Is there time for an interchangeable sensor DSLR?

Started Oct 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,188
I think you might have misread slightly

marcio_napoli wrote:

I understood what you mean, Grevture, but if you say so, doesn't it sound like good business to Nikon after all?

Well, so they could (for example) sell a FF digital back for 1.5k.

Imagine you could buy the D800 for 3k, and a module sporting the same 36mp sensor for 1.5k, ready to use on your F5.

But to make it work on a F5 you need a clunky solution akin to the old Leica DMR which was truly horrible. And you would only get - at best - something like a DX sensor to fit in a film camera, not a FX one. And you would get the same immense problems controlling the shutter as Leica DMR had (basically one shutter button tripping the shutter (in the camera) and one one triggering the sensor readout (in the sensor module). And you need a lot of connections from teh F5 that does not exists, like from the exposure meter and the AF to confirm to the sensor module when they are done so you can take a picture. And you need a lot of space for the sensor (which is a whole lot thicker then film, and you want a LCD screen behind it too) ... And where to we put the battery necessary and the rest of the circuit boards, the memory cards ...

Agian you would end up with something like the DMR who had the most abysmal handling I have ever experienced. And that camera did not even have to support AF (since Leica R never had AF).

Nikon would sell tons of both, I believe.

They are selling tons of the D800 which isn't all that expensive all things considered. Looking at the size of the potential target audience for the contraption you want, how many units could you sell, realisticly? Considering you can buy excellent image quality in one single much nicer and lighter little unit for around 650 USD? (the D3200). Not to mention getting a D600 or D800?

And following your logic, they could have tremendous profit doing so.

So back to my original question, why is it not commercially doable?

See above, and I think you slightly may have misunderstood what I wrote

There is a huge difference between the price of a sensor package built to work inside a digital camera with all the supporting infrastructure in place, and on the other hand a sensor package which need to connect to an old mechanical contraption not designed to house a digital sensor in the first place and all the necessary supporting technology around the sensor.

And under the risk of hijacking this thread, I'm gonna explore Silicon Film's concept even further.

I've found this info, right from DPreview's PMA 2001 show report.

"the unit itself has a built-in capacity for 24 images (64MB) after which time it must be inserted into the E-Box and its contents either transferred to a computer or CompactFlash card.

The second limitation is that the relatively small 1.3 megapixel CMOS sensor uses only about 30% of the center of the frame, this means that when looking through the viewfinder you have a small field of view (marked out by a supplied rub-on transfer) which equates to a 2.58x focal length multiplier, thus a 28mm lens becomes 72mm.

Lastly it only currently supports certain camera models: Nikon F5, F3, N60/N90 and Canon EOS-1N, EOS-A2, EOS-5."

It's ancient 2002 tech.

I mean, max storage of 24 shots per run? 1.3mp? 2.6x crop?

It's clear why it never went into production. 2002 tech did not allow a proper implementation.

What if you had these 2012 specs:

- internal storage for 2.000 shots.

- 24mp

- FF sensor

- could be used on a variety of popular film cameras (probably we all have some of those in our closets): F100, F5, F6... Leica M6 anyone ? etc

My point is: with the original specs, it was clearly headed downhill right from the start, even in 2002.

The old D100 runs circles around it.

But... what about these very doable 2012 specs?  Seems very easy to sell.

The thing is, they are not doable, not even today. First because you would never get beyond  DX sized sensor, and probably not even that big. Probably more like Fourthirds size (with a crop factor of 2). The space within a film camera is literally 24x36 mm while a FX sensor is usually significantly larger then that.

And again, consider how large the target audience really - realistically - is when we have cameras like D3200, D5100, D7000, D600, D800 and D800E to compete with (not mentioning all the cameras from other brands like the excellent little NEX cameras, Canons rather impressive lineup, the very good m4/3 cameras and so on ...

So, realistically: a small (I'll say tiny) audience, a technically complex product (making it connect with various old cameras will be no trivial task) making the digital film rather clumsy and thus - very, very expensive. Not easy to sell ...

Some previous posts from Joeseph to ponder, belive me, he knows what he is talking about:

About the digital film:

About the physical size requirements for a FX sensor and why it is not easy to make replaceable:

About why the replaceable sensor in a digital camera (as the OP want) is problematic, here Joeseph and signature 'kb2zuz' together recount a number of problems to deal with:

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I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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