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Poof of concept
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Contax had a nifty idea with their AX camera body, which
brought autofocus to loyal users who had accumulated great
and costly Zeiss manual focus lenses. The AX autofocuses
moving the film plane, rather than lens elements.
however, come in the form of the bulk and heft of
designed to move film back and forth precisely while it's
attached to a spool on each end.
Such problems vanish, however, when solid state
replace film, as in modern digital cameras. Digital image
plane autofocus could vindicate the innovation of the AX,
letting users of whatever system (call me, Nikon!!) keep
sharp old motorless lenses for autofocus use.
Secondary advantages: 1) in moving a light photoarray,
than heavy glass, focus response could be quick and energy-
efficient; 2) lenses set at infinity would then handle like
internal-focus, rather than more awkward helically
AF lenses; 3) lenses set at close focus, with the image plane
set as far back as possible, could yield extended close focus
range; 4) with AF lenses attached, perhaps image plane and
lens movements could be combined for even faster focusing
than either alone would allow!
Ok, Nikon, do your magic.
35mm digital film - Why not use your lenses AND SLR body? [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004]
Contax AX review
Manatee's e-film is an intriguing product, but doesn't bring autofocus to motorless lenses; ditto the PDC-2000 below. [n-pearson, Oct 04 2004]
||Interesting concept. But it seems like a complicated workaround to save a few bucks. And my EOS3 focuses pretty darn fast already.
||Would moving the image plane change the image size the pixel area covered by the focused subject? How deep would this camera be to allow for internal movement? I agree that the ability to use your favorite lenses in this way would be sweet! +
When I attach a zoom lens to my digital camera, I lose auto focus. The adapter obscures the sensor! Admittedly its not a Nikon
||You're looking for (e)-film or Siliconfilm. That allows you to keep your entire 35mm SLR setup, except the film cartridge.
||It is a cool idea, but am I alone in preferring the clunky aesthetics of using real film?
||Yep, you're the only one, [saker].
||If moving the film plane really does work without problems then I think carrying the idea over to digital is a great idea for those who have non-trivial investment in glass. +
||I know that a decent collection of Zeiss or other high-end optics can be many thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars so why not extend their usefulness?
||>>It is a cool idea, but am I alone in preferring the clunky aesthetics of using real film?<<
||What is less "real" about a CCD? It's just another technology. Not more, not less.