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Rumors => Third Party Manufacturers => Topic started by: mrsfotografie on April 01, 2013, 04:08:40 AM

Title: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 01, 2013, 04:08:40 AM
I received some information that a large Japanese camera manufacturer is working on a digital film (that's right, film) that can be used in traditional analogue camera equipment.

The film uses a new type of binary image sensor technology that allows images to be captured and stored on the film without the need for electrical power to retain the data. Until now, imaging sensor technology has been limited to the use of volatile memory, necessitating the use of traditional CMOS or CCD imaging sensors and storage of the captured data on internal flash drives.

Binary image sensor technology is reminiscent of traditional photographic film. Each pixel in the sensor has a binary response, giving only a one-bit quantized measurement of the local light intensity. The response function of the image sensor is non-linear and similar to a logarithmic function, which makes the sensor suitable for high dynamic range imaging.

After exposure, the film is advanced in the same way as traditional analogue film.

When the digital film has been fully exposed, the roll is removed from the camera and connected to a computer or smartphone using a USB interface. Each stored image is read out successively and sent to the computer. The film can then be 'formatted' for re-use.

One roll can hold up to 24 images, but with advances in digital film technology it is expected that  higher storage capacities will become available when the film can be made thinner and wrapped more tightly.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mb on April 01, 2013, 04:44:25 AM
Okay, it is April 1st ;-)

BUT: There really WAS a company that wanted to produce some kind of digital film, allthough they never released it:
http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm (http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm)
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: Dylan777 on April 01, 2013, 09:39:48 AM

Since I'm not an expert with camera tech, what are the PROs taking pictures with film over current DSLR?  :-\ :-\ :-\
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 01, 2013, 01:00:24 PM
Okay, it is April 1st ;-)

BUT: There really WAS a company that wanted to produce some kind of digital film, allthough they never released it:
http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm (http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm)


That's really cool actually - interestingly anything you can think of already seems to have been invented by someone.

When I dreamed up the digital film (yes this is obviously an April 1st hoax), I later came to thinking that it wouldn't be necessary to advance the film itself - a fixed cartridge triggered by exposure to light would do the job just as nicely and do away with the need for moving parts.

Hence a good quality eFilm for a competitive price would still be marketable imho. Thanks for the link, mb!!!
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: AlanF on April 01, 2013, 01:09:46 PM
Okay, it is April 1st ;-)

BUT: There really WAS a company that wanted to produce some kind of digital film, allthough they never released it:
http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm (http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm)


That's really cool actually - interestingly anything you can think of already seems to have been invented by someone.

When I dreamed up the digital film (yes this is obviously an April 1st hoax), I later came to thinking that it wouldn't be necessary to advance the film itself - a fixed cartridge triggered by exposure to light would do the job just as nicely and do away with the need for moving parts.

Hence a good quality eFilm for a competitive price would still be marketable imho. Thanks for the link, mb!!!

Already invented as well  - a digital back?
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: RLPhoto on April 01, 2013, 01:40:01 PM
On A8r!L 1$t? R34Lly?
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: agierke on April 01, 2013, 02:28:00 PM
this got me thinking (and it is a good April Fools post!)

the idea of a digital film cartridge is a bit goofy but it could be kind of cool if you applied the way we used to buy film (and why we bought the kind of film we wanted) to digital sensors.

imagine you buy a camera system, but the digital chip component was somehow interchangeable or customizable and could be purchased separately. you could then buy a HDR module or a B&W module or any number of other preferred spec modules. i'm basing this off of the experience you used to have with film where you had to make a creative choice before picking up the camera. maybe you could even deliver the experience via a CF card that you could upload to the firmware or whatever (i certainly don't have the technical understanding of how this would work...just spitballin).

which brings up another idea...what if you could upgrade camera bodies with newer chip technology as it was released through an interchangeable module. how many people would be interested in extending the life of their 1Ds3 if it were capable of just popping out the sensor module and buying an upgrade? interesting idea.

anyway, fun little thread. appreciate the nudge to my imagination! 
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mb66energy on April 01, 2013, 02:43:43 PM
Here some snippets from their former web page www.siliconfilm.com (http://www.siliconfilm.com) (via the way back machine):

"PRODUCT AVAILABLILITY SUMMER 2000

"Going Digital is a Snap"™

*First shipments of EFS-1 are designed specifically for the following camera bodies: Canon EOS 1N, Canon EOS A2/5; Nikon F-5, Nikon N-90/F90, Nikon F-3. Additional model compatibility will be posted on this website as EFS Products become available."

"Here are some examples of higher-end digital cameras currently on the market, and how they compare to EFS-1:

Camera Model            "Street" Price        Focal Length Multiplier
Kodak DCS 560         $27,000.00   1.3
Kodak DCS 620         $10,000.00   1.6
Nikon D1           $5,500.00   1.5
Kodak DCS 315         $4,949.00   2.6
Silicon Film EFS-1      Below $800.00   2.85*

* Future Silicon Film products will have lower focal multipliers to meet the needs of photographers."

Later they tried to go full frame (on paper/PDF) but nevere managed to bring up some product.

I dreamed about a full frame silicon film with my F1 new - a dream camera in terms of operability etc.

@agierke:
I always hated to change cameras and to learn new control layouts. A exchangeable sensor-processor-unit would be great - sensor alone doesn't make sense because it needs co-evolved cpu's.

I am dreaming of a 18(10) mpix B/W module for my 600D(40D) which would provide 3 times the sensitivity due to the lack of the light absorbing RGB filter array and omit the necessity to do bayer demosaicing.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mb on April 01, 2013, 04:24:36 PM
Okay, it is April 1st ;-)

BUT: There really WAS a company that wanted to produce some kind of digital film, allthough they never released it:
http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm (http://m.dpreview.com/news/1999/9/4/siliconfilm)


That's really cool actually - interestingly anything you can think of already seems to have been invented by someone.

When I dreamed up the digital film (yes this is obviously an April 1st hoax), I later came to thinking that it wouldn't be necessary to advance the film itself - a fixed cartridge triggered by exposure to light would do the job just as nicely and do away with the need for moving parts.

Hence a good quality eFilm for a competitive price would still be marketable imho. Thanks for the link, mb!!!

When I first read about the "digital film", back in 199x, I was really amazed and thought of it as a good way to use my Canon EOS 100 (withOUT a "D" :-) as a digital camera that way. Sadly they never came up with something ready for the market...
I still have this old EOS100, and last summer I made a few nice portraits of my -- at that time -- 1 year old son, using my 85mm 1.8 on 100 ISO slides. Now I have the problem to scan those slides or to dig in my basement for my old slide projector to view those pictures  ;)

Currently I am saving some money to by a 5d3 some day. Until then I have to use my P&S A720IS, which is okay for a
while...

Bye, Mattias / mb
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 01, 2013, 04:41:32 PM
Already invented as well  - a digital back?

Yes, but not generally applicable as would be the 'digital film' ;)
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: ragmanjin on April 02, 2013, 04:38:05 AM
this got me thinking (and it is a good April Fools post!)

the idea of a digital film cartridge is a bit goofy but it could be kind of cool if you applied the way we used to buy film (and why we bought the kind of film we wanted) to digital sensors.

imagine you buy a camera system, but the digital chip component was somehow interchangeable or customizable and could be purchased separately. you could then buy a HDR module or a B&W module or any number of other preferred spec modules. i'm basing this off of the experience you used to have with film where you had to make a creative choice before picking up the camera. maybe you could even deliver the experience via a CF card that you could upload to the firmware or whatever (i certainly don't have the technical understanding of how this would work...just spitballin).

which brings up another idea...what if you could upgrade camera bodies with newer chip technology as it was released through an interchangeable module. how many people would be interested in extending the life of their 1Ds3 if it were capable of just popping out the sensor module and buying an upgrade? interesting idea.

anyway, fun little thread. appreciate the nudge to my imagination!

You just described Mamiya's system exactly — though each digital back will cost you a decade's worth of the film they replace.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: ECRoyce on April 03, 2013, 10:06:47 AM
this got me thinking (and it is a good April Fools post!)

the idea of a digital film cartridge is a bit goofy but it could be kind of cool if you applied the way we used to buy film (and why we bought the kind of film we wanted) to digital sensors.

imagine you buy a camera system, but the digital chip component was somehow interchangeable or customizable and could be purchased separately. you could then buy a HDR module or a B&W module or any number of other preferred spec modules. i'm basing this off of the experience you used to have with film where you had to make a creative choice before picking up the camera. maybe you could even deliver the experience via a CF card that you could upload to the firmware or whatever (i certainly don't have the technical understanding of how this would work...just spitballin).

which brings up another idea...what if you could upgrade camera bodies with newer chip technology as it was released through an interchangeable module. how many people would be interested in extending the life of their 1Ds3 if it were capable of just popping out the sensor module and buying an upgrade? interesting idea.

anyway, fun little thread. appreciate the nudge to my imagination!
a 'white box' camera you say?  "Why would you want to build your own PC when you can just go buy a good name brand IBM-compatible like Packard Bell for a couple thousand?" -heard 25 years ago...    pick your body size, optional optical viewfinder/mirror box, sensor, processor chip(s), card slot(s), battery and power converter, lens mount type, etc.  after all it is basically a little imaging computer.  Possible... practical?  If it is, I'm totally going to overclock mine with dry ice, put in a RAID-5 card array, and when I'm not shooting, use it for bitcoin mining. :) 
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: sandymandy on April 03, 2013, 12:47:00 PM
Digital backs for film 35mm cameras would be förking awesome but its unlikely to happen :( Digital Pentax spotmatic oh i wish for it.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: AprilForever on April 03, 2013, 02:26:57 PM
Digital backs for film 35mm cameras would be förking awesome but its unlikely to happen :( Digital Pentax spotmatic oh i wish for it.

My Spotmatic awaits that day also...
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: funkboy on April 18, 2013, 06:04:23 AM
One reason that this concept never took off in the past was the interface.  There wasn't really an easy way to retrofit the digital controls necessary to a film camera to set ISO, WB, etc etc.

But now everyone carries a bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet.  It would be easy enough to velcro a small touchscreen Android bluetooth device to the back of a film camera.  As a bonus it uploads your stuff for you, too.

Of course there's also the mechanical issue of sensor positioning & alignment to overcome...
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 18, 2013, 12:46:05 PM
Of course there's also the mechanical issue of sensor positioning & alignment to overcome...

This wasn't an issue with film so surely it would be possible for the sensor to 'autoalign' ?
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: Sella174 on April 18, 2013, 02:34:09 PM
One reason that this concept never took off in the past was the interface.  There wasn't really an easy way to retrofit the digital controls necessary to a film camera to set ISO, WB, etc etc.

Take your Spotmatic, screw off the back (the flap that opens to allow access for loading film) at the hinges, screw on the digital back with all the buttons, etc. and voila! one Spotmatic-D.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: funkboy on April 18, 2013, 07:27:36 PM
This wasn't an issue with film so surely it would be possible for the sensor to 'autoalign' ?

It was an issue with film, just not a very big one.  Most 35mm film provided the resolution equivalent of about a 6-8mp FF sensor, give or take (& depending on the film of course), so it was pretty tolerant to slight discrepancies in film flatness.  Contax's RTS III (& some Contax MF systems) had a vacuum system that would suck the film against the backplate so that it was absolutely flat, and folks were able to get a bit more resolution out of higher-end film as a result.

A modern high-MP CMOS sensor needs to be *absolutely* aligned and positioned in the plane of focus, so closely that it pushes the limits of the production techniques used to make our mass-produced camera bodies.  This is part of the reason why we have AF calibration in our cameras now, so that we can compensate for manufacturing tolerance variance in the distance between the lens mount & the sensor plane.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: funkboy on April 18, 2013, 07:31:25 PM
Take your Spotmatic, screw off the back (the flap that opens to allow access for loading film) at the hinges, screw on the digital back with all the buttons, etc. and voila! one Spotmatic-D.

It's a great idea (Leica did this with the Digital-Modul-R); the only issue is that you'd have to make an awful lot of different models to work with all the different manufacturers' camera systems out there...
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: Sella174 on April 19, 2013, 08:59:25 AM
the only issue is that you'd have to make an awful lot of different models to work with all the different manufacturers' camera systems out there...

As with any big project, you start with one ... and obviously exclude Canon EOS, Minolta Alpha, and Nikon at first. Furthermore, the basic framework for the digital "back" remains the same no matter what (35mm) camera.

Plus, with most cameras you can replace the film rewind lever with another dial for functions.
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: PureAmateur on April 19, 2013, 11:21:51 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: Albi86 on April 19, 2013, 11:34:11 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D

Seems awesome to me :)
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 19, 2013, 11:45:15 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D

Hmmm seems like they had the exact same idea as I did. Who was first? :P
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: PureAmateur on April 20, 2013, 05:18:52 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D

Hmmm seems like they had the exact same idea as I did. Who was first? :P

It does not matter to me.  As long as such product exist, I am buying!
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 20, 2013, 05:28:30 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D

Hmmm seems like they had the exact same idea as I did. Who was first? :P

It does not matter to me.  As long as such product exist, I am buying!

Well maybe some one or some corporation is listening ;)
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: Sella174 on April 21, 2013, 04:25:25 AM
A flexible sensor is very interesting ... they should start with B&W, as it would be easier (just one layer).
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: mrsfotografie on April 21, 2013, 04:42:51 AM
A flexible sensor is very interesting ... they should start with B&W, as it would be easier (just one layer).

They already make flexible displays, so it should be possible (but the degree of bending needed to get it on a roll is something else....).
Title: Re: Digital Film (for use in old camera's)
Post by: zim on April 21, 2013, 06:59:07 AM
How about this one?

http://re35.net/index.html (http://re35.net/index.html)

 ;D

Nice design idea, pity about the April 1st disclaimer though  :'(