All my childhood photos were taken on my Dad’s Yashica camera which used a Photo Film so when I gave my dad a DSRL camera he was completely unimpressed. He felt it took the soul out of photography, however with changing times he has embraced the technology and has started using a Cannon 7D. Yashica Camera is still very close to his heart as he has emotional attachment to the camera and it will always remain a cherished possession for him. I really wish he could use that camera again, but as we all know that the Photo films that the camera uses are rare to find these days. What we really need is a way to convert the old Camera into a DSLR that does not Photo Films.
That’s exactly what Ollie Baker an 18 year old student from Brighton, UK has achieved. He has successfully converted 1970s Konica Auto S3 into a digital camera using a few 3D Printed parts and electronics from a Sony NEX-5. He calls the Hybrid camera as the Franken Camera. The idea to merge the best of both worlds came to Ollie Baker when we received some money from the Arkwrite scholarship fund which he decided to use to do something awesome with it.
The camera chosen by Mr. Baker for the Franken Camera project was Konica Auto S3 rangefinder which was considered to have one of the best Range Finders of the time. He also chose the Konica as it had a fixed 38mm f1.8 lens with a meek internal leaf shutter, the rangefinder also made the camera very compact. The only thing that Konica did not have was a built-in diopter which he made using a glass from his own lenses from an old pair of glasses.
The electronics used to make the hybrid camera was stripped from a Sony NEX-5, it was selected as it had a small form factor and it’s a mirrorless camera which was a perfect match to the other parts of the project. Once all the parts were decided it was time to figure out which parts would be absolutely necessary, and whittled the list down to the circuit board, sensor, SD card slot, battery connector and screen. In addition, Baker had to include a motor and three adjoining cogs for the shutter to be attached in order to avoid a annoying ‘camera error’ screen.
Once all parts were arranged Mr Baker re designed the back for the new Franken Camera. He used 3d modeling software Solidworks to make the design for the back. Once the design was finalized it was sent to SLS 3D printing company in London. The prototype made using Nylon and was found to be strong, accurate and flexible. The 3d printed part had hinges on one side and a clasp on the other end which worked with the Konica’s own locking mechanism.
With everything in Place it was time to tinker with them and fix them together. Once that was done the camera back was glued with the unique leather material which blends seamlessly with the Konica’s 1970s design.
The redesigned Franken Camera looks perfect and works better than the original product. It replaces the Photo film with digital image sensor, high res screen, and SD card. Mr. Baker also received a lot of criticism from people who did not like what he did to the vintage camera with one commenter posting why ruin a perfectly good Konica, right? But that is not stopping him from initiating a Kickstarter campaign to fund Franken Camera II. This is aimed to digitize the famous Leica M3 camera to every one’s surprise it was successfully funded immediately.
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