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Image plane digital (non-film) autofocus

Digital SLR camera body lets you use all your old lenses with autofocus.
  [vote for,

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 by moving the film plane, rather than lens elements. Downsides, however, come in the form of the bulk and heft of a body 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 photoarrays 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 their sharp old motorless lenses for autofocus use.

Secondary advantages: 1) in moving a light photoarray, rather 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 extending 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.

n-pearson, Jul 01 2003

E Film http://www.siliconfilm.com/
35mm digital film - Why not use your lenses AND SLR body? [FloridaManatee, Oct 04 2004]

Contax AX review http://www.focalfix...film/contaxax.shtml
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.
DrCurry, Jul 01 2003

       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 it’s not a Nikon…
Amos Kito, Jul 02 2003

       You're looking for (e)-film or Siliconfilm. That allows you to keep your entire 35mm SLR setup, except the film cartridge.
FloridaManatee, Jul 02 2003

       Focus on this bun.
thumbwax, Jul 02 2003

       It is a cool idea, but am I alone in preferring the clunky aesthetics of using real film?
saker, Jul 02 2003

       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?
bristolz, Jul 02 2003

       >>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.
kinemojo, Jul 22 2006


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