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Old Aug 24, 2013, 6:14 PM   #1
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Cool DigiPod: Digital film cartridge for old SLR film cameras...

I've wished for something like this for years so I could breath new life into
my old film SLR cameras...

Quote:
DigiPod
The “Digipod” is simply a digital 35mm film cartridge, that once adjusted,
will fit most still SLR cameras
Source: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/digipod

What are your thoughts on this...? I really like how it fits in a film SLR like
installing a film cartridge... Understand, this isn't something that's going to
be better than an actual DSLR, it's simply a way to be able to use a digital
sensor in an old "Film" SLR... Kind of like running an antique Model-A Ford
on modern gasoline... It's not meant to replace your modern car for everyday
use, it just let's you take the old antique out for a spin once in a while...

And "PLEASE" actually take the time to read the article and watch the video
before commenting...
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Old Aug 24, 2013, 6:38 PM   #2
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If he's not trying to fool investors, he's fooling himself. There aren't enough 35mm film SLRs in the hands of enough people that want to keep using them to make something like this commercially successful, even if he could get past all the technical issues.
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Old Aug 24, 2013, 11:02 PM   #3
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I realize the thread talks about a 35mm conversion, not a medium format conversion.

However, I have a Mamiya medium format film camera (TLR) with 3 lenses. It's in great shape. I still have it, but rarely use it in this digital age.

A digital conversion device like this...reasonably priced....that would fit my medium format would be something I would love to have.


I do have some very fine 35mm SLR's and a Leica Rangefinder 35mm. I wouldn't mind having a 35mm conversion ...again reasonably priced that would allow me to use my 35mm SLR's and Rangefinder...digitally.



Over the years I often thought about a digital conversion that could be applied to film cameras. The market may be a smaller niche market, but a well priced conversion device, that performs well could certainly sell, IMO.

Last edited by lesmore49; Aug 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM.
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Old Aug 25, 2013, 12:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
I realize the thread talks about a 35mm conversion, not a medium format conversion.

However, I have a Mamiya medium format film camera (TLR) with 3 lenses. It's in great shape. I still have it, but rarely use it in this digital age.

A digital conversion device like this...reasonably priced....that would fit my medium format would be something I would love to have.


I do have some very fine 35mm SLR's and a Leica Rangefinder 35mm. I wouldn't mind having a 35mm conversion ...again reasonably priced that would allow me to use my 35mm SLR's and Rangefinder...digitally.



Over the years I often thought about a digital conversion that could be applied to film cameras. The market may be a smaller niche market, but a well priced conversion device, that performs well could certainly sell, IMO.
Exactly...

It's not for everyone and it's not meant to be "better" than a real DSLR... People should also
understand that this is in the "Prototype" stage... The sensor he's using in his prototype is
simply to see if the idea works and debug/trouble shoot the idea... If he get's the support
then like any other product it will improve with time...

I own 3 film SLR's and with this design I could buy one of these and with a simple adjustment
use it in all three...

If you read the comments (comments tab at top) he answers many questions and will answer
more as time goes on...
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Old Aug 25, 2013, 6:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCav View Post
If he's not trying to fool investors, he's fooling himself. There aren't enough 35mm film SLRs in the hands of enough people that want to keep using them to make something like this commercially successful, even if he could get past all the technical issues.
I can't see that he can raise the required money in the allotted time judging by the amount donated so far. There doesn't seem to be that much interest in the concept and I, for one, owning a few film cameras would simply shoot film as the price of the DigiPod would cover the cost of quite a number of films and their processing methinks.

But I'd like to see it get off the ground.
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Old Aug 25, 2013, 7:42 AM   #6
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A few things come immediately to mind:
  1. In order for the image sensor to be behind the focal plane shutter but still be where the film would be, there won't be any room for any kind of protective cover for the image sensor, so the sensor will get dirty.
  2. You'd have to open the back in order to change the ISO, increasing the chance that the sensor will get dirty.
  3. In order for this thing to fit, you'd have to remove the film pressure plate, which would mean that you couldn't use film in your film cameras anymore.
  4. Different cameras have different spaces within the body for the film canister and take-up spool, and store the canister and spool at different distances from the shutter opening. In order for this thing to work with the most cameras, those distances will need to be adjustable.
  5. How will you tell the device that you've just taken a photo? The device wouldn't actually know that the shutter had opened.
  6. How would you know when the card is full?
  7. How would you know when the battery is dead?
You could probably get around some of these issues by having a Bluetooth or WiFi connection to an app on a smartphone or tablet, but the device would be inside a metal camera body which will make that problemic. But others reduce this to "pie in the sky", presuming it isn't an outright hoax.
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Old Aug 25, 2013, 11:34 AM   #7
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I'm not buying it.

Look at the video demonstration, and it appears it was just using a camera with the shutter already open (probably using the bulb setting), then depressing a button on the back of the cartridge (with digital camera guts of some type) to take the photos . My guess is that it was just a digital camera mechanism using autoexposure with the digital camera mechanism's electronic shutter, versus any type of design that was specific to use in a film SLR. There was not enough technical detail about what he did do draw any conclusions from my perspective. But, I don't see anything resembling a working product designed for use in a film camera in that video.

IOW, it doesn't appear to me that he even has a working prototype of a product that is usable right this minute (if so, why wouldn't he demo it, versus depressing a button on the back of the "guts" to show it taking photos, without involving the SLR's shutter mechanism).

Also, look through the comments and it looks like it's being designed so that the sensor is turned on via the film wind mechanism (so it begins capturing light at that point), with a timer designed to turn it off again after 5 or 8 minutes of no activity detected. The comments indicate that any longer would cause a noise issue when others asked about how it would integrate with the shutter mechanism. Keep clicking on More Comments and you'll see this response:

Quote:
Hello Greg,
What I can tell U in these confines are the DigiPod has a fixed standby time,it will give a audible warning before it goes into standby at that point U can press the button as if you’re taking a picture & wind on to reset,I hope it would become a habit of users just to fire off a frame before shooting with their SLR,I wanted a 15 minute standby but due to constants that will be more like 5 to 8 minutes,as to noise thats dealt with by the software much the same way its done in DSLR.
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/digipod?c=comments


No kidding (noise issue trying to leave a sensor turned on capturing light that it won't see until the shutter opens and closes).

Heck, try taking a dark frame photo for that long and see what you get. Some cameras have hundreds of hot pixels after only 10 seconds or so, much less minutes.

Sure, perhaps that won't be as bad once the sensor captures an image when the shutter opens and closes and the individual photosites capture more light.

But, I'm not buying that a design that leaves the sensor capturing light (with photosites only seeing enough for a photo when the shutter is opened and closed) is viable for good image quality, especially since it doesn't appear that a working prototype of the design even exists yet (based on how it appears the photos were taken during the video demo, by depressing a button on the back of digital camera mechanism of some type, versus making use of any kind of camera film wind and shutter mechanism, etc.).

IOW, there appears to be no design to make use of a sensor's electronic shutter only while the mechanical shutter is open from what I can see of the comments.

Instead, it looks like it's being designed to leave it capturing light all the time (or up to 5 to 8 minutes) once it detects a film wind occurring, then hoping there isn't too much noise in the captured image. I doubt a dark frame subtraction noise reduction mechanism in firmware would work great either (since you'd end up losing too much detail for good image quality with a sensor capturing for that long, and need to decide how long of a dark frame to capture for subtraction algorithms to get rid of most noise without destroying too much detail). IOW, you'd "map out" far too many pixels and destroy too much detail from what I suspect of a design like that.

Of course technical detail is *very* lacking about it's design on the fund raising pages (and video). But, based on the answer in the comments asking about how it's supposed to integrate with a camera's shutter, it's not hard to draw conclusions about potential drawbacks.

This kind of thing has been tried before (with tons of investor money), and the technical issues were never worked out.

Just look at the history of Silicon Film for an example of that. Their product (vaporware, or scam -- choose your own description) started out with a company called Imagek, then later changed it's name to Silicon Film in 1999, claiming their product would be ready in Fall 1999 (with nice photos of what were supposed to be the prototypes).

Of course, they kept saying that technical difficulties were delaying the product launch, until Irvine Sensors (which owned 51% of Silicon Film) finally announced that operations were suspended in September 2001. Here's an old news article about that:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/news/...perations.html

See the comments at the bottom of that news article:

"Note from Steve: Silicon Film's eFilm was the device that we first reported on about two years ago. It was a 1.3mpixel digital replacement for the 35mm film canister used in some SLR cameras. Every six months or so they would put out a press release and say they were closer to producing a real product but we never even saw a working prototype of it."
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 6:42 PM   #8
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Default The inventors latest update...

Quote:
PRODUCT UPDATE:


After a software and hardware review the following updates have been added to the DigiPod:

The Sensor ribbon will now have a connector plug so that users can upgrade to a larger or replace a sensor as they become available.

Also users will be able to implement software upgrades via the micro usb.

There have been a few inquiries about RAW file capture, users will now have that option through a software update that will be made available post production via a DigiPod web site now under construction (should a user update to raw file capture it will replace one of the existing three file saving options).

It is your comments and feed back that have driven these updates, a few have commented on the size of the sensor, we know everyone would like a full size sensor, as we would but cost of full size is the consideration here.

All I can say is the hardware is more than capable of processing the information from a full size sensor and storing that information in acceptable image numbers.

With the implementation of the connector plug in the sensor ribbon we are now looking at making a number of sensor sizes available post production and we will update as soon as we have news of sizes and costs.

Please keep promoting DigiPod wherever you can

All Good Things
Source: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/digipod?c=activity

If you click the "Comments" tab at the top of that page he also answers many
questions asked by commenter's...
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Last edited by Wizzard0003; Aug 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM.
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 8:55 PM   #9
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Think about it.

The comments imply a sensor that's turned on by the wind mechanism

The video shows a piece of polymer of some type that is supposed to fit into a camera . So, how is that same device supposed to fit into cameras with different distances between the film canister and take up spool?

If there were a working prototype showing the entire device (as I saw no demo of a working product, other than something that looked like a small digital camera mechanism, taking photos through the lens of a camera that was apparently set to bulb mode with an open shutter), and the description implied something other than using the film wind mechanism (for example, triggering an electronic shutter in the sensor when light is detected), then I wouldn't be as skeptical. Instead, I see that kind of demo, then a device that looked more like a piece of plastic that is supposed to house the sensor mechanism (and given the different distances between the film canister and take up spool, that doesn't sound very workable to me).

Heck, even the Silicon Film device was going to require 6 different sizes to fit popular cameras, focusing on one of the popular sizes for the first production run (and even then, they never worked out the issues and made it to market).

You may want to look at this device, too; as it least it looks like it might actually fit into most cameras, versus trying to use a design that looks more like a 120 film cartridge for a camera with exact dimensions between the film canister and take up spool.

Make sure to click on the contact link:

http://www.re35.net/index.html
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Old Aug 27, 2013, 9:24 PM   #10
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I've read every bit of the article, comments and updates and watched the
"entire" video (there's more than one part)... The inventor explains that the
sensor unit is mounted to the frame and is "adjustable" (left and right) so that
it can easily be used in different cameras with different distances from film
spool/cartridge to frame center... It also has a mode selection to change
between horizontal plane, vertical plane and iris stryle shutters with plans
to include compatability with leaf style shutters in the future...

The sensor unit is activated by the film advance sprocket to be "ready"... The
light from the shutter opening and closing triggers the image capture and then
resets the unit to a strand-by mode until the film advance sprocket again sets
the unit into a "ready" state... The unit remains in the ready state for about
5-8 minutes and then automatically goes back to the stand-by mode (indicated
by an audible "beep")... To clear it from stand-by you simply fire the sutter and
then again use the film cameras film advance lever to re-set the shutter and
again put the unit into a "ready" state...

I can see why the Silicon Film device failed, it was too complicated... They tried
too hard to make it work like a wet film replacement drop in canister... This inventor
obviously understands the axiom "Keep It Simple Stupid" (KISS)...
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