How would you like to take digital photos with your old 35mm camera? I’m Back is a device that promises to “bring back to life” the feel of vintage cameras, but in the digital form.
With I’m Back, you can use your old film camera, but with the focusing screen in the place of the film roll. The photo is created on a camera module located behind the camera body and saved on an SD memory card.
I’m Back isn’t a new idea. Samuel Mello Medeiros, the project’s CEO and the inventor, already created the first model in 2016. It was successfully funded on Kickstarter, produced and delivered to supporters. The new model is redesigned and improved, with new hardware and software.
So, what can you get from I’m Back? Well, the project promises shooting 16MP photos, UHD videos at 24fps, or 1080p videos at 60fps. Here are the full specs:
- Sensor: 16Mega CMOS Panasonic
- Lens：7G+IR F=2.5 f=3.0mm
- Video Resolution：UHD24（2880*2160） QHD30（2560*1440） 108OP60/30 720P120/60/30 VGA240
- Picture Size： 20M 16M 12M 10M 8M 5M 3M VGA
- Video Format：MP4 H.264
- Picture Format： JPG
- Storage Capacity：Max 128G
- USB interface：USB2.0 Display：2.0″capacitive touch screens
- HDMI Output：yes
- Auto White Balance：yes
- Auto Eve ：yes
- WIF:I yes
- Menu Language：EN FR ES PT DE IT CN RU JP
- Battery：3.7V 1050mAh
According to the project description, I’m Back is compatible with plenty of 35mm cameras. It was tested and worked with Nikon F, Nikon F2, Nikon EM, Nikon S2, Olympus OM10, Praktica B200, Yashica JP, Seagul, Leica M2. But, Samuel promises it works with many other cameras if they meet the following requirements:
- There’s a tripod hole on the camera
- The camera has Bulb mode
- The camera has Sync Flash compatibility
- the camera can function with the door open or removed
How does it work?
As I mentioned, I’m Back uses a focusing screen in the place of the film roll. You can view the photo either on the LCD display at the back, or on a smartphone/tablet. The photos are saved on an SD card in the back, and you can transfer them to your computer. Here’s what to do before you start shooting:
- Detach the rear cap from the camera (this works on most cameras between the 50s and the 80s)
- Connect the camera body to the digital back, use the tripod screw
- Adjust the exposure “hole” to the camera module installed on the back (8mp camera)
- Use bright lenses to avoid vignetting. Use apertures f 1.2, 1.4, 2, 2.8 or 3.5. Smaller apertures may darken the edges.
- Connect the Sync Flash cable from the camera to the digital back
- Clean the focusing screen surface using canned air and a soft brush. Remember, the focusing screen must always be clean.
- Set the exposure to “B” (Bulb) and you’re ready to go!
- Keep the shutter button pressed for 2-3 seconds
- View the photo on the display or on your smartphone
Here’s a video presentation as well, so you can see how it looks:
And finally, here are a few test shots taken with Nikon F, 50mm f1.2 an I’m Back:
As I mentioned, I’m Back is a Kickstarter project, so it will only be available if it’s successfully funded. If you want the fully assembled and working digital back, you’ll have to pledge € 175 (around $206). For tech geeks, there’s also an option to buy it in parts and assemble it yourself. This it costs from €49 ($57) and up – but it doesn’t include the electronic parts. If the project is successfully funded, packing and shipping worldwide will begin in April-May 2018.
I find this idea so strange, that I’d love to try it out. Although, in my case, it seems like of those gadgets I wouldn’t use for a long time. What do you think?