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Have an Analog Camera? This Raspberry Pi Can Make It Digital

A 35mm camera with a Pi Zero module in its film advance mechanism.

Even if you’re a big fan of analog cameras, film is a major expense and inconvenience. But YouTuber befinitiv has found an interesting solution—take a Raspberry Pi Zero, pair it with a 5MP camera module, and shove it inside an old 35mm camera body.

It’s a clever and effective hack that shouldn’t cost too much money. Basically, befinitiv started with a small housing shaped like a roll of 35mm film. This housing, which holds a Pi Zero, a battery, and a 5MP camera module, sits in a camera’s film compartment and reaches across the shutter to the take-up spool.

When the camera’s shutter opens, an image falls on the 5MP Raspberry Pi module. Using the camera’s bulb mode, befinitiv can hold the camera’s shutter open indefinitely and capture a video with the Pi module. This video can stream directly to a computer using the Pi Zero’s wireless capabilities—a very interesting feature.

Of course, this hack has a few downsides. The 5MP sensor is smaller than the 35mm image that comes through the lens, so videos look cropped or zoomed. Plus, it seems that befinitiv can’t capture still photos with this hack just yet—syncing the Pi module with the analog camera’s shutter would require a lot of work.

If you’re interested in building a digital camera out of an old film camera and a Pi Zero, then check the description of befinitiv’s YouTube video. Links to this build’s components are available there, plus a handy CAD file.

Source: befinitiv via Raspberry Pi Foundation

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »