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Saturday, August 17, 2013

DigiPod Converts Film Into DSLR Camera

The DigiPod is a digital cartridge that fits inside an old film SLR camera, and if could be groundbreaking if it ever makes it to the consumer market. It was designed by UK developer and former photographer James Jackson, who has spent the last 5 years perfecting his design for this Digital Film Pod that could put his old Nikons, Canons and Leicas back in the game.

The prototype model comes with a 2/3-inch sensor, but with more funding and backing, bigger sensors can be included in the future. Jackson needs 1,000 backers to reach his current goal. If the backers reach 2,000, the sensor size increases to 1-inch. And if they hit 5,000, they’ll go even bigger and put a 4/3-inch sensor inside. Visit this website if you have interest in backing the project.

"As a 58 year old ex-professional photographer I have for years been looking at a number of old analogue or as I call them wet film (refers to the developing process) SLR camera bodies that I used as a young professional, all of which are precision mechanical instruments, they all hold great memories and have taken some great images."

"Some are completely mechanical others have batteries to power meters, there are Nikons, Canons and a couple of Leicas’, in my eyes they are all works of art and I have taken some wonderful images with them, but they have not taken pictures for a number of years and that’s a sin. So for the last five years been looking for a way to make a digital film pod to replace the 35mm film for these cameras, there has been a number of prototypes and a very steep learning curve for me."

"I wanted the Digipod to be as versatile as possible in the space available, so there is no hard memory, everything is saved to a micro SD card, plus it has a mini USB for direct connection to a computer and a built in battery. Others have tried, notably “Silicon” back in 2000, but they failed due to technical problems. Having researched their attempt, I came to the conclusion that it was an overcomplicated project which made it too expensive and the hardware was just too big, given that the smallest memory cards in 1999 were the thin smart media cards and a maximum of 128 MB memory (about 24, pictures at that time) so it’s no surprise that they fell by the wayside!"

"Well the world has moved on since then and I have done a great deal of work on the problem. I am glad to say that with the advances in technology I have developed a digital film pod that will fit most, if not all 35mm SLR cameras and some of the mechanical non-SLR viewfinder 35mm cameras (like Leica, Olympus trip and Rolli, ones I have to hand and have tested). I have known that the hardware required to capture images has reduced in size, you only have to look at some of the “spy” cameras available now on the internet.
The issue as I saw it was getting the hardware to fit the space available in a package that would be affordable, and have it interact with 35mm wet film cameras simply."

"It has been a “back to school” experience for me, with calculations of sensor size and focal plane, which is just one of the issues I came up against, combined with the difference in positioning of shutters in SLR cameras which I have overcome in the design of the Digipod case. The sensor in the Digipod will be a CMOS, it has a predicted 24 to 3200 ASA which can be set manually before the Digipod is put in the camera, there is a battery save mode you can set and the Digipod can be reactivated without removing it from the camera in one simply action if it has gone to battery save mode."

"It does hark back to another era of photography for many in one sense, it does not have a view screen so like those photographers of old you will have to wait a little to see the results, but at least you don’t have to develop them! I have followed many projects on crowd funding sites, many of them struggle to deliver on time or at all. I know how frustrating this is for the backers, so I made a decision to launch only after I had worked through the challenges most likely to cause delays."

For me, it meant securing and building relationships with suppliers, finalizing the product design and securing proof that contractors had good delivery history. Should Digipod really touch a photographic nerve, it could introduce some delays in delivery for the later backers and that’s only due to production limitations of the manufacturer, but we would be keeping everyone updated and the up side would be bigger sensors all round! The factory has assured us that they are equipped to handle large order sizes into the 2,000+a month range quickly and efficiently."

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