...Has Anyone seen this yet! Digifilm!!

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by chuck_foreman|1, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Andy Collins originally started a thread on this tantalizing subject. I recently replied to this as the mysterious ardor surrounding the end product has been lifted. So I decided it deserves a new thread. One downside of the overhaul of the forums here a PNet has been the dating of the posts. I prefer last written, as first seen. So replying to an old posts shows the oldest entries first... Grave error IMHO!

    So someone (MF Jensen HongKong) using the Yashica name has created a Retro looking Yashica 35Y with a "digifilm" insert.
    I will attach a few links and photos of same.
    AS great minds do think alike... I once considered a similar solution to use old cameras with an insert that would allow one to use our CMCs once film either becomes too expensive or disappears completely. I do think they are on the right track here... but a "universal" module or an adaptable model would be my choice as I suspect the construction differences are enough that the sensor would not always be centered on the focal plane. Back to the drawing board

    Davecaz is more up to date than myself. He has ordered one from the Kickstarter project that is funding this. So we are waiting impatiently for the prototype in December

    There are more videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6en9TEc7y9rSiawMVfgxSg

    Expect the Unexpected. digiFilm™ Camera by YASHICA

    There are some disparaging things being said about this new offering. But let's not be too gloomy. Lets wait and see!! I suspect if it falls short of my hopes, it will still find a niche crowd with its retro appeal.

    I am most interested in how the film sensor design could be exploited in a universal or semi universal model ie a modular digi insert that could fit most if not all 35s and another model for MF.

    I would fund such a project!!



    The real reason I created a new post was to make this uppermost and to show the modular film insert!! Although in this case .. it's dedicated to only this model.


    I think someone should capitalize on this concept and make it work...better than the limited (exploitative ) goals for the new Yashica 35Y
  2. With a 1/3.2" sensor (about the size of an Iphone 5 sensor) and fake film cartridges to change ISO and other settings (instead of using the camera's menu like all other digital cameras) I don't see much to like about the purported Yashica. There are a number of digital rangefinder styled cameras around (like Fuji and Leica) so if that is your style digital camera then its currently available. As someone who grew up on mechanical film cameras and still love the tactile feel of using them, I do fail to see the fascination with "digital film" devices that are either large and clumsy devices or turns out to be vaporware. It is sort of the Maltese Falcon for mechanical camera lovers, "the stuff that dreams are made of". If I want to shoot film, I would just use a film camera (like my dad's Canonete or my brother's Canon A1, or my dormant collection of EOS film cameras). If not, I just use an EOS DSLR or more likely an Olympus OMD.
  3. Vapor ware, completely unpractical. No body will make it
  4. Cheeses! Will this mad subject never die?

    A company called Silicon Film failed to produce a real product like this two decades ago or so. It's no more a practical proposition today.

    Can a full-frame sensor the thickness of a film base be produced today? No!
    Can all the necessary electronics + battery be squeezed into the volume of a 35mm cassette? No!
    Would such a system offer any economic advantage over a complete digital camera? No!

    I don't doubt that someday the technology to make such a device an economical proposition will come along, but that's not anytime soon. By which time most film cameras will have become unusable rust heaps, while digital camera and lens image quality will have advanced to make any film era lens image look like Niepce or Talbot's first smudges do to us now.

    And why has that "Yashica" camera plainy got Nikon engraved on it. All this when it's not even close to April first!
    fmueller likes this.
  5. I just plan to enjoy film and film cameras for as long as possible. When I do reach for digital I'm glad to have a system designed for it, rather than adapted to it.
    James Bryant and beegeedee like this.
  6. I've been interested in this concept since 2001. There's nothing new about it. I even bought stock in a company which claimed it was working on a "digital film" project. Lost money, they spun off the concept to somebody else, who shelved the idea, and meanwhile the stock fell to about 10% of its value when I bought it. So yeah, this is a concept I've long believed in, but still nobody's come up with a working product you can actually buy. I've even made extensive drawings of how the "film canister" and "film leader" would have to work. Just need somebody to put it into practice. I recall, several years ago, running across a fellow from England who had built a unit that worked with a Minolta SLR he was using as his test bed. He had posted videos on the 'net, explaining his invention's performance. But I guess he wasn't able to gin up enough interest. Which mystifies me.

    To me, it's always been a no-brainer that somebody would develop and bring to market a digital film device, what with the billions of 35mm SLRs in existence. There's certainly enough customers if it's developed right and priced right. Vapor ware? I dunno, maybe. But eventually it will be easily do-able.
  7. SCL


    Not getting my hopes up, as I did when Silicon Film was announced years ago. I'm guessing this is only the latest twist on "fake news".
  8. Think the OP needs to research exactly what the Yashica is--and isn't. Lots of online resources on the new Yashica. There's nothing but a module holding an sd card and fixed ISO/format circuitry. Sensor is in the camera. This isn't a replay of the Silicon Film farce.
  9. Let's be realistic! - The Yashica Kickstarter project is a lovely environment friendly idea to bring film vibes to modern "kids" and or similar consumers. - It is of course close to shady to sell menu options that others select with a few button presses for an extra fee in a plastic token. - On the other hand: We shouldn't forget non professional photography is about fun!
    Maybe that Yashica is a toy? But if it works for some folks and keeps them happy, why not?
    I'd have loved to acquire a digital (toy) camera with lots and lots of retro vibes. I was sad that Minox classic replicas came without interchangeable lenses or manually cocked shutters. The Yashica doesn't appeal to me due to it's most likely questionable AF being likely to get into my way. - I'd rather zone focus such a short lens by hand.
    Dpreview linked a nice article about digitizing CMCs with a hacked Nex to their "I'm Back" related article.
    By now I maybe already own too many classic(?) digital cameras to shoot them all till they fall apart. So I fear doing the same to my film cameras would be really too much. I'm not the watchmaker type who'd dare a Nex hack but it feels good to know that the option exists.
  10. Now if the digital R&D folks wanted to market a fun, but still practical digital camera designed to stir up some film camera nostalgia, they'd modify a digital display to simulate the view through various film cameras. For example, the "view" one would see through a Nikon FM, Canon Ftb, Minolta SRT, Olympus OM-1, Pentax Spotmatic (to name a few) could be selected from a menu. To further explain selecting OM-1 would produce the familiar needle between the + and - that OM-1 users remember so well. Switching to Minolta SRT would produce the loop and needle at the right side of the finder. I'm no expert, but it probably wouldn't be an expensive addition. No clue as to whether or not it would sell. Otherwise, the camera is still digital.
  11. I'm afraid the conversion concept holds no appeal for me. A film camera shoots film, end of story; I can still shoot film in it if I wish, so why bother converting it to digital? Film and digital are different mediums, both of which have their virtues, and on Forums such as CMC we celebrate the continuing existence of film, and the machines that were created to utilise it. Being mainly a SLR user, it is (and was) mainly the lenses I'm interested in, having been quite happy with the ability of most SLR cameras to expose a frame of film in a competent fashion, and the arrival of full-frame digital cameras that would accept these lenses was rather a dream come true. The latest mirrorless digital cameras allow me to use these lenses far more effectively than I was ever able to on a film camera. So, it's the best of both worlds; I have the film cameras that satisfy my interest in film and all it's processes, and a platform that has vastly extended my usage of some fine old lenses. Why would I want to create some sort of hybrid?

    Interestingly enough, the hybrid concept was in the throes of being realised at the turn of the century, but appears to have been swamped by the incoming digital tide. See my post;

    A Bridge to Nowhere
  12. It is definitely an idea whose time has "went".

    Maybe in 1990, such a "digital cartridge" would have been attractive to more than dozens of old camera collectors.

    For now, it just looks to me like someone had a spare APS cartridge to mock up a model.
    fmueller likes this.
  13. The early DSLRs were Nikon film SLRs with a new back, and other connections to the internal electronics.

    I don't know that it was easy to convert back again, though.

    But it is more convenient for users, and for manufacturers, to design digital from the start.
  14. The concept appeals to me but I think it has as much chance as me flapping my arms and flying to the moon.
    Why the appeal? Well, why do I still use film? Because that is what the cameras I like take. After looking into a dinky useless viewfinder, trying to focus a legacy lens on a DSLR, I have renewed enthusiasm when I bring my OM-1 up to my eye and focus on that big bright (and interchangeable) screen. I use the 1-10 screen, plain matte with grid lines. Oh yes, I suppose one could cough up $5K or so for a full frame DSLR, a large and heavy monster to be sure. But why, I have perfectly good SLR's from the 70's that are mechanical marvels. Besides, I certainly don't have that level of disposable income. (And I suspect I'm far from alone in that regard.)

    Yes, it ain't going to happen but....what I'd like to see is an interchangeable back for my OM-1, about the size of the Data back, with power supplied by a battery pack that attaches to the bottom of the camera and supplies power through built in contacts that go into the digital back. I'd even accept a smaller than FF sensor, say 18X24mm (Yeah, I'm a half frame fan.) And a matching screen with the outline of the frame on the screen. Since all OM single digit cameras had interchangeable backs in practice it would be; unclip the film back, clip on the digital back and power supply.

    Young folks who have only had DSLR's with tunnel vision penta-mirror vf's always have a WOW moment when I let them take a peek through my 44 year old OM-1 with a 85mm f2 attached.
  15. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Looking at the MF-23 back on my F 4 and other similar backs for Nikon, I would think that something would be "possible" for cameras with that capability. There would be quite a bit of space. Economic viability is quite another matter.
  16. I still think that one day somebody will come up with an entirely self-contained device that can be dropped into any 35mm SLR and which will be able to capture images that will be the equivalent to any images captured by current technology DSLRs. It's a matter of wanting to do it; it isn't a matter of any sort of tricky tech that needs to be overcome. The cartridge can have a small LCD readout to display pertinent information, a mini USB jack to charge onboard batteries, and a slot for a micro SD card to store images. Since the film pressure plate on SLRs is spring-loaded, there's room for a bit of thickness at the film plane. So the sensor (full frame, of course) is located on an extensible tongue -- one that can be locked in place at the proper location. Battery life will be okay since there is no display other than the small LCD one on the cartridge. But the cartridge could also contain a wireless function so that it could send images over a wireless connection, where they could be displayed on a smart phone or larger device. Or they could be sent directly to a wireless-ready printer. The cartridge would stay centered by both the pressure of the film pressure plate, and the spindle used to rewind the film. The module would have a few small switches -- on/off and up/down/enter switches to select from a small menu displayed in the LCD readout. For example, ISO can be selected via this method.

    As for how it operates, this is one way I see it working. The sensor will be in an "always on" condition when the module is loaded in the camera. When the back is closed, the sensor picks up the total darkness condition and resets itself to "always on", waiting for another exposure. Once the next exposure is made, the digital module resets itself again to "always on", waiting for another exposure, and so on. The camera would be used just as if film were in it. For example, the camera's meter will be used to set the aperture and shutter speed. All the module needs is light. The self-timer and mirror lock up (if available) would be used just as if film were in the camera. What's nice -- even important -- about this arrangement, is that nothing needs to be done to the camera to make this work. One can pop out the digital module and immediately load a film cartridge and start shooting away with one's film of choice.
    m42dave likes this.
  17. Over the years I had had many cameras in my hands and fixed quite a few of them. Also, I have a degree in precision engineering. And all this experience tells me that this concept will never make it to real. How will you compensate for different distances between cartridge axis and film window? And how do you want to transfer the advance mechanism to the cartridge and tell it that there will be a new pic? There are several different concepts of film advance in mechanical cameras. Some of them turn the cartridge axis (via a friction coupling) and stop it as soon as the sprocket wheel turned by the pulled film has made one full turn. Some make it the other way round and turn the sprocket wheel a full turn and the cartridge axis is loosely coupled to that drive. I do not remember how many times this subject has appeared during the last decade ... but noone has ever seen a digital film cartridge yet and probably noone will ever do so.
  18. Waste of time
    SD card is far superior than the bulky "digifilm"
  19. You're quite right, John, given my interest in legacy lenses, those are two reasons why I abandoned DSLR's in favour of the Sony full-frame digitals. The Electronic Viewfinders are just so far advanced over optical viewfinders, maintaining a consistent brightness irrespective of light conditions, giving one a real-time indication of one's exposure and, best of all, providing magnification of selectable areas of the subject matter. At last I can see what a lens is actually doing, something I always had enormous difficulty achieving with a 35mm camera, especially in areas such as botanical photography where focusing is critical. It's very like using a loupe on the screen of a view camera, something I spent a fair proportion of my photographic life doing. The EVF has rendered my use of vintage lenses entirely practical and I'm afraid the optical viewfinders on my SLR's now seem somewhat inadequate.

    Yes, toting around a full-frame DSLR can be a tiring business, but the full-frame digital mirrorless cameras are much the same dimensions as a regular SLR,and weigh a little less.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017

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