As digital photography has become so good, perhaps just too good, at capturing near-perfect pictures, some photographers have ventured back into the world of film. There they have found the imperfections requiring technical skill to cope with that they desire, but they’ve also come face-to-face with the very high cost and sometimes sketchy availability of film stocks. From this has come the so-called post-digital movement which marries analog cameras and lenses with digital sensors, and of this a particularly nice example comes from [Michael Suguitan]. He’s taken a classic Leica M2 rangefinder camera, and built a new back for it containing a Raspberry Pi Zero and sensor.
Perhaps the best thing about this conversion, and something which should propagate forward into other builds, is the way it does not hack or modify the original camera beyond the replacement of the already-removable back. A vintage Leica is a pricey item, so it would be a foolhardy hacker who would proceed to gut it for a digital conversion. Instead he’s mounted everything that makes a digital camera, the sensor, Pi Zero, and screen board, behind the camera body. The Pi shutter trigger comes from the Leica’s flash terminal, meaning that there’s plenty of time for it to take a photo while the shutter is open.
He’s admirably preserved the usage and properties of the Leica, and his photographs as can be seen in the video below the break bear testament to what is possible with the camera. He still has to work with the tiny sensor size though, meaning that all photographs are at a much higher zoom level than on the original. We would love to see a camera conversion like this one that incorporates appropriate lenses to bring the picture to focus on this small sensor.
We won’t own a Leica any time soon, but we like this conversion. It’s by far the most sympathetic, but it’s not the first rangefinder conversion we’ve seen.
Continue reading “A Non-Destructive Digital Back For A Classic Leica”
The Raspberry Pi HQ camera module may not quite reach the giddy heights of a DSLR, but it has given experimenters access to a camera system which can equal the output of some surprisingly high-quality manufactured cameras. As an example we have a video from [Malcolm-Jay] showing his Raspberry Pi conversion of a Yashica film camera.
Coming from the viewpoint of a photographer rather than a hardware person, the video is particularly valuable for his discussion of the many lens options beyond a Chinese CCTV lens which can be used with the platform. It uses only the body from the Yashica, but makes a really cool camera that we’d love to own ourselves. If you’re interested in the Pi HQ camera give it a watch below the break, and try to follow some of his lens suggestions.
The broken camera he converted is slightly interesting, and raises an important philosophical question for retro technology geeks. It’s a Yashica Electro 35, a mid-1960s rangefinder camera for 35 mm film whose claim to fame at the time was its electronically controlled shutter timing depending on its built-in light meter. The philosophical question is this: desecration of a characterful classic camera which might have been repaired, or awesome resto-mod? In that sense it’s not just about this project, but a question with application across many other retro tech fields.
A working Electro 35 is a fun toy for an enthusiast wanting to dabble in rangefinder photography, but it’s hardly a valuable artifact and when broken is little more than scrap. One day we’d love to see a Pi conversion with a built-in focal length converter allowing the use of the original rangefinder mechanism, but we’ll take this one any day!
How about you? Would you have converted this Yashica, repaired it somehow, or just hung onto it because you might get round to fixing it one day? Tell us in the comments!
Continue reading “Raspberry Pi Camera Conversion Leads To Philosophical Question”
A camera makes for an interesting build for anyone, because it’s an extremely accessible technology that can be made from materials as simple as cardboard. More robust cameras often require significant work, but what if you could make a usable camera from LEGO? It’s a project taken on by [Zung92], who hasn’t simply made a working 35 mm camera from everyone’s favorite construction toy — he’s also managed to make it exude retro style. Best of all, you can vote for it on the LEGO Ideas website, and you might even get the chance to have one for yourself.
Frustratingly there’s little in the way of in-depth technical detail on the Ideas website, but he does mention that it was a challenge to make it light proof. Even the lens is a LEGO part, and if diffraction-based photography isn’t for you there’s also a pinhole option. We look forward to seeing this camera progress, and we hope we’ll see it advance to becoming a LEGO Ideas kit.
This is an extremely polished design, but surprisingly, it’s not our first LEGO camera.
Thanks [Michael] for the tip.