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I wonder if Nikon considers to develop a digital back for all top-end film cameras, just like the medium format, or upgrade the old version of SLRD. I can not imagine one could throw away the first version of D1 just because it has only 2 MB chip.
While it would be possible to retrofit vintage film cameras for a digital back, it would certainly raise the price way beyond what a dedicated digital SLR now costs. When these cameras were designed, digital was either yet to be thought of or in the case of the F5, about VGA resolution.
The bodies would have to be modified with the necessary digital electronics as well as means of communication between the camera body and the back. This could not be done on a production line, and would be manual hand-work by technicians. Very precise and breathakingly expensive.
Upgrading early dSLRs would certainly be a bit less expensive, but probably still more expensive than a current purpose designed dSLR. While it had a similar sized sensor, it was not necessarily the same as the current DX. If the connectors and contact points are different, it would mean having to remanufacture those parts of the camera. All the electronics would have to be swapped as well, and this may mean a total redesign of the current package to fit in the old body.
While the old embedded processor may be able to accept new firmware and thus accommodate the new sensor, it is nearly six year old technology. Assuming Moore's law is working at its lowest values, one could safely assume that the current cameras operate six to eight times as fast as the D1 and probably faster in fact. Upgrading from a 2.74MP camera to the 4MP of the D2H would offer little incentive to spend the huge amount of money it would take to do so. Few people now would be willing to put up with a 12MP camera writing at 2x or 4x speed to a card or dealing with a buffer the size of the D1 - if it would even accommodate a single 12MP frame.
Again, all this would have to be done by hand. So everything other than the mechanical systems would require replacing - the body and shutter are the cheap parts.
The F6 represents technology first seen in Nikon's latest digital cameras, such as the D2H. The fact that Nikon recognized it could build a better F camera with some shared technology from their digital research speaks volumes to their committment to both film & digital users.
Has anyone ever scanned Velvia or Reala? I think you would agree with me when I say the files produced by a good film scanner, and, the output to a good printer, are incredible. Smoother tones, highlight & shadow control, and complete manipulation of the original image. So,you are able to shoot with film and have the advantage of digital; best of both worlds in my humble opinion. Lets face it, digital technology obsoletes itself every 18 months. As good as the pro-level DSLR's are currently, where will their place be in your camera bag be in a year or two? I'm still shooting awesome images (many in B&W)with my F2 and 105/2.5 lens. Nikon should be commended for passing on the latest breakthrough's in technolgy. Personally, I want the best they can offer, and the F6 is exactly what I expected in the evolution of the F series. I have been holding out on going digital as I don't have the need or the time to "correct" images that a high-pixeled, expensive, on-it's-way-to-becomming-obsolete camera has to offer. Yes, I know there are advantages for the professional, especially if you're a PJ or sports photographer, but for the masses, I'm not so sure digital has developed to the point where I'm comfortable,yet. It would not surprise me to see yet another digital format introduced by a major manufacturer. And, I haven't even gone into the issue of long term (25+ yrs.)storage of digital files. I still have over 30 yr. old negatives which I have printed on a Fujifilm Frontier printer (@Wolf Camera) that will knock the socks off of any 6 MP image, at least that I've seen.
Not saying I won't consider digital in the future, just not right now. I feel as though digital caters to the professional and the extreme amatuers (point & shoot). I'm in the middle-very serious enthusiast (have made good money with my equip)who desires the very best image quality. For me, film is still the best option.
From a dedicated Nikon film user for over 30 yrs, "Thank You" Nikon for not holding back on your technological advances.
I agree that digital technology has not surpassed the film images as well. I am a pro shooter and use digital because it is convenient - I was recently told I was just plain wrong that film images offer a bit better quality than digital images. This was based on a "test" by none other than Cannon stating that from 100-400ISO they walk all over film images and give film images a run for the money on ISO over the 400 mark. The guy stated he has 20 expertises in the printing industry and based his opinion on an article put out from Cannon and their test results that were printed in image form in Popular Photography Magazine... Not sure if I missed something in the process but most magazines are printed in digital format and at best they were showing a digital rendering of the test results which IMO is worthless as the paper they used to print the information on! I took this one step further and did a test myself - I used a R8 Leica and Nikon D1X - Once the images were processed the results are as plain as the nose on your face. The technology is defiantly improving by leaps and bounds but from the test I did and reading other reputable people in the industry articles that had no bias - digital has not crossed that threshold at this point in time! IMHO! Keith
> [FWIW, I agree with you on this subject. I'm still shooting film and have > bought a Nikon Coolscann 5000 ED. I can scan negatives and slides and get > excellent results with it. I too feel I have the best of both worlds with > this setup.
That being said I am stricktly an amature, not a professional. I take pictures for fun and personal enjoyment. If I was a professional I would suspect I would feel compelled to jump into the digital arena just to stay competative. From what I've read and heard it's the instant response and gratification that is expected from professionals and digital is really the only way I can see that they can meet those expectations.
I'm going to try to answer this quickly and succintly, having seen this type of discussion many times on this forum (and forums like this):
There are so many individual variables that can make up someone's decision on when (and if) a person should go over to digital in a big way (not just p&s digital). As a former advanced amateur (and sales-droid within a photo retail environment), I shoot 95% digital (using Nikon D100). Even though I own a N90 and FM2N (leaving out my med. format camera).
I still shoot b&w film (having been a former B&W darkroom afficianado for 10-15 yrs) and also shoot in medium format. My Nikon Coolscan 2000 will only handle the 35mm format.I (arrgh) still am obliged to have a custom lab ahndle some B&W processing.
When I Went Digital:
I switched over to digital Sept 2001after buying a a P&S Olympus Camedia 4040 zoom (4 mpix). After spending 18 months with this cmara, I craved a DSLR. I waited for the Nikon D100 to come down belwo $1500 USD, made my purchase and never looked back.
Shooting more and enjoying more:
Interesting part is that since my first digital purchase, I shoot much morer and mroe often. I explore more (less worried about burning film and processing) and so I make 10x the amount of images as before and have 4x more keepers (as a guess). Digital SLRs don't make you a good photographer a better photographer,k but tehy sure make it easy for you to shoot more; and, consequentrly, the more you shoot, the better, and (sometimes, with some discipline) the more selective, you get.
Tools: It's the "wet-ware":
The type of technological tool, whether it's a D1X, D2x, or New F6, is somewhat irrelavant, even to professional.
Learn your tools well, and remember - it's not the hardware (or software), it's the "wet-ware" (the mind) that's the most meaningful difference. All forum discussuins often turn itno a an academic discussion,that drifts aware from what matters - the shooter/creative artist!
Yes, I still shoot film - medium format. The only camera where 35mm is still viable is my WideLuxe 140Â° panoramic camera, where the format is 24mm x 59mm - essentially 6cm wide like medium format. A Nikon F3 system has lain idle for the past four years and probably should be sold.
The edge of 35mm over digital is too small to make up for the lack of convenience, as well as the limitations. The histogram is a major advance in exposure over the Zone System. With it, I get perfect exposures every shot. I am not limited to daylight or tungsten type film, but frequently shoot in extreme mixed lighting with the ability to indiviually balance areas of the picture for absolutely correct skin tones when shooting RAW format. I have also done this in the fume-room from colour negatives, and it took the better part of a day to produce an acceptable result.
For ex&les of working in extremely challenging conditions, as well as s&les of the results please see
Of course, this same limitation is part of medium format photography, so I use it primarily for epic landscapes and the like where mixed light or poor light is not a factor. Scanned medium-format film does provide an edge in print quality over that of a prosumer digital camera. However, it may not be noticeable with a high end camera such as the D2X or 1Ds.
Of course, the limitations with digital are for those who do not understand photography on-site or in the digital darkroom. With film, you have a lab with an experienced operator and a very expensive machine to save your efforts. With digital, you actually have to BE a photographer.
Of course, what counts is the final print. I have a huge number of excellent 35mm legacy images, and while they may equal the quality of my digital images, they do not exceed it. Given equal image quality, the flexibility of the digital medium far exceeds that of current 35mm cameras and films. Unless a magazine or commercial client specifically requests Kodachrome, my Leicas and Nikon system will remain dormant.
I do not agree with any of the posts here ... except Dirk's enthusiasm for the Nikon F6.
First of all, it IS possible to adapt a film camera to take a digital back, and it is not all hand done nor is it "breathtakingly" expensive. Leica made one called the DMR which fit the R8 and R9 without any effort except to remove the rear film door. To this day the DMR produces wonderful images.
Comparisons between film and digital is a horse that has been beaten to death, and then resurrected time and again.
Film is still here, and gaining new followers. It will never be as it was, because the general consuming public have moved to P&S digital cameras. However, more and more "photographers" are re-discovering film for it's unique qualities.
I personally still shoot film ... both 35mm and Medium Format. I am digital up to my eyeballs (Nikon D3/D3X, Hasselblad H3D-II/31 & 39, Sony A900, Leica M8). Still I shoot film because digital cannot match the look of film no matter what Photoshop plug-in or film effects program you may use.
I have not seen a single digital image done by anyone, anywhere that has the feel and look of the master prints that hang on my walls ... some done in the 1930's. Whether anyone will be able to look back on a digital image 75 years from now is question in need of being asked.
The F6 is THE single best SLR ever made IMHO. Nikon went out on top with this camera. If you shoot Nikon it is one camera in the film arena that you should experience first hand ... life is short, experience the best of something at least once ... and for film cameras this is it!