no shutter
    in the way. The leaf shutter is in the lens.

    Summer Wind, Apr 8, 2007
  4. aniramca

    Guest Guest

    The Imagek, aka Silicon Film has been "Fartware" since 1997. Fartware is
    like vapourware, but has a stink to it!
    Guest, Apr 8, 2007
  5. aniramca

    Summer Wind Guest

    My sentiments exactly, but we are just fantasizing about a digital insert
    that will never be produced. My two TLRs are in regular use, mostly for

    Summer Wind, Apr 8, 2007
  6. All of these problems didn't prevent Kodak from making quite a few digital
    backs for existing Nikon and Canon cameras (the backs were expensive
    enough that you would get a body for free with the back, but the body
    was essentially unmodified).
    Philip Homburg, Apr 8, 2007
  7. aniramca

    editor Guest

    I'd think there'd be real practical problems for many cameras.
    First is PRICE - the "film cartridge" would probably cost more than
    just a new point-and-shoot digicam if the film camera being converted
    weren't an SLR. This would probably be true even of better 35mm non-
    SLR film cameras like the Minolta HiMatic ones.

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    editor, Apr 8, 2007
  8. aniramca

    Rich Guest

    Black and white could be a practical digital solution not yet explored
    except (I think) in one medium format digital camera. Monochrome
    digital sensors don't have the resolution-killing moire filters that
    colour sensors have and as a result, have 40% higher resolution than
    do colour (Bayer) sensors of the same size/pixel count. There are
    many sources for these sensors, Kodak being the main one. You can buy
    an 11 meg full frame black and white sensors from them. Kodak now
    offers their huge 39 megapixel sensor in monochrome as well so it
    should show up in those big Hasselblads as an alternative to colour
    Rich, Apr 8, 2007
  9. aniramca

    Robert Coe Guest

    : I would give my bad eye ;) for an F3hp viewfinder on my digital
    : Nik... If the current crop of DSLRs follows the same price curve...a
    : d200 will sell for 50$ in ten years... and so will a cheesburger OY!

    For my last Nikon (an F-2 film SLR), I bought a replacement prism that
    incorporated a split-image rangefinder with a Fresnel ring around it, set in
    the middle of the ground glass. If I could have that in my XTi, I'd probably
    never turn on AF again.

    Robert Coe, Apr 8, 2007
  10. aniramca

    =\(8\) Guest

    There was of course the digital film insert a company tried to do early in
    the digital camera days. It was basically a 35mm size device with the CCD on
    what would have been the first frame of film that rested over the proper
    area in the 35mm camera. It was a neat idea and they had a working
    prototype. However, they never could get it working quite right. They had
    too little space to cram a lot of technology including batter for power also
    the need for a full size 35mm CCD was very expensive. In the end they went
    belly up.

    =\(8\), Apr 8, 2007
  11. aniramca

    aniramca Guest

    I am aware that there are digital backs that are available for the
    medium format cameras. I assume the cost of this special attachment is
    very expensive.
    What I am thinking about is just a 35 mm film or a 120mm film
    cartridge similar to the one proposed as the silicon film/e-film.
    Nothing more and nothing fancier. If it becomes a device in which you
    have to open the hinge of your old camera and attach a digital
    back.... it does not serve the purpose. I am thinking about an exact
    replica of 35 mm or 120 mm film cartridge, that you drop into the
    slot, engage in with the lever device to cock the shutter, the way we
    did it the old fashioned way in the past.
    Someone mentioned that there are too much things to put into that tiny
    cartridge. However, technology has changed in the past 6 years alone.
    People can now jam in 2 GB (or even 4 GB) data into that same SD card.
    Can we jam in a tiny memory chip into the 35 mm cartridge? Then, add
    a tiny battery source (rechargeable, just like that mini shuttle ipod
    that clip in your shirt and play music.... they can do it).
    My whole point of the start of my discussion is whether the technology
    is now possible. I know, there are a lot of other obstacles on the
    way, and perhaps the biggest one is not related to the technology at
    all, but to the willingness of the industry to serve for the
    consumer... (yep...that is all of us). The camera companies are now in
    the business to sell new digital cameras, and they said their way or
    no way at all. They have so much resources that can throw away
    something that can be perceived as a competition.
    Someone indicated that there may not be enough space for the
    processing and storing of the data. However, it should be noted that
    the camera body is the one that function to select the shutter speed,
    the aperture, and other things (timer, synchronization with flash,
    etc). The job of this 35mm cartridge is just simply to record into a
    digital format, until it is ready to download into computer....
    nothing else. If your old Minolta maxxum, Olympus OM1, Fujica ST 801,
    Canon EF, Pentax K1000, Konica T3, Nikon F-1, Yashica MAT 124, Mamiya
    M645, or others has their own disadvantages in their system, this 35
    or 120mm cartridge are not supposed to change or help the camera body.
    It is the job of the camera body to get the shutter speed to open (at
    the right time and aperture). The camera will have the job to advance
    to the next film using its lever. If the camera has a multiple
    exposure feature (such as my old T3), when it will disengage the
    sprocket to advance the film, so that the next shot, the e-film in the
    35mm cartridge will be exposed twice or three times, etc.... just the
    same way it did using regular 35mm film.

    Someone also mentioned that perhaps no one want to use the old camera.
    The question would be if there are lots of people still want to use
    the old cameras. Well... this is just a discussion perhaps these
    people already invested and was happy with their old gadgets and want
    to continue using it.
    The point is to make the new e-film as simple and as close a replica
    of the old film cartridge. Of course there are perhaps many other
    challanges..... However... if in the past you buy a 35mm cartridge and
    drop into your camera.... it is supposed to work, right? whether it
    is a Nikon, a Fuji, A Ricoh, a Leica, a Praktika or other brands.
    This is exactly the idea. That e-film or silicon film introduced/
    planned in 2001 was only limited to specific cameras.... and I think
    that was the defeat.
    To make it work this time, the cartridge has to be as simple as
    possible (perhaps can only be used for limited number of times, depend
    on the wear and tear of the e-film. It has to be able to be dropped
    into a $1000 camera, or a $30 vivitar old camera...

    Thanks anyway for all the discussion.... it has been a very
    interesting comments.
    aniramca, Apr 8, 2007
  12. Kodak at one time offered monochrome backs for the Nikon N90s and
    the Nikon F5, (sold as DCS 460m and DCS 760m).

    I hope somebody will do it again, soon:
    Gisle Hannemyr, Apr 8, 2007
  13. aniramca

    J. Clarke Guest

    The big problem is that the sensor has to be the same thickness as a
    length of 35mm film and have the sensing surface exposed on the front,
    with no intervening optics or filters or the like, and is going to have
    to be durable enough to withstand handling. Going to be a long time
    before that's doable.

    The "defeat" was that they never actually managed to _make_ one of the
    J. Clarke, Apr 8, 2007
  14. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    The idea sounds good, but the problem of interfacing that drop-in with
    the camera fails miserably. Thgere's not even a way to tell the
    drop-in when the camera opened the shutter.
    Another point I brought up the last time this was suggested is a real
    killer: heat. How do you get the heat out of the camera?
    Plus, there's still the problem that the sensor is thicker than film
    A back is a far better solution (at least it has a chance), but backs
    must be made specific for each individual make/model, and must still
    interface with the camera electronically. It's easier and far cheaper
    to make much more functional digital DSLRs from scratch.

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    the Swift Boat Veterans, a recess
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    Nothing ever changes. John Kerry
    insisted he was for the appointment
    before he was against the appointment.
    Bill Funk, Apr 9, 2007
  15. aniramca

    =\(8\) Guest

    I wasn't talking about a digital back. I was talking about a 35mm size roll
    of film with a piece of film out sized package then went right in to the
    35mm camera film compartment. You then closed the back just like if you had
    put a roll of film in it. This is totally different from a back as it could
    also be used with any type of 35mm camera.

    =\(8\), Apr 9, 2007
  16. aniramca

    =\(8\) Guest

    Yes, they did. They had 2 sample images available to show investors. The
    problem was partly what you said and partly that they had too little space
    to cram a whole lot of different things. Battery, processing, sensor, etc.
    etc. etc. They couldn't mass produce them and they had very poor
    performance. We are talking pictures the quality of the first consumer
    digital cameras from like Logitech in 1990.

    They wanted to do too much with too little space.

    =\(8\), Apr 9, 2007
  17. aniramca

    =\(8\) Guest

    I don't disagree, they had too many problems to over come which is why they
    didn't. However, they would stand a better chance now with nano-tech. But,
    still I think it would be very hard and expensive. Also 35mm cameras are
    sort of out of the picture for the most part.

    They never did give a price estimated or otherwise. However, it would have
    had to be $200 or less otherwise just by a digital camera. This was like
    1995 someplace around there. By then we had MP cameras (1MP, but still).

    =\(8\), Apr 9, 2007
  18. aniramca

    dj_nme Guest

    The first problem that I can see with a generic drop-in digital film
    replacement is that every camera design put the film through a slightly
    different path.
    If the digital film sensor is aligned to fit into a Nikon F1, then it
    probably wont fit properly inot a Canon T1 or a Pentax K1000 or a
    Olympus OM1.
    Then you also have the problem of interfacing the shutter mechanism with
    the sensor so that it knows when to start and stop capturing, what may
    work on a Pentax Spotmatic probably wont work with a Canon EOS 300.
    If these were the only hurdles to designing and building a drop-in
    digital film, then Imagek should have been able to solve it and not fail
    and then vanish in a cloud of vaporware.
    dj_nme, Apr 9, 2007
  19. aniramca

    Mark B. Guest

    Nope! Besides, you're several years too late. There was a company planning
    on doing just that, but it never came to be. Too many limitations. You
    can't see what you just shot for one thing. Can't delete bad photos on the
    fly either. When it was discussed back a few years ago, it was an
    interesting idea because DSLRs were astronomically priced - well over $5k.
    Now that they can be had for under a grand, the idea isn't even remotely
    interesting anymore.

    Mark B., Apr 9, 2007
  20. aniramca

    =\(8\) Guest

    See we all now understand why this thing never made it out of the prototype
    stage and was basically stillborn. Interesting idea, but I don't think
    feasible unless you want to make a different one for each camera make and
    model and where's the sense in that. By the time they had the two sample
    images out they were already behind what most mid priced digital cameras
    could do at the time.

    =\(8\), Apr 10, 2007
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