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Can we just make our own digital RF ?
Old 01-17-2014   #1
clear2000
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Can we just make our own digital RF ?

Sorry if this has been covered before or maybe it's a silly question but, in this age of crowd-sourcing and kick starter, is it possible to build an affordable, high quality digital rangefinder ?
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Old 01-17-2014   #2
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It seems to be less likely to happen than ever before thanks to EVF getting so good.
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Old 01-17-2014   #3
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Or you could just stick this in one of your film rangefinders and problem solved:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/...-film-cameras/
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Old 01-18-2014   #4
David Hughes
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Hi,

It been done with SLR's; Minolta had a digital back for the 7000 but I only saw a couple of photo's of it and never saw anything else beyond vagueness. And the Leica R8 has a digital back available for a sum. Another firm announced the start of a programme to make one but then it fizzled out and I never heard of it again but the idea was a digital film substitute.

I think the problem is mainly that digitals for the mass market can be made cheaply and in bulk and a CRF needs to be made carefully and - as it's a small niche -market in small quantities. So the cost of R&D would be high per unit.

OTOH, sillier things have happened.

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Old 01-18-2014   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zvos1 View Post
Or you could just stick this in one of your film rangefinders and problem solved:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/...-film-cameras/
I would quite like such a device. It's not beyond the technology, but it isn't remotely commercial. Sad, really.
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Old 01-18-2014   #6
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Wouldn't be impossible but neither would it be simple. Your best bet would be to hack the innards of a DSLR in a film RF.

Someone already made himself a film rangefinder: http://www.collection-appareils.fr/p...hp?f=37&t=9185
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Old 01-18-2014   #7
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I could always understand film and digital lovers. I cannot say the same for people that would like some digital thing in their analog cameras. What for? If one likes jpgs and raws, can go for a digital camera, while somebody who likes film can go for a film camera. Most of us have both.
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Old 01-18-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
I could always understand film and digital lovers. I cannot say the same for people that would like some digital thing in their analog cameras. What for? If one likes jpgs and raws, can go for a digital camera, while somebody who likes film can go for a film camera. Most of us have both.
Because some prefer the handling of their film cameras, but want the convenience of digital?
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Old 01-18-2014   #9
Roger Hicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
I could always understand film and digital lovers. I cannot say the same for people that would like some digital thing in their analog cameras. What for? If one likes jpgs and raws, can go for a digital camera, while somebody who likes film can go for a film camera. Most of us have both.
Dear Nikos,

You can't understand them because they subscribe to not one, but several fantasies. First, they imagine that the market is much bigger than it is. Second, they have no understanding of how expensive both R+D and manufacturing are. Third, they are equally naive about firmware. Fourth, they imagine it's quite easy to fit a load of electronics into a small, full-frame camera body. If it were, would DSLRs be the tubs of lard they are?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-18-2014   #10
brbo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Second, they have no understanding of how expensive both R+D and manufacturing are. Third, they are equally naive about firmware.
Who does? Do you? How much?
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Old 01-18-2014   #11
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Simply certifying the camera's electronics is compatible with FCC and CE regulations would be a major expense. This assumes the camera would be sold in the US and EU.

Of course, home-made, one-off conversions are completely unregulated.
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on a budget...
Old 01-18-2014   #12
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on a budget...

If you look at how much it took to launch the MM for example, which was basically an altered M9:

Quote:
The black and white project devoured tens of millions of euros and tied one and a half years, a large part of the development team - a daring undertaking for the small company. - source
then it's easy to see that developing a digital rangefinder from scratch will not be possible 'on a budget'. It nearly tanked the Epson photo division before. Leica is just lucky that this niche product fits the scale of their operation, and that the price points are, although very high, considered fitting the reputation of their products.

The good news these days is that digital rangefinders are available on a budget: I'm seeing M8's locally for around €1000 now, and M9's for just under €3000, not all that different from new aps-c and full-frame dslr's.
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Old 01-18-2014   #13
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Your best possibility would be to get something like a Sony NEX dismantle it and fit it into a rangefinder body yourself. Start with an old FED 3 being rather large. Try to just remove the outer shell of the NEX with lots of effort you may just get it working.
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Old 01-18-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zvos1 View Post
Or you could just stick this in one of your film rangefinders and problem solved:

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/...-film-cameras/
Now THAT rocks! I would be so all over that.
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Old 01-18-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikos72 View Post
I could always understand film and digital lovers. I cannot say the same for people that would like some digital thing in their analog cameras. What for? If one likes jpgs and raws, can go for a digital camera, while somebody who likes film can go for a film camera. Most of us have both.
It's not that hard to understand, really. Not many digital cameras handle in a similar way to film cameras and many people who prefer the handling of the latter would welcome the convenience of the former. The niche of photographers who is interested in this concept is not insignificant, though too small for ever warranting a product built to suit. See the hype created by the Df and the cult following of the R-D1.
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Old 01-18-2014   #16
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Why not run the idea for a "RFF RF" by Kobayashi-san?

Chris
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Old 01-18-2014   #17
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Give me a ring, when your ready for prototyping!
I'm sure I could cook up some necessary parts

I think alot of people would be surprised what some are capable of, provided even with the most basic of tools. Sure, it may be a pipe dream, but saying "never" doesn't get you very far!
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Old 01-18-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Another firm announced the start of a programme to make one but then it fizzled out and I never heard of it again but the idea was a digital film substitute.
Who knows what happened to them - technical issues met financial shortage or someone just bought them not to allow reusing tons and tons of old cameras and lenses?
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Old 01-18-2014   #19
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Give me a ring, when your ready for prototyping!
I'm sure I could cook up some necessary parts

I think alot of people would be surprised what some are capable of, provided even with the most basic of tools. Sure, it may be a pipe dream, but saying "never" doesn't get you very far!
Indeed, never say never. But equally, try not to be too unreal/fantasist about the possibilities. My understanding was that the Epson was based on a LOT of free work by enthusiasts, and a "crippled" (small format, low resolution) compromise.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 01-18-2014   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jippiejee View Post
If you look at how much it took to launch the MM for example, which was basically an altered M9:



then it's easy to see that developing a digital rangefinder from scratch will not be possible 'on a budget'. It nearly tanked the Epson photo division before. Leica is just lucky that this niche product fits the scale of their operation, and that the price points are, although very high, considered fitting the reputation of their products.

The good news these days is that digital rangefinders are available on a budget: I'm seeing M8's locally for around €1000 now, and M9's for just under €3000, not all that different from new aps-c and full-frame dslr's.
out of curiosity, the R&D budget.. does that include the employee's wages?
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Old 01-18-2014   #21
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Frankly, I find the MM quote in post 14 remarkable -bordering on face palm remarkable.

Tens of millions and 1.5 years to detune/retune when hackers are accomplishing the same thing scratching a layer off the sensor with wood sticks: http://petapixel.com/2013/08/04/scra...per-bw-photos/
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Old 01-18-2014   #22
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I think in today's market companies have to sell thousands of units to break even. So I think it would be to much of a niche item. So no. The closest your are going to see is the Fuji and it's hybrid finder with a split screen option.
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Old 01-18-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burancap View Post
Frankly, I find the MM quote in post 14 remarkable - bordering on face palm remarkable.
Yes, it sounds like a lot for a simple tweak. But if you think of re-engineering the sensor specs for the chip production and testing processes (small batches too...), creating fully new firmware without the de-mosaicing algoritms and optimizing them for this new sort of data, including film emulations, setting up new production lines with different testing equipment, documenting all these specs, educating your repair engineers, marketing costs, etc etc, maybe that sort of serious cash is needed indeed to get something like the MM off the ground. It certainly involved more research & development than just scratching off the Bayer filter with a toothpick...
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Old 01-18-2014   #24
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Thanks for the feedback. Before I posted my question, I gave it some thought and I pretty much come to the same conclusions. I will continue to save for a M9 and continue to use the gear I have now.
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Old 01-18-2014   #25
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This guy did something similar to what you are asking:

Sony NEX guts into NIkkormat

In the end, it is kind of just a skin on top of the Sony camera - not terribly dissimilar to what Hasselblad has been ridiculed for.
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