Turning film cameras into digital cameras

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

  1. aniramca

    Tony Polson Guest

    The Leica Digital Modul-R has been discontinued, because the main
    supplier (Imacon) insisted on a minimum order size that was considered
    much too large by Leica Camera (info from a Leica press release).
    Stocks of new Digital Modul-R backs are now very low.

    The relationship between Imacon and Leica has deteriorated to such an
    extent that it could be described as hostile. The problem started
    when Imacon merged with Hasselblad, with whom Leica Camera's
    relationship has been sour for some years.

    Look no further than the expensive and ultimately abortive development
    work done on Leica lenses for medium format, and the introduction of
    the Hasselblad X-Pan.
    Tony Polson, Apr 14, 2007
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  2. aniramca

    Mark Dunn Guest

    At least you CAN with a Hasselblad. Snag is, the cheapest back costs three
    time much as a new 500CM (or whatever it's called now) and it still isn't
    Mark Dunn, Apr 20, 2007
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  3. You mean just like this stuff?
    Nobody did.

    It started life as a great idea from Irvine Sensors Corporation, a
    company that has survived for decades conning cash from the gullible in
    government and private finance. It was spun out to an independent debt
    laden company called Imagek which had to change its name to SiliconFilm
    because nobody wanted to invest in or work for something called "I'm A
    Geek". From something that was hailed to fit in all 35mm SLR bodies it
    soon became Nikon FM-2 specific and finally debued at PMA in 2001 where
    it was already too little too late and eventually did the decent thing
    and disappeared into the mists of time to be quietly fogotten about...
    until you asked! ;-)

    Kennedy McEwen, Apr 22, 2007
  4. aniramca

    Mark Dunn Guest

    1280x1024p. Snigger (with hindsight of course). This thing kept threatening
    to appear at Photokina but there was never anything more than dummies
    (products, that is, not buyers).
    Mark Dunn, Apr 23, 2007
  5. aniramca

    dj_nme Guest

    From memory, by the time Imagek had eventualy anounced their 1.2mp
    Silicon Film insert there were already consumer digicams that could
    out-resolved it anyway.
    So it would seem to me that the extremely long devlopment time is partly
    what ultimately killed it off.
    dj_nme, Apr 24, 2007
  6. Several "technical" issues were responsible for that development time,
    not least of which was the issue of getting the sensor on the same plane
    of focus as film would be, which meant a naked sensor, no filter or
    cover plate. Then there was the issue of synchronising the sensor with
    the camera shutter.
    Kennedy McEwen, Apr 24, 2007
  7. aniramca

    dj_nme Guest

    That is why it took so long to produce nothing, but a consumer (whether
    they be pro photog or aunt betty taking snaps) shouldn't have to worry
    about the "magic" that makes it possible, they just want a product they
    can actualy use and if it ain't there they just don't care.
    dj_nme, Apr 25, 2007
  8. Absolutely right. That was the remarkable success story of the Kodak
    'Box Brownie'.

    Amazing then that the PC has been such a success, since it isn't
    anywhere near that stage yet.


    [The reply-to address is valid for 30 days from this posting]
    Michael J Davis
    Some newsgroup contributors appear to have confused
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    Michael J Davis, Apr 25, 2007
  9. The consumer never had to "worry about the magic that makes it
    possible", however the designers did - and it was the impossibility of
    that "magic" which meant the final product target too restricted a
    market (ie. too few consumers) with far too little capability compared
    to alternate solutions (eg. specifically designed dSLRs) at lower cost.
    Kennedy McEwen, Apr 27, 2007
  10. That doesn't make any sense. Kodak produced an large collection of backs
    for standard Nikon and Canon cameras. As far as I know, the Kodak backs
    were quite popular. They also had to put any protective covers/filters
    between the film plane and the shutter (though it is possible that Kodak
    restricted themselves to camera with enough space).
    Philip Homburg, Apr 28, 2007
  11. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    It makes sense as a "back" is different from an insert to take the
    place of the film.
    Backs can be made to fit a particular model (or line of similar
    models), but that's just not the same thing.


    The View on Disney-owned ABC dropped Rosie
    O'Donnell, even after she agreed to stop
    talking about George Bush. The president
    has no leverage over ABC. Disney is not a
    defense contractor, unless you count the
    war rationales we buy from Fantasyland.
    Bill Funk, Apr 28, 2007
  12. Having a product is better than having no product. If there is a large
    class of cameras that do have enough space and a few cameras don't, then
    it makes sense to focus on the products you can sell.

    It is like Leica where it is better to sell cameras with a weak IR filter,
    than not selling any digital M. (However, Leica should have warned people
    in advance about this problem).
    Philip Homburg, Apr 28, 2007
  13. aniramca

    dj_nme Guest

    I'm not sure if that is realy true, a good example I can think of in the
    digital SLR marketplace is Pentax Vs Contax (Kyocera using the Zeiss
    Both companies developed a DSLR body to put around a Dalsa 6.1mp 24x36mm
    sized sensor.
    Pentax realised during the development phase that the IQ from the chip
    wasn't up to snuff (Dalsa also put the price up) and canned the project
    before going beyond (what software develpoers call) "alpha testing" of a
    few finished prototype camera.
    The Contax version of the story is different and they pushed it out the
    door, even though it had "issues" with noise at anything other than it's
    base ISO setting.
    The cost of manufacture and the bad press (and the hit to sales of an
    already "niche" product) that came off the back of the noisy sensor is
    what killed off Contax as a digicam brand.
    Leica is the only game in town for using their M lenses on a digital
    body, Epson stopped making their RD-1 or RD-1s about a year ago.
    dj_nme, Apr 29, 2007
  14. The Kodak backs only fitted very specific Nikon and Canon bodies and
    certainly weren't interchangeable across the Nikon & Canon range.
    Precisely. Many film cameras have the shutter blind very close to the
    film plane and would compete with the sensor filter for space.

    A generic "one size fits all" digital sensor to replace film is
    impossible for this reason, and others that I mentioned. That was
    eventually accepted by Imagek/SiliconFilm who announce that their
    product would be specific to only one Nikon body type shortly before
    they ceased trading.
    Kennedy McEwen, Apr 29, 2007
  15. Obviously, there no point in making a product that nobody wants to buy.

    But suppose that you can make a 'digital film' that fits lots of Nikon and
    Canon bodies.

    Are you just going going to wait until can make something that fits all
    35mm cameras ever produced? Or are you just going to ship when the
    market is big enough to support the product you can make?
    Even then, the image quality has to be reasonable. Otherwise, there is
    no point in using it.
    Philip Homburg, May 1, 2007
  16. aniramca

    dj_nme Guest

    Philip Homburg wrote:
    The problem with this now is that all of the major SLR makers now make
    their own DSLR cameras and it is possible to buy a DSLR which you can
    use their lenses on for even less than the projected cost of the
    Imagek/Silicon Film product.
    I believe that history has passed them (Imagek/Silicon Film) by.
    Unless you're talking about the constantly shrinking pool of users (most
    I would guess would have moved on to DSLR cameras made by Nikon, Pentax
    or Canon) for manual focus Minolta (MD/MC) and Canon (FD) cameras and
    The IR contamination problem seems to have been squashed with two
    methods by Leica, giving M8 users 2 free IR block lens filters and
    offering a firmware upgrade that corrects it for in-camera jpeg files.
    dj_nme, May 1, 2007
  17. I think I would pay something like $1000 for a good 1.3x (maybe also for 1.5x)
    sensor that works well in a Nikon F/F2/F3/F4.
    You left out the third method: convert the image to B/W.

    Using filters is good way to turn an excellent lens in an average one.

    I don't believe for one moment that either IR or aliasing issues can be solved
    in software.
    Philip Homburg, May 1, 2007
  18. aniramca

    Bill Funk Guest

    Let's suppose you could solve the problem of actually fitting a sensor
    between the current camera's back and shutter.
    You will still need to do some modifications to the camera to allow
    communication between the camera and the insert.
    Then, there's the problems of where to put the battery, how to get rid
    of heat, and storage/retrieval of the images.

    How would one determine the size of the market? I don't think there
    are enough owners of cameras who would seriously want to spend for the
    insert plus the mods needed, when DSLRs that are much more capable
    already exist at what may well be the same or lower cost. (But I could
    be wrong.)


    Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign office
    stopped using her maiden name last week and now
    simply refers to her as Hillary Clinton. She's
    completely dropped the name Rodham. It's a sure
    sign that one of her brothers is about to get
    indicted again.
    Bill Funk, May 1, 2007
  19. aniramca

    Jerry Guest

    I'd think another problem would be a variance in the distance between
    the film cannister and the centre of the sensor, which would likely vary
    between cameras. With film this isn't critical, with a digital insert
    it would need to be precise.
    Jerry, May 1, 2007
  20. aniramca

    Jim Guest

    And also, it wasn't just the back, the body was modified as well.
    Kodak made two series one out of Nikon bodies and the other with a
    Canon body.
    Jim, May 2, 2007
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