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Old Apr 7, 2008, 8:49 PM   #1
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Has anyone ever tried converting a film 35mm to digital? Seems like it should be fairly straight forward. Just mount the CCD where the film used to be.

Why relegate the millions of very good film cameras out there to paperweight duty.

I would think you could make it a relaively easy to install kit. The neccesary components should be able to mount on the door, so installing it would be fairly straight forward.

I would think that it would be financially practical on higher end cameras.
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 1:45 AM   #2
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Leica tried it on their R series SLR cameras.

Not cheap, not easy. The market didn't support it.

Of course that's how most of the medium format digital cameras work. You buy a digital back instead of a film back and keep using the same kit apart from that.

Unfortunately there is not usually enough room in a film bodied 35mm camera to do this sort of thing. Think about it - you would have to put ALL the electrics into a cylinder the size of a 35mm roll and somehow extend the sensor out into the film cavity.

The entry-level DSLR cameras are so cheap it makes no commercial sense.
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 5:21 AM   #3
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Mounting the ccd would probably be the easiest part. Hooking it up to the electrical system would likely require more than just a kit and a few screws. The body of a camera is very small, and you've got battery and voltage differences that would have to be accounted for. Where would you put the LCD, and how would you remap all the buttons that are present on a DSLR to an SLR with very few buttons. Also, the brains of a Slr would likely have to be significantly upgraded in order to process all the image and white balance info. What do you do about a card slot and all the necessary electronics and contacts?? I doubt that any of this could be undertaken by the average user, and is probably close to technically impossible (considering the vast number of slr's out there) to create just a few "kits" to convert all of them over. As was mentioned, it's getting fairly cheap to buy a dslr....it would likely be twice as expensive to try to convert an existing SLR, and certianly infinitely harder.

Besides all those current SLR's are not paper weights. Last I checked, film and places to develop it still exist. Film cameras are far from obsolete.
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 6:58 AM   #4
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An old thread on this subject:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...=72&page=2

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Old Apr 8, 2008, 8:53 AM   #5
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Their was a company working on this a few years ago but it never got off the ground do to a lack of backing.

It would not be that hard to do. The bulk of the electronics would go into an atatcment wich theads into the bottom of the camera. Many old 35mm cameras have removible backs. Linking the systens could be done through the contacts for dada backs, or motordrives. All it really needs to know is when the picture is being taken and that could be done with the PC socket. But all this would be model spacific. A one size fits all salution would be harder.
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 11:17 AM   #6
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if it was easy it would have been done, but its not that easy as pointed out

its just easier to bin or sell your film camera and buy a digital camera

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Old Apr 8, 2008, 1:34 PM   #7
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It's not tough, but the system must support it. That's why Hasselblad, et al, do it that way. The digital camera backs are bigger than the film backs, but smaller than a film back plus a motor drive.

But 35mm film SLRs are much more compact packages, and adding all the extra digital stuff would be cumbersome. And the result would be almost as expensive as a smaller, lighter dSLR, so why bother?
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Old Apr 8, 2008, 2:35 PM   #8
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The major problem with a digital conversion of a film camera is getting the two to talk together. At a minimum the digital back has to know when the shutter opens and closes to start processing the image.

In addition certain settings, such as ISO, would have to kept synchronized manually between the camera and the back. The back needs to know what ISO to implement and the camera needs to know the the ISO for metering. You can imagine the results if these two get out of sync!

This product would have flown several years ago when DSLRs were thousands of dollars but today it would be hard to compete with sub-$1000 bodies where the camera and digital are fully integrated.




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Old Apr 8, 2008, 10:09 PM   #9
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I would be more than willing to pay as much as I paid for my DSLR to be able to take digital photos with my old film equipment. The fact that I would have to set my ISO twice wouldn't bother me a bit. The only real problem would be the viewfinder. It would have to be a full frame censer or I would have to mask the viewfinder some how.

If it were full frame, than I would be set. I would never have to buy another lens. Which is why we will never see such a device. The companies that have the money and the capability to make such a device are not about to undercut their sales of new cameras and lenses. The only way we are going to see it is if an upstart company does it, and that's not likely.


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Old Apr 10, 2008, 7:24 AM   #10
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Well Leica actually did it. Which made some sense as R lenses are VERY expensive and if you had that much money in a full set of R lenses and fancied digital it seemed like a possibility.

But of course what most people did was buy a set of adapters for their R lenses and use them on the Canon FF bodies instead!!!

But although it seems like a good idea the market didn't support it. There simply weren't enough people who thought it was worthwhile to make it a commercial success.

http://www.outbackphoto.com/reviews/...leica_dmr.html
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