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I’m Back Unveils an Affordable Digital Back for Old Medium Format Cameras

I’m Back, the company behind the popular Digital Back for old 35mm SLRs, is… well… back. And this time they’re funding an affordable digital back that seeks to breathe new life into old medium format cameras from Hasselblad, Bronica, Pentax, Mamiya and more.

The Idea

Slapping a digital back onto older medium format bodies isn’t a new idea. Hasselblad released its CFV-50c back for V-System cameras back in 2014, and it just updated it last month, releasing a version 2 alongside a new 907X camera body. But while pricing hasn’t been announced for the CFV II 50c, you can bet it’s going to cost thousands.

I’m Back, on the other hand, is trying to fund a low-res, small-sensor digital back that will work with most old medium format cameras and only cost you $400 for the digital back and a camera adapter of your choice. Given enough interest, the company is hoping to fund a total of 10 different adapters, making this a very versatile option for turning old medium format bodies into functioning digital cameras.

The campaign’s ultimate goal is to breathe life back into the thousands of medium format camera bodies that are sitting around collecting dust on people’s shelves by making it easier to just pick them up and shoot. If you cuold start shooting with your old Mamiya or Pentax or Bronica cameras again for just $400, even if the results were mediocre, would you?

That seems to be the bet the folks at I’m Back are making, because the hardware at the center of this digital back is also the “but…” at the center of this story.

The Catch

The sensor used in the I’m Back digital back for medium format cameras is a 16MP 1/2.33-inch “Broadcasting and Digital Still Camera” CMOS sensor made by Panasonic. It shoots 16MP photos and 1080/60p video, and it’s about the same size as you’ll find in a GoPro or Google’s Pixel smartphone.

But while Google’s smartphone benefits from extremely advanced AI-powered photo processing, the I’m Back sensor will have no such luck, which means you’ll need to be content with middling image quality at best. Here are some sample images posted by I’m Back to their Kickstarter Page:

And a sample video:



August 2020
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