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Major F4 conversion

Mike Bradbury , Dec 17, 2007; 01:32 a.m.

After going kicking and screaming into the digital world I have to admit I love it, I am currently shooting with a D100. I have a F4 that has been benched due to the cost of processing and the way it runs through batteries. I have tried to sell it several times but thankfully it hasn't sold, because I love it and it takes great images. My question is; has anyone out there ever heard of converting an film format camera to digital? I know that back in the infancy of digital photography there was actually a digital back that fit on the back of the F4 but it was only like 1 megapixel and outrageously expensive, have they updated this product? I figure since the F4 frame is so bullet proof that it would probably make a nice digital camera. I am a bit of a hot rodding nut so the prospect of an engine swap gets me thinking. Mike


Steve Dawson , Dec 17, 2007; 04:04 a.m.

A few years ago a company called 'Silicon Film' or something like that was trying to develop a digital sensor which would fit into film cameras instead of film. I believe they invested serious money but never managed to come up with a satisfactory model and eventually the company went into liquidation. I think it's one of these things which is simple in concept but implementing it poses a great technical challenge.

Dave Redmann , Dec 17, 2007; 09:29 a.m.

[H]as anyone out there ever heard of converting an film format camera to digital?

As far as I know, the only 35mm film cameras for which there is any semi-current digital conversion option are the Leica R8 and R9, for which Leica makes (made?) an outrageously-expensive (IIRC, $6000 US) digital back. The back was about 10 MP and I think had a 1.3x crop factor. The prospect of there being another device like this, to fit the Nikon F4, anytime soon seems low. (Medium format cameras that take separate film backs are of course a different story.)

Greg Chappell , Dec 17, 2007; 11:20 a.m.

Shoot slides and buy a film scanner...

It takes longer and is more work, but it's also the only realistic possibility for getting images shot from an F4 into a digital form.

Mike Bradbury , Dec 17, 2007; 11:44 a.m.

I figured that it was a slim chance that something like that exisited since I had not heard of anything recently but i figured it was worth a shot.

Rob Bernhard , Dec 17, 2007; 12:24 p.m.

You can find many many discussions on this topic in the archives. There are a host of reasons why "film to digital" conversions will not happen. There are some threads with rather good discussions on technology and business models if you're interested.

Ellis Vener , Dec 17, 2007; 12:33 p.m.

Forget it.

Instead find a Kodak DCS 760. It was the best of the 6mp class cameras and had a 1.3 crop factor. Kodak built it around an F5 chassis.

Benny Spinoza , Dec 17, 2007; 12:40 p.m.

Keep your F4 for those special occasions in which you want your images to be readable for the next generation. I finished scanning some Kodachrome slides from 1951, and I got really great images. Do you think someone would be able to read your digital files 50 years from now?

Berg Na , Dec 17, 2007; 05:59 p.m.

Actually, there is a US company that successfully converted the Nikon F4 to digital years ago, but unfortunately, they don't provide their services to the general public...

Mike Bradbury , Dec 17, 2007; 08:15 p.m.

Thanks to all who contributed to my Q, I'll keep my F4 and probably buy a D200 (or something thats been out for a couple of years) now that the D300's are out. I am interested in the kodak DCS760 that Ellis refered to. I am always looking for ways to modify things to fit my needs, gets me in trouble sometimes but other times it pays off. Mike

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