Nikon Patents Digital Back for 35mm Film Cameras

Nikon has filed a patent that makes way for a digital back to convert 35mm film SLRs into the full-fledged DSLRs. The rear door that covers the film holder would be removed and replaced with a digital back equipped with an image sensor.

An excerpt from the patent:

The camera back exchange type camera which images the object image acquired by the photographing optical system by the side of a camera body, and obtains electronic image data is known by replacing with the rear lid with which the camera body was equipped, and equipping a camera body with the camera back having an image sensor.

In the camera back of the description to this Patent document 1, when the moving mechanism to which the position of an image sensor is moved, and the position detection sensor which detects the position of an image sensor are provided and a moving mechanism moves an image sensor based on the output of a position detection sensor, The image sensor to the photographing optical system by the side of a camera body is positioned.

Are you ready to convert your Nikon F6 yet?

Of course, with all patents, take it with a grain of salt. This invention may never see the light of day – and frankly, I’d be surprised if it did.

[via Nikon Rumors]



  1. Darren says

    I’d be surprised if this saw the light of day too. My last film body, the Nikon F100, I dearly loved, and replaced it with the D100, which was loosely based on the same body.

    By now – about 10-11 years after that camera was introduced, it would be an odd idea to want to convert it to digital. I don’t think there are enough photogs holding on to old 35mm bodies who would want to make the conversion to digital this way.

    As to an F6….. If I had lots of spare cash, I’d buy one just to say I had the last of the Nikon 35mm film bodies. BUT… I don’t have money to waste.

  2. Kent Shelley says

    I, for one, would be happy to add a digital back to my F4 – if this is, in fact, not just a wind-up, and if the price was somewhat less than buying a D600.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many more out there like me.
    I shan’t hold my breath for it to come true though.

  3. Craig says

    If Nikon were to make this, I’d love to use it on my aging Nikon 35mm films bodies that I use only once in a blue moon nowadays. Sure, it might be for nostalgia but using my N90 or F4 and getting good quality digital images without having to process film (and scanning it) might be fun. Granted, processing film was part of the experience.

    It could make way for a modular camera where sensors could be replaced or upgraded while keeping the body.

    In any case, my D800E and D4 don’t have anything to worry about for now.

  4. Peter G says

    Would be interesting as I have two (2) F5 bodies doing nothing . But, lately, my D3S, D3 and D2Xs havent been doing much either…

    No, I havent changed camps, just havent been shooting for 12 months..

  5. keiththirgood says

    I for one would like to see them make a waterproof version to attach to the back of a Nikonos underwater camera. That would be brilliant.

  6. Ashley Groome says

    I have a funny feeling that Nikon will get this product to market and I have a funny feeling that they are going to sell them by the truckload. How many of us have a much loved, but now almost unused Nikon “film” camera in a drawer somewhere. Yeah baby!, this is fantastic news – keep it under 2 grand and we are (very much) good to go.

  7. Autolycus says

    Now there’s an idea – dust off your old Nikonos IVa or V, replace their back plates with a heavy-duty, O-ring sealed, pressure resistant “DigiBack” – then you have a really tough, weatherproof camera system… But (like all good scuba divists), I wouldn’t hold your collective breath…
    Back in the day when I bought my Nik V in Oman, I wrote a letter to Nikon in Japan, asking when they’d be producing an underwater SLR. They actually wrote back, denying any such plans were in the pipeline – then, a year or so later, they released the RS and all its associated, specialized, overpriced lenses…
    The rest, they say, is history.
    But what a concept that could be,
    If turned into reality.
    Our Nikoni’s back undersea –
    And don’t forget your old F3.

    Alas, the price of Nikonos
    Would jump to such a silly cost,
    Though I, for one, would take the loss
    Buy both of ’em, not give a toss –

    A body, back and “Thirty-Five”
    Would keep our manual skills alive.
    And on our very fav’rite dive,
    We’d be at home, at fathoms five.

    So come on Nikon, heed our pleas,
    Make all these hopes realities?
    Then licence them, collect the fees –
    My OM-1 too needs one – PLEASE…!


    Sir I have 2-brand new Nikon FM2n body I want to convert it to Digital, pleaase let me know what will be the cost for altering the filim camera to digital,please let me know before christmas holidays

    Thanks and Regards,

  9. A. SenGupta, PhD says

    I will gladly put down the price of a D800 for this back alone so that I can return to my manual-focus, nearly bulletproof Nikons from the film era. Just a pipe-dream: I wish it would be a “universally adaptable” back that would work on all of them from the F to the F6, though I can see that the technical problems would be pretty severe.

  10. Peter G says

    I think its only going to be available for small ” F” numbers :-) F6, F5, F4, F3 :-)