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#1 orion61

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:50 AM

Here is my project, While going through and cleaning up my
old mechanical 35mm cameras (routine maintenance)
I thought of an idea, With todays modern ccd technology
It should not be that hard to develop a drop in
module (or have it fitted) into one of these great old
bodies, the film plane is pre set, an auto on- auto off triggered by a shutter release, battery's stored where the
film containers were, etc..the original camera settings and lenses do the rest.
I still love my old Nikon and Minolta and Cannons
they are virtually worthless these days as is...
your thoughts?
{mod edit} Do you think anyone would order these? {/mod edit}

#2 John Kuraoka

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

I think someone (Kodak?) made a digital back for a Nikon film body. It was probably an idea before its time; the resolution was quickly outstripped by later digicams, it was huge and clunky, storage technology and speeds evolved, it was wildly expensive, and I think it wasn't full-frame (which, at the time, was a huge issue). It didn't sell well and disappeared in the blink of an eye.

That doesn't mean the time isn't right-er now though. A drop-in cartridge taking the place of the film canister and take-up reel would be awesome. But I suspect it would have to be model-specific. And, I think there'd be the challenge of getting the sensor and connections thin enough to fit the film plane, even if you remove the pressure plate.

With pro shooters all going digital, it'd be a niche product. But I'd definitely be in the niche!

#3 dan_h

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

Here is my project, While going through and cleaning up my
old mechanical 35mm cameras (routine maintenance)
I thought of an idea, With todays modern ccd technology
It should not be that hard to develop a drop in
module (or have it fitted) into one of these great old
bodies, the film plane is pre set, an auto on- auto off triggered by a shutter release, battery's stored where the
film containers were, etc..the original camera settings and lenses do the rest.
I still love my old Nikon and Minolta and Cannons
they are virtually worthless these days as is...
your thoughts?


I already own a Nikon,(D70, I think), with a digital back. It is about 18 yrs old. Kodak made the electronics and the drive. Retail in this country was about $20K. No longer supported. You can get a better web cam today.

Investors? If Kodak and Nikon couldn't make it happen, it seems unlikely that someone else will. It would be a niche market and I am of the opinion that the digital camera market is already flooded with products. There were literally thousands of products designed to utilize the standard 35mm film. It's going to be a challenge to make a drop in digital replacement for even a single manufacturer's line of cameras. What would make your product that much better that it would sell?

I think the revolution has already happened. You can't wind back the clock for this one.

dan

#4 orlyandico

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 10:48 AM

There was a company which came up with such an idea many years ago.

Silicon Film.

They took investors money, came out with some technology demos - with tiny sensors - and eventually went bust. All the investor money went down the drain.

#5 Jaimo!

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:15 AM

I do love my old Canon & Nikon film cameras, and their lenses, and use them on a regular basis. But for a few hundred you can get one of the new micro 4/3 format bodies and still use the older lenses, or you can develop your own film and scan the negatives with the Epson V500 or V700 scanners for digital images. Film still has its place, but you are going to be hard pressed to come up with a solution at a price point that can be less than the cost of a new DSLR camera.

Here's what I have been shooting with lately, but the funny thing is that I took this shot with my DSLR...

Posted Image

Jaimo!

#6 Jarad

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

I don't think there will be much market for this. You can still use the old Nikon, Canon, and Olympus lenses on the new DSLR bodies, and the new DSLR's have lots of other upgrades over the old film bodies like better multi-point auto-focusers, sophisticated exposure meters, white balance control, etc. You wouldn't get nearly the same image quality just by slapping a CCD at the film plane of an old body.

Jarad

#7 dan_h

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:54 AM

You wouldn't get nearly the same image quality just by slapping a CCD at the film plane of an old body.

Jarad


Especially when you consider that you would need an interface for all the controls on the camera including the exposure meter, shutter speed, film speed, lens settings etc. What good is the old camera body if all it does is hold the chip and lens in mechanical alignment? Somehow you need to implement all the functions that are in a digital camera. You could use a wireless link to retrieve the images but that is only a tiny piece of what's actually needed.

dan

#8 Startraffic

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

orion61,
I would dearly love to have my old AE-1P run forever. I've made a mod to allow for an external battery pack, & have literally >$25k in lenses that aren't made for the newer DSLRs. The AE series had a "digital back" that replaced the film door with one that would put a time/date code on the negative at the time of the exposure. It added another 1/4-1/2" of thickness to the camera body. That would be the most you'd want to enlarge the camera body. However, without the film in the camera, you have the 2 film areas to work in. Just a thought.

Clear Dark Skies
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#9 orion61

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 12:53 PM

Thats what I was thinking, Alas those who dont know the true pleasure those old mechanical wonders gave dont understand.
I am so sick of everything being made of cheap plastic, The sales departments are pretty clever at pitching the lightweight angle..
Like most of us would take enough exposures to get tired.
I cant tell you how many camera,laptop, and other modern
pieces I have repaired or thrown away from broken hinges, doors, ports, connectors, etc.
The feel of the mechanical shutters and their brass and steel precision gears working is hard to describe.
The rough, sloppy, plastic is the norm now.
And if you really think your new DSLR is really better grab a Nikon F1 or Minolta 101, Cannon, or Olympus OM 10.
true joy.

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 02 February 2013 - 09:45 PM

And if you really think your new DSLR is really better grab a Nikon F1 or Minolta 101, Cannon, or Olympus OM 10.
true joy.



I have an SRT-101... It's a nice piece of mechanical construction but also demonstrates one reason why one would not want to invest in a digital back for an old camera, the coatings on the mirror are shot... Old cameras break and it would be foolish to have invested in a digital back for a camera that is obsolete.

Just the autofocusing algorithms make a modern camera worthwhile... Old stuff is neat and best appreciated as what it is.. old neat stuff.

Jon






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