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#161000 - 01/24/12 02:42 AM Turning a film-back camera into a digital one?
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
This question is for one of our camera experts on the forum.

I recently was talking with a co-worker who is not into hiking, and he was an older photographer still using the Mamiya RB67, a larger-format (2&1/4x2&3/4), rectangular roll-film camera that I remember from decades ago. He said the market had about bottomed out on it for resale, so he was going to hang onto it; he's one of the last people I know to have not gone digital. He said that he was considering buying a digital back to replace the film back.

Is this viable? I think I've heard of shooting digital for preview and test shots and then shooting the final photo on film, but can you get a back with a sensor that big? (Maybe so, since he said the back alone was $9K.) And if there is a sensor that size, my god what is the resolution or megapixels on something that big?? Is that what the great hiking, outdoor-photographers like John Fielder are using to get such incredible landscape shots?

(Speaking of John Fielder, anyone coming to Denver and looking for something to do in Denver before they're dead, should stop by his gallery on Sante Fe near downtown. He and a group of other outdoor photographers have an expansive gallery of photos. On the first Friday of each month, the entire Art District is open late to peruse before heading to Strange Brewing for an IPAphany Pale Ale.

_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#161001 - 01/24/12 03:42 AM Re: Turning a film-back camera into a digital one? [Re: kevonionia]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
For some cameras, yes-
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/newsLetter/Digital-Cameras-Newsletter-ZD.jsp

Not sure there is one for the RB, but there is for the RZ. Apparently you send in your camera and they modify it take the back when you buy it. 22MP.

A digital back for a Hasselblad (50MP) costs something like $17K. I remember when the original 500C retailed for around $1K or less.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Digital-Backs/ci/12334/N/4232860444
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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#161042 - 01/24/12 12:50 PM Re: Turning a film-back camera into a digital one? [Re: kevonionia]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Yup, possible in theory although I don't know that it can be done with a 6x7 cm camera. 645 seems to be the prefered format.

It's a stupendous committment, financially and equipmentwise, but Really Serious landscape and studio photographers wring excellent results from mid format cameras.

Needless to say, we ain't talking ultralight, light or even midweight kit here.

Mamiya-Leaf

You'd also want really good lenses to capture enough detail to warrant a $20 or $30k digital back.

The other path is continuing to shoot film and have the negatives or slides scanned.

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#161079 - 01/24/12 10:21 PM Re: Turning a film-back camera into a digital one? [Re: Rick_D]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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