Author Topic: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge  (Read 6025 times)

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Offline chicken

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DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« on: August 21, 2013, 02:55:13 am »
Another one in the "I would buy it, but not before I can touch it" category
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/digipod

Rather unlikely to be funded. But if, the project has failure written all over it.

Here the history of a previous attempt
http://www.f-stopeight.com/converting-film-cameras-to-digital-efs-1-the-technology-that-almost-was/

And here some analysis why it won't work for physical and economical reasons.
 

alm

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 04:10:27 am »
Too little too late. Ten years ago this could have sold well with decent specs, since people had lots of money invested in film SLR bodies. By now almost everyone will have replaced/augmented their film body with a dSLR or high-end digicam, or stopped doing serious photography, so this product will have to compete with existing dSLRs. And quality and UI will suck. Set the ISO before putting it in the camera? Really? The market for this, even if it had a snowball's chance in hell of being funded and well executed, would be a very small niche.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 12:30:35 pm by alm »
 

Offline AG6QR

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 05:38:33 am »
I would fit in the target market.  I own a Nikon F2, Nikon F3, Nikkormat EL, Nikon FM, and a Nikon FM2n, along with a bunch of lenses for them.  I really like the ergonomics of the old manual focus Nikons.  The viewfinders are far superior to any DSLR I've seen, and the controls are completely intuitive, with no menus, mode settings, or other computerized automated stuff to get in the way and mislead you.  If you want to change the shutter speed, turn the shutter speed dial.  Change the aperture?  Rotate the aperture ring.  Change the focus?  Rotate the focus ring.  Each control has one function, and each function has one control.

But I bought a Nikon D200 DSLR about 6 years ago, and have only shot a couple of rolls of film since.  The D200 isn't as nice as the F3, but it's nice enough.  It lets me use my old lenses.  And it has a preview screen on the back that lets me see that I've captured a shot.  Its viewfinder, while not as big and bright as my F3's, does have the nice property that it shows me exactly what my sensor is going to capture, unlike what would happen with a crop sensor used on a standard sized old 35mm SLR.

There are only so many old 35mm SLR bodies hiding away in closets, and the supply is unlikely to ever increase substantially.  So the market for a digital adapter is likely to drop off to near zero once everyone who wants one has it.

A large part of the joy in using the old mechanical 35mm cameras is in the big, bright viewfinder.  But unless the digital sensor was a full 24x36mm size, much of the viewfinder would be wasted with a digital back.  And a "full frame" sensor would be frightfully expensive.

There was never any standardization of the distance between the film cartridge and the gate where the image was formed.  Any "digital film" type thing will have to have adjustability in order to fit a variety of cameras.  Combined with the need to fit into the very thin space of a piece of film, I think the "digital film cartridge" idea is doomed technically.

A digital film back, as discussed in chicken's "economical" link above, is more viable, but still not viable enough, for the reasons outlined in that link.

I wish I could use my old cameras digitally.  But realistically, it's not going to happen.  Any digital adapter would have a limited market, and would have to compete with the concept of a completely integrated DSLR that could use my old lenses.
 

Offline MFX

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 06:10:47 am »
Too little too late. Ten years ago this could have sold well with decent specs

As he mentions it was tried but it went nowhere. TBH These days if you still have a 35mm body then you use it to shoot 35mm film, I know a couple of professional photographers that still shoot 35mm on occasion for "the look" as well as digital. If you want to shoot digital then buy a digital camera. It's still possible to buy 35mm film so I can't really see the point of this project.

Martin.
 

Offline cloudscapes

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2013, 09:02:40 am »
It's interesting, but the crop factor/diminished sensor size is why I think it will ultimately fail. The biggest sensor he offers is 4/3rds. This is way ahead in quality of what point&shoot cameras and phones offer. I use an Olympus E-M5 which uses that sensor size, and there are many other cameras with this sized sensor, some of which you can get for $400 with kit lens. And that's the problem. I don't think the DigiPod can compete, price-wise.

He's not offering more than what even the lowest-end micro four thirds camera will offer, and I think the image quality will suffer because he doesn't have Sony's, Panasonic's or Olympus' engineering savoir-faire behind him. There's is a lot of software correction done, in-camera. Even on RAW files, believe it or not.

If this were full-frame, I'd be all over it, even for $1000. Because digital full-frame cameras cost upwards of $2000, and are usually closer to 3k. But it's not. It will have the same image potential as a $400 mirrorless camera (which these days, have SUPERB lenses), so I don't really see the point.

By image potential, I mean DOF, and field of view. You can get wide-angles on 4/3rds cameras using their own lenses, and you can get wide-angle easily enough on full-frame/35mm cameras using any lens, but it's very very difficult to mount a legacy 35mm lens, give it a 2x crop factor as he is offering then still have it wide-angle. You'd need 15mm or under, and availability of such lenses on legacy 35mm systems vary from extremely rare, not bright (high aperture) or just not available at all. But it's not a problem if you're only interested in portait and telephoto photography. The other part of image potential is DOF. With full-frame and 35mm, you can get much greater creative control over DOF.

I still shoot 35mm film as well as 4/3rds digital, and one of the main reason I still stick with 35mm film is for the extra creative control to DOF as well as availability of extremely wide-angle lenses. If I were to stick a 4/3rds sensor in that system, I lose both of those.

Interesting in concept, but bottlenecked by the sensor size he chose.
 

alm

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2013, 10:25:54 am »
A full-frame model would costs more than $1000. The sensor is a substantial part of that $2k, and that's at Canon/Nikon volumes. There's no way that a small volume manufacturer is going to compete on cost.

And even then you give up many of the features that have become standard on modern digital cameras. Instant feedback with histogram for example, I don't think it has a display. ISO that you can change between every picture. Live focus. How do adjust the white balance? I'm sure there is a small group that doesn't care for these features and wants a full manual dSLR at any cost. But this group will also demand excellent performance, and I doubt that they're using the latest sensor technology.
 

Offline cloudscapes

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Re: DigiPod digital 35mm film cartridge
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2013, 12:59:54 pm »
Yeah, I guess I knew that already.  ;) It's just a naive part of me thinks that one could source some cheap NOS full-frame sensors from the old canon 5D mk1 specs. Underperforming compared to today's stuff for sure, but still FF! Yeah I know, not very likely.

My main point was that you can stick you great old glass on a cheaper mirrorless with better sensor and a $10 lens adapter, so there's isn't much such a project would offer. UNLESS the sensor size was interesting.
 


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