New PONF multi-back camera project (film and digital camera in one)

There is a new project called PONF for a film and digital camera in one and I just received the first pictures of the 3D printed model of the skeleton of the camera. Here are the camera's specifications:

Camera Body

  • Type: Single-lens reflex
  • Lens Mount: Natively: M42 - Other mounts available through adapters
  • Body finish: Chosen by the user
  • Bare dimensions (approximate): Body - LxHxW (cm): 6x6x3.8 - with no pentaprism
  • Backs - LxHxW (cm): 14x8x3 - maximum

Digital Back

  • Sensors: Sony CMOS image sensors, full-frame / APS-C
  • Pixel count: Full-frame: 36.4 MP / 24.3 MP APS-C: 24.3 MP
  • Board: RaspberryPI Compute Module
  • Operating System: Linux Embedded
  • Display: 5' TFT resistive touch display (10x8 cm), 4:3 aspect ratio

Film Back

  • Film type: 135 film ( 36×24 mm )
  • Format: Cartridges

Next is some additional information on the PONF multi-back open camera project from one of the founders:

The PONF Multiback Open Camera has 35mm film and full-frame/APS-C digital interchangeable backs on a reflex camera body. The digital back is based on Sony sensors and RaspberryPI Compute Module 3, and is a fully functional computer running a Linux OS. The body has a M42 mount so that it can use every lens.

The cameras are all but an idea: they can sport Sony sensors, RaspberriPI Compute Module 3 core, Linux based Operating System (the digital backs are small but powerful computers). The film back is a 35mm one, fully manual.

We started working on the PONF Multiback Open Camera Project in 2016, with the idea to make a camera that could allow photographers to easily shoot with film and digital.

PONF is an acronym for (Photography ON Film) and one of the key element of the project is to foster photography, and specifically film photography as a medium to learn taking better pictures and a creative medium.

We decided to make the Project as an Open one, because we are convinced that sharing knowledge, experience, ideas, and time is the only way to improve what we love: photography. We are open to everyone’s cooperation: individuals, companies, academia, universities, R&D public and private institutions. We hope that everyone who is involved in film photography, and photography at large, of course, will decide to come and help us, bringing its unique contribution of knowledge. We are yet partnering with key actors in photographic and film industry, in electronics and at company level. A complete list of our partners and key suppliers will be soon made available.

The camera will be almost entirely hand-assembled following the needs and the requirements of the photographers and allow us to have an accurate control of camera's quality.

We are based in Nuremberg, Germany as we want to be at the heart of Europe and revive European photographic industry.

We are currently at about 60% of the timeline and we plan to be on the market within the 2nd quarter of 2018. We will run a presales campaign later this year, at the end of the testing phase. Prices will be highly competitive and the sales will be made from our company website only.

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  • Franklin Berryman

    A solution in search of a problem.

    • Robert Falconer

      Exactly right.

    • Jukeboxjohnnie

      The problem is existing film cameras are wearing out and there aren’t new ones to replace them.

      • CHD

        Are you serious? I can go on Ebay right now and buy any number of mint, hardly used film cameras.

        • Jukeboxjohnnie

          There are fewer good examples as the years go by. There are no electronic or mechanical parts being made for film cameras so as they fail they aren’t being replaced. Why is this a difficult concept for you?

          • Nikon still makes the F6, it’s more camera than you’ll ever need. Or if if you want MF, Hasselblad still makes a film version of their H cameras.

      • photomanayu

        Nikon F6, Voigtlander Bassa, Leica M7, MP, and MA are all available brand new in box from stores.

        • Jukeboxjohnnie

          That’s silly they are far too expensive. Have you tried to buy a Leica MA? You have to wait until they get around to making a batch I gave up after several months. Don’t believe the Bessa is made any more either.

          • photomanayu

            I used to sell these shit for a living. I know how expensive they are. In fact, buying a film Leica cost more then a digital M typ 262. Up until last year, Nikon FM-10 was available from Nikon Canada. Some idiot pay retail to buy the last few Nikon Canada’s dead stock. While they can go to swap meet, garage sale, fleet market, or eBay to buy a much better Nikon or many other film camera for less. And if there’s enough idiots to wanted to buy FM-10, may be Nikon would restart production. But numbers don’t lie, it will take shit load of hipsters to sustain the market to help old timers fulfill their film camera dream.

  • J.L. Williams

    I’m trying to imagine how slow raw encoding is going to be with a Raspberry Pi instead of a custom-designed LSI processor…

  • Samcornwell

    If I switch lenses between a Canon 5 and a Canon 5D would that be basically the same thing as the PONF?

    Good luck to the creator.

  • Jukeboxjohnnie

    At some point, someone needs to make new film cameras for the format to continue so wish them the best of luck. Making it in Germany is inspired.

  • Hubertus Bigend

    As much as I’m still fond of film-based photography, having started out with an all-manual SLR in the late Seventies as a teenager, I see no virtue in an all-manual approach for a film-based camera today. And while that’s purely personal, I think an SLR camera, regardless whether digital or analog, is faulty by design to the point of being unusable if it doesn’t at least come with an automatic diaphragm to enable open-aperture framing and focusing without the need of manually stopping down the lens before pressing the shutter release. The “Reflex” suffers from the same fault.

  • dsmithhfx

    Oh look, someone’s got a 3d printer for Christmas.

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