Nikon patents revive the dream of a digital back for film SLRs?
A patent filed by Nikon in Japan appears to revive the long-held dream of adding a digital sensor to an existing film SLR. The Japanese Engineering Accomplishment blog found the recently published patent that shows a mechanism for mounting and adjusting the position of a digital sensor on a rear door that could be used to replace the conventional film door. However, the patent only covers the mounting of the sensor relative to the film guides - it doesn't address any of the hurdles that have stood in the way of anyone realizing this long-discussed idea.
Attempts to use digital sensors in film cameras dates back as far as the digital camera itself. The first digital SLRs were significantly-modified Nikon and Canon film models with alternative backs mounted on them. However, attempts to create systems that could be installed in a wide range of cameras, such as Silicon Film, have foundered.
|The patent diagram shows a method of fitting and aligning a digital sensor on an alternate back for a film camera.|
The most fundamental problems of retrofitting a digital sensor into the film bay of an existing SLR include lack of battery space and the need to constantly open the camera to change ISO, White Balance or any other image setting. And that's assuming many modern photographers would be willing to live without a rear LCD to check their images on.
The Nikon solution appears to involve a replacement back for the camera which would give the manufacturer more flexibility to overcome some of these problems.
However, there are still plenty of engineering challenges to overcome, as the blog post points out. The digital back would need to know when the shutter was being fired, in order to sync its exposure with the shutter's movement. The toppings in front of the sensor (microlenses, low-pass and IR filters) would need to be incredibly thin to avoid fouling the shutter, which is mounted very close to the film plane in conventional SLRs. Finally, existing bodies leave little room to fit the sensor's mounting board if it were to use a full-frame sensor, but using cropped-frame sensor would then require a means of masking the viewfinder to show the relevant crop.
All of these challenges could be lessened if the back were designed in concert with a new camera body.
Consequently, existing film SLR users might not want to get their hopes up too soon - we think it's unlikely Nikon would want to take on these challenges for each of a series of backs to suit the many existing models. Also consider that the number of old bodies can reasonably be assumed to be shrinking as they break or fall into disrepair and that only a proportion of owners would be willing to buy a digital back, and the market for each back looks increasingly small (meaning a handful of users would end up sharing the development cost of each different back).
|Many film SLR owners have long harbored the dream of converting their camera to digital. This patent doesn't bring that possibility much closer.|
The Engineering Accomplishment blog points out that, if you were to assume Nikon has continued the development of its film cameras, then the F6 is due for a replacement around now. If Nikon is intending to do anything beyond protecting a clever idea one of its engineers had (a fairly common fate for patents), we think it'd still involve having to buy a new camera first. (via PetaPixel)
|Owens Valley Milky Way by ed rader|
from Sign, sign, everywhere a sign..
|Break by Hank3152|
from Motion blur
|Camp by T bird|
from A Big Year - birds
|The Maasai Shepherd by cgravel|
from - African Man - (Portrait in Black and White + A Border)
According to rumors, the next camera from Nest will be able to capture 4K video, though that resolution will be only used for 'virtual' pan and tilt functions.
Boundary's Prima 'fully modular' backpack is expandable to 30L and has a removable camera case and tablet sleeve. Early Kickstarter backers can get one for $189.
Stanley Greene captured 'brutally honest' photographs in the war zones of the Middle East, Chechnya and Georgia. He was also one of the few African-American photographers working internationally.
Owners of Leica M cameras that suffer from peeling CCDs will be able to claim a free repair in the future so long as the camera was purchased within five years of the fault becoming apparent, the company has announced. Read more
No mic socket? No problem. In this video, Daniel Peters at Photo Gear News shows you how to make a lapel microphone using just a smartphone and a pair of earbuds.
The Carl Zeiss Jena BIOTAR 75mm F1.5 Red T lens is very rare and priced accordingly. It can be yours today for the low, low price of $15,000.
The MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has developed a drone that does not require any human control for recording tracking shots. Read more
In this terrifying video, Iraqi journalist Ammar Alwaely narrowly misses a sniper's bullet, which takes out his chest-mounted GoPro. Warning: strong language. Watch the video
A new report expects action camera growth to increase about 15% by 2021, with Ultra HD cameras driving demand. Read more
Profiles for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom have been released for Irix's ultra-wide 11mm and 15mm primes. Like all profiles, these correct for distortion and vignetting.
An upcoming firmware update from DJI will cripple its drones unless they are 'activated' on the company's website. Live streaming will be turned off and flight radius/altitude will be limited.
Brent from ShareGrid rounds up the 10 most common products filmmakers are renting from one another for productions; chances are good you own one or more of them.
DaVinci Resolve is making strong moves to compete with Premiere and Final Cut Pro, including affordable control panels for colorists. According to Premium Beat, they're really good.
If you are not planning to fly your drone commercially you are not required to register it with the FAA anymore. This decision was handed down by a federal court in Washington, D.C.
Whether you're syncing a flash, wondering why banding is appearing in your image or getting strange images from your camera's silent shutter mode, the way your shutter works has a role to play. Here's what happens when you press the shutter button. Read more
William Vazquez travels all over the world documenting humanitarian work. He spoke to us about the challenges of his work, the importance of research and why a multitool and duct tape are your best friends in the field. Read more
These ten film cameras stand the test of time. They are easy to find, affordable and capable of excellent results. Read more
Photographer Aydın Büyüktaş uses a drone, 3-D rendering and Photoshop to create mind-bending landscapes.
They're offering tips for composing selfies and converting to black and white.
Whether you're seeking ultra-high resolution, first-rate autofocus or 4K video capture, there are some supremely capable 'semi-pro' cameras available. Find out which models we liked best in our updated semi-pro camera roundup. Read more
With composition specified by the director, drones may one day be able to navigate a movie set on their own.
Canon has made the previous version, 1.1.0 available for download again.
Impossible? Not if you have a fast lens and 5 stops of stabilization.
This 'strictly limited edition' is a refurbished original Polaroid 600 redesigned with a custom two-tone paint job.
Nikon today announced a reorganization of its corporate structure which will see several divisions and business units closed or merged. Read more
High school students from New York got he chance to shoot along with award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv in Morocco.
VentureBeat reports that Monday's Surface Pro announcement will bring evolutionary updates to Microsoft's high-end Windows 10 tablet.
The Japanese Camera Journal Press Club has awarded Olympus three out of its four annual prizes after voting by photographic magazine editors and readers.
The photos are great, but whether drones should have been flying in a couple of these places is debatable.