How to make a Film Camera into a Digital Camera
In early September I started this project with very little idea as to how this could be achieved, or whether it was even possible. I was inspired by Oliver Baker’s work on his “franken camera” project with a range finder Konica and a Nex 5. From that I had a few ideas I wanted to try. The biggest hurdle to overcome was installing the sensor at the film plane without it hitting the shutters. If this was not possible then the project was dead. The idea to install the sensor filters on the inside of the Nikon shutter was my breakthrough moment which enabled the sensor to be rebated into the film plane to a point where it achieves perfect infinity focus and yet is still clear of the shutters. The bonus of this method is the infra red filters can be removed for shooting with a bare sensor. Many DSLR owners are getting this conversion done for multi spectrum and astronomy photography. This 1980 Nikon FE can swap to either spectrum in a minute.
I took a few wrong turns with this project. My first idea was to use extension PCB ribbon cables for which I paid for drawings ready for production. However at $800 AUD that idea died. I then tried to meld and scallop a Sony Nex 5 onto the Nikon back. This looked good but the battery had to be installed in the motor drive and a shutter switch fitted elsewhere. Subsequently during one of many trial installs the motherboard went up in smoke. This turned out to be a bonus as the replacement Sony Nex 3 was a lot easier to install complete including battery. Meaning I could still use the motor drive.
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