Image sensor gadget gives old 35mm film cameras a digital upgrade

Originally published at: Image sensor gadget gives old 35mm film cameras a digital upgrade | Boing Boing

People have been proposing something like this since the very beginning of the digital revolution, but this price is juts too much you can get very good complete cameras or even a phone for that price


Yes, exactly right. Plus, lots of poeple just want to shoot film in their film cameras. You can buy and process a lot of film for $900


So, not really much of an ‘upgrade’. My old Nikons say no thank you. The Hasselblad, however, has been pestering me for one of these:

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Just such a gadget was brought together when digital cameras were still pretty new (early oughts). It was technically interesting but just didn’t work that well.

Of course, digital cameras have gotten a lot better, so who knows, but this seems like it will only appeal to The Youngs who have bought old K1000s and then find that chemical photography is slow and expensive.

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That’s a pretty significant downside, especially since it seems like you wouldn’t be able to even preview that much cropping through the normal viewfinder to know what was going to be in frame.

DSLR cameras typically have smaller sensors than 35mm, and thus tend to take cropped photos if using old lenses that were meant for 35mm SLRs, but at least you know what you’re going to get from them, and the lenses work just fine for what they are.

Given that this company first started selling a similar product back in 2016 (which was generally poorly reviewed from what I could find) the language in the kickstarter description seems way too bombastic and self-congratulatory for a 3rd-generation product that clearly still has many compromises.


This is exactly the idea I had way back when - of course coming up with a general concept is easy…

If they cut the price to half eventually, I would be interested.

It isn’t a good deal for people who want something NEW. But I see the value in people with old manuals who already have some good lenses in a paintball sticker covered Pelican case somewhere.

e-film was a thing…



There are plenty of high-quality Canon and Nikon DSLR camera bodies that are compatible with old lenses. Many of them cost less than this gizmo brand-new, and a ton of reconditioned ones are available for relatively cheap. I got a Nikon DSLR body to use with my old lenses for about $200.

I do see the nostalgia appeal for folks who want to use the neat vintage cameras of their youth but this solution seems significantly less appealing when it can’t capture full-frame images and it also involves a bunch of extra junk stuck to the outside of the camera that makes it harder to pretend that you’re shooting on film.


That’s my jam too. I’m shooting a 2000’s body (Olympus E-520) with 1970’s lens (Zuikos). When I’m trying for ease I use modern lenses, but I have a lot of high quality glass for cheap when I want to compose slowly. And there is something so satisfying about manual focus.

Ehm, just to make it clearer:
Camera with APS-C sized sensors work exceedingly well with lenses made for 35 mm, especially with respect to vignetting (as only the centre part of the image is used).
If you, OTOH, use, say, a Nikon DX lens (APS-C) on a full frame camera you obtain severely vignetted and probably cropped images.

A camera with an APS-C sensor used in combination with an old legacy Nikon F-mount camera lens that was designed to project an image onto 35mm film will still show a cropped image relative to what you would have got using the same lens on film. Per Wikipedia:

Using a DX lens on a full frame camera will also result in a vingetted image but for a completely different reason: the DX lens was never designed to project an image that wide so the sensor is bigger than it needs to be in that combination.

Meh. If it was $200 (optimally lower), then maybe, if it produced really nice images -would it be worth it (to me)

Exactly - I thought your statement was not clear, I did not say it was wrong.

Got it, I was just thrown off by the “works exceedingly well” part but I get what you mean now.

I repurposed an old Nikkormat I bought in a camera-store junk bin for a few dollars to support a Raspberry Pi camera. With a 9.4 crop factor it has limited utility but I can use a lot of old normal Nikkor lenses as telephotos.

More photos are at the bottom of this link:

Osprey Camera


Saw this gadget a week ago and was dubious. Now that I’ve looked through the videos, it’s actually worse than I imagined.

The main issue is syncing with the existing shutter. I had assumed the gadget would plug into the flash sync, which allows syncing to when the first shutter curtain is fully open. Combined with a slow shutter speed that would be a viable solution. Unfortunately that is not how it works.

Instead there is an adhesive red button that attaches to the back of the camera, and the camera is set to the bulb setting. To take a picture, hold down the original shutter button with the index finger then press the red button with the thumb. Frankly, I would expect better for a gadget costing $900.

And the idea that you can use a front mounted wide angle adapter to get the equivalent of full frame is laughable. The pictures on the site linked in the post are misleading. Click through to their Kickstarter page to see an actual example of all the distortion and chromatic aberration their adapter causes.


But, but… just think about all the adversity that this team of geniuses conquered to bring us this marvel!

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I’m sure they do, but I’m not sure why. 35mm film has about 12 Mpix resolution, IIR. Processing costs, delay for processing, etc. But then, a lot of folk prefer vinyl and a tube amp which has a ton of flaws.

which isnt that bad, actually; to get the same (real) resolution from a bayer-sensor, you need one with around 36mpx full-frame.

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