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Archive 2012 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?
  
 
BubbaJon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Someone started a thread on "classic" Canon bodies and I was reminded of my EOS-1. It has been a point of conjecture to me many times as to why someone couldn't develop a back or an insert to turn some of these great old bodies into digital?
Just throwing it out there - anyone else ever wished for this?



Sep 28, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Ian.Dobinson
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


I think it's been attempted a few times . And weren't the early digitals backs and extras plugged onto a film body?
But when you look at the stuff that's inside a dslr it does not look as simple as just replacing the back .

But yeah a nice OM-1 or Nikon F series would be great with an added diggy back



Sep 28, 2012 at 06:33 PM
StarNut
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


There was, for some years, what looked like a promising product to do this on a website, that apparently was only vaporware.

Ultimately, the new DSLRs (and new lenses) are, IMO, so much better than a fifteen (or more) year old SLR body (and lenses) that I cannot imagine that there would be an adapter at a price that would make sense, that would really work.



Sep 28, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Imagemaster
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Simple, it is not financially feasible and not enough people are interested in buying such an item.

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-talk/89135-why-there-no-digital-backs-35mm-cameras.html

Edited on Sep 29, 2012 at 01:46 AM · View previous versions



Sep 28, 2012 at 11:48 PM
dirb9
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Ian.Dobinson wrote:
I think it's been attempted a few times . And weren't the early digitals backs and extras plugged onto a film body?
But when you look at the stuff that's inside a dslr it does not look as simple as just replacing the back .

But yeah a nice OM-1 or Nikon F series would be great with an added diggy back


If you want a digital EOS 1n, here you go: Kodak DCS 1

It just wouldn't be profitable, as pretty much each and every SLR would have to have a different back design.



Sep 29, 2012 at 01:17 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


StarNut wrote:
There was, for some years, what looked like a promising product to do this on a website, that apparently was only vaporware.

Ultimately, the new DSLRs (and new lenses) are, IMO, so much better than a fifteen (or more) year old SLR body (and lenses) that I cannot imagine that there would be an adapter at a price that would make sense, that would really work.


Silicon Film tried that and failed miserably.

EBH



Sep 29, 2012 at 01:30 AM
StarNut
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


EB-1 wrote:
Silicon Film tried that and failed miserably.

EBH


That was the company I was referring to!



Sep 29, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


I think all the early Canon DSLRs were conversions of the EOS 1N. The first few used mammoth grip/HD units and cost as much as a small house. The late 90s EOS D6000 was the first 1N variant to present a reasonably sized sensor (6MP) coupled with a normal sized grip. If you can find a working one you can pretend that you're shooting film!


Sep 29, 2012 at 02:54 AM
EB-1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Kodak had both Nikon-based and Canon-based DSLRs. But at least the first generation of one-grown DSLRs were very similar to the latest film bodies, making transition relativoy painless, at least from an egonomic perspective.

EBH



Sep 29, 2012 at 03:19 AM
mrbig
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Leica did produce a digital back called the Digital Module R for their R8 and R9 film bodies about 10 years ago:

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/leicaís-digital-modul-r-powerful-pricey-leica-slr-digital-back-arrives



Sep 29, 2012 at 03:33 AM
 

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David Baldwin
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


I suspect that getting a precise alignment of a modern high res digital sensor when slapped on the back of an old film body is part of the problem. These sensors are sooo detailed that I can't believe the film plane and hinge assemblies on film can support them well because they were never intended for such demanding use.

It would be like fitting a Formula one racing wheel on your horse and cart, theoretically possible, but technologically redundant. So I would carry on enjoying film in your film camera!



Sep 29, 2012 at 11:18 AM
Snopchenko
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Who would want to bother with something like this when good quality digital bodies are so cheap now? 1D Mark II (N) is so cheap around here it's unbelievable, and any film body one might use is at least as old, so the technology in one can't be that much better.


Sep 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
BubbaJon
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


EB-1 wrote:
Silicon Film tried that and failed miserably.

EBH

Ah! That's the ones I was trying to remember!
Thanks! I was just thinking of some of the truly great handling cameras; Oly OM-2, Canon EOS-1... dang shame they get left behind.



Sep 30, 2012 at 01:51 AM
wilt
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


David Baldwin wrote:
I suspect that getting a precise alignment of a modern high res digital sensor when slapped on the back of an old film body is part of the problem. These sensors are sooo detailed that I can't believe the film plane and hinge assemblies on film can support them well because they were never intended for such demanding use.


A number of SLR's had removeble backs and were motordrive ready, which allowed the photographer to fit a...
a) data back, or b) 250 exposure film magazine,

and the pressure plate pushed the film firmly against the film rails that were precisely positioned at the film plane. The digital sensor could be similarly pushed forward by pressure springs.

Now maybe the issue of doing something analogous with digital back is the need for the UV and IR filter which distances the sensor away from the focal plane by the thickness of the filters. One would think that the UV and IR filter might only be the width of the image area of the sensor, so that the silicon sensor itself might be resting against the film rails, so that thickness of filters does not affect the placement of the sensor.

The added electronics for digital support could fit below the bottom edge of the body like motordrives, and the motordrive drive wheel could trigger the digital back to save an image and get ready to aquire the next digital image.

And since the Nikon F bottom plate was part of the removeable back, it would be even easier to implement since the wiring would have a ready place to route without thickening the body at all.



Sep 30, 2012 at 02:22 AM
rscheffler
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


If you're thinking that the size and handling of the EOS-1 was great (no argument there), do you think it would stay the same by slapping on a digital sensor? Obviously it's not just a sensor but also the related electronics that would have to be housed somewhere, and would add bulk to the point where it wouldn't be much different than where we are now with DSLRs.

But I will say, it's interesting that some devices, such as current smart phones, cram in a ton of highly miniaturized electronics, yet over ten years later none of the DSLRs on the market are down in size to match film SLRs. Well, I suppose some of the m43 cameras are quite small, but so were 110 cameras.



Oct 01, 2012 at 07:10 AM
BubbaJon
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


rscheffler wrote:
If you're thinking that the size and handling of the EOS-1 was great (no argument there), do you think it would stay the same by slapping on a digital sensor? Obviously it's not just a sensor but also the related electronics that would have to be housed somewhere, and would add bulk to the point where it wouldn't be much different than where we are now with DSLRs.

As you mention with camera phones I don't think the electronics would add that much. I daresay that most of the bulk in DSLR's is still involved in the mechanics - shutter, mirror, memory card... I would be perfectly happy with a replacement back - as mentioned with the Nikon - and non-removable storage. You could attach via USB and download your files. I would even give up the rear LCD. Give me the ability to set ISO and go. The only thing I could see being an issue is detecting the shutter.



Oct 03, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Gochugogi
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


rscheffler wrote:
But I will say, it's interesting that some devices, such as current smart phones, cram in a ton of highly miniaturized electronics, yet over ten years later none of the DSLRs on the market are down in size to match film SLRs. Well, I suppose some of the m43 cameras are quite small, but so were 110 cameras.


I don't think dedicated digital cameras are any smaller than the film models of yesteryear as film pretty much achieved the minimum size possible for use with human hands and eyes. I own a vintage Oly Pen from the 60s and it's a lot smaller than my Oly E-P3 4/3. They both have a 2X crop factor. I somehow have a vintage 90s ELFH, the ill-fated APS format just before the dawn of the digital era, and it's the smallest of all (smaller than my S90) and yet has a 1.25X crop factor.



Oct 03, 2012 at 04:17 PM
David Baldwin
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


"the pressure plate pushed the film firmly against the film rails that were precisely positioned at the film plane"

Yes, I suppose I'm questioning whether the precision needed for 35mm film is anywhere near the precision demanded by a modern 20+ megapixel sensor.



Oct 03, 2012 at 07:01 PM
goneballistic
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


Imagemaster wrote:
Simple, it is not financially feasible and not enough people are interested in buying such an item.

http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/general-talk/89135-why-there-no-digital-backs-35mm-cameras.html



Imagemaster nailed it:

Rapidly dwindling number of these old cameras. Total lack of support from vendors for parts etc. This means all your R&D is in a market that's dropping to zero fast.

And the technical hurdles of fitting Digital functionality into a back, is a lot harder than building a whole camera.


so what you'd wind up with is an old camera, with no parts, with a digital back that took worse pictures, and had less features than current cameras.

Oh, and it would cost more.

so your market is basically no people. so it will never happen.



Oct 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Why not a digital back for film SLR's?


There IS a market for owners of FD lenses and accessories.

I still shoot film with my FD cameras because I enjoy the process, but would also be quite happy to buy a digital back for one of my T-90 or A-1 bodies. Hello? Canon?

Yea, yea. I know.
I'm 'supposed' to throw away my 'obsolete' MF lenses and buy plenty of bright, shiny, and new EOS glass. Feh!



Mar 05, 2013 at 03:02 AM
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