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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 05:33 AM

Nikon Files Patent That Could Turn 35mm Film Cameras Into Digital SLRs

It's one of the holy grails of photography a practical, easy way to switch between digital and film for all the incredible analog 35mm cameras that are already in circulation. And while we don't know if it'll ever be produced, Nikon has recently patented a way of doing exactly that a replaceable digital back for 35mm film cameras.

Spotted by the Japanese blog Egami, the patent sounds much like the equivalent of a digital back for medium-format cameras. The patent also specifically mentions being able to adjust the flange distance, to make sure it's recording as accurately as possible.

Nikon Rumors has some translated text from the patent itself. From what I can gather, the back would probably have to be camera specific in order to be switched easily between film and digital. Naturally, there would be other hurdles to deal with as well making sure you protect the sensor when swapping backs, and getting the sensor to play nice with the shutter mechanism, all that sort of thing.

If Nikon were to actually go ahead and make this, the real sticking point would be price. There's a pretty good chance that this is patent for its own sake, so that no one else can make one, but if Nikon decides this is a product they want to create, how much would it go for? And what would users be willing to pay for it? Digital medium format backs cost tens of thousands of dollars, but I somehow doubt that a digital back for more than $1,000 would go over very well. Could a slightly lower resolution full frame sensor be assembled on the cheap? If they could create one for around $500, good luck finding old Nikons on pawn shop shelves anymore.


http://www.popphoto.com/gear/2012/12/nikon-files-patent-could-turn-35mm-film-cameras-digital-slrs?src=facebook

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Reply Nikon Files Patent That Could Turn 35mm Film Cameras Into Digital SLRs (Original post)
Sherman A1 Dec 2012 OP
MichaelSoE Dec 2012 #1
bluedigger Dec 2012 #2
Sherman A1 Dec 2012 #3
BrightKnight Dec 2012 #4
Major Nikon Dec 2012 #5

Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 09:11 AM

1. I've been waiting soooooo long

I sold all my gear, 35mm, 4x5, enlarger, etc. about 8 years ago but have held on to my Bronica 645 system waiting for the day I'd be able to get a digital back for it.

Digital backs for Hassy's, Mamaya 645's, etc. and all thousands of dollars.

Some day, some day.

Nah ... not a big enough market.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:51 AM

2. At least ten years too late.

I can see a few high end hobbyists converting their Hasselblads, maybe, but it would have to be pretty cheap to find much of a market today. Most users made the switch years ago. Why go to the bother when I can pick up a good used Nikon D series on CL for a few hundred $?

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Response to bluedigger (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:59 AM

3. as the article states

"There's a pretty good chance that this is patent for its own sake, so that no one else can make one,"

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 04:35 PM

4. Leica has done that for years and it is a great idea.

High end camera bodies should not be disposable and upgrading the back every 5 years would make more sense.

I felt a lot more comfortable investing in Nikon film cameras because I knew that they would last a lifetime. They should get back in the lifetime camera business.

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Response to Sherman A1 (Original post)

Thu Dec 20, 2012, 06:39 PM

5. I would rather Nikon produce a basic digital frame with a replaceable back

In other words, everything that is not part of the back would have a generic function that could be programmed by the back. That way you would have a digital SLR that has all the handling and functionality that new cameras have, with a replaceable back that can be upgraded.

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