I was browsing the web and came across a post about a digital film cartridge insert that you put inside you Film SLR to convert it to a digital camera. Sounds neat doesn’t it? Well who ever came up with the most recent manifestation of this idea did it for a Aprils fool prank. It came from the website re25.net (at the time this article was written the site was still live) and the idea is by no means new! Below is the 2012 idea.

Digital film concept to convert you SLR to a digital camera

Digital film concept to convert you SLR to a digital camera

Way back in 1998 the concept was on the cards too under the name of ImageK EFS-1. The image below shows an up to date possible working concept from pc.watch.impress.co.jp website. Stating the photo has taken at Photokina in Germany 1998 the worlds largest camera show.

1998 concept design for digital film Image-K EFS1

1998 concept design for digital film ImageK EFS-1

The Sensor was to be around 1.3 MegaPixels and have around 40 to 64 MB of storage. Of course back then the idea was brilliant, an answer to everything, a universal drop-in gadget, the answer to converting to digital on the cheap. To date there is no evidence of any such such product on the market.

Serious buffs of digital camera technology may know of even earlier versions of this idea, do get in touch and let us know? We can add them into this post!

Now in 2020 there is a “digital back” currently in development called the “I’m back 35“, currently on Kickstarter it will be compatible with these camera bodies

Im back 35

Im back 35

“Dedicated back covers are available for the following brands and models:

  • a) Canon A/A1/AE1/F1/FT/FTB/EOS300,
  • b) Contax II/RTS/G1/G2,
  • c) Diana F/F mini,
  • d) Leica M1/M2/M3/M4/M6/M7/Leicaflex SL/R4/R5/R6,
  • e) Minolta Dinaxx 7000i/Maxxum 7000/SRT/XD,
  • f) Nikon EM/F/FA/FE/FE2/FG/FM/FM2/F2/F F4/F70/F90x/F100/S2/S3/Nikkormat FTN/EL,
  • g) Olympus OM1/OM2/OM4/OM10,
  • h) Pentax ME/ME super/K1000/Spotomatic,
  • i) Praktica b200/MTL,
  • j) Ricoh KR10,
  • k) Yashica JP/FX3.

For other models, like Alpa, Contarex, Cosina and many more, you can use the universal back cover already included in the I’M BACK®35 box.”

If you want one of these devices best grab one now if they make it to production.

2021 Update…

Youtuber befinitiv has come up with a woking prototype “digital film” made from 3D printing and a Raspberry Pi Zero. He 3D printed a housing cartridge for the Pi in the shape of the original film spool, meaning he could literally place the Pi camera in the location where the film would usually be exposed to light (right behind the camera’s shutter). The 3D printed casing also contained a local battery and a DC to DC converter to boost the voltage up to 5V.

You can see his efforts here

2023 Update…

I’M Back Film

I’m Back Film is an exciting product that brings digital capabilities to old analog cameras. It’s like giving these forgotten cameras a new life. Inside its film canister, there’s a 20-megapixel Sony Micro Four Thirds sensor.



This innovation is all about preserving photography history and sparking creativity. The Micro Four Thirds sensor offers good image quality at a lower cost, and with a wide-angle adapter, it covers a 35mm image area. Plus, it has Wi-Fi for easy photo sharing.

What’s unique is that it lets you use your old analog camera as a digital one, no modifications needed. It’s designed to reinvigorate photography by encouraging new approaches and experimentation.

The sensor can even record 4K UHD video. It’s a cool way to bridge the gap between analog and digital photography, and it’s about to launch on Kickstarter.


  1. Original Source