DCS 420/2000E conversion to F2

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DCS 420/2000E conversion to F2

Post by phi47 » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:59 pm

With the price of the DCS420/2000E ddropping into the cheap range, I would like to try adapating a DCS back to an F2. Noting that the DCS Proback "only" needs an external trigger cable to sync the lens shutter to the control circuit(for instance when used with a Bronica SQ), would it be possible to rig a sync cable(flash sync?) to the trigger circuit(which pins are they anyway?)of DCS420, et al, which activates the image capture when shutter is released on F2?
Having also heard of the hacking done to make the "single use" digital point-and-shoots from CVS, user downloadable, I have wondered if even those could be rigged to sit in the film plane of an F2 for converting one of my old favorites to the digital age(albeit not cutting edge for resolution).
If you "don't need no stinkin' "exposure/focus/time stamp info to go along with the original image file, it sems to me that this sort of project would be possible.
Any ideas or already worked out solutions?

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Re: DCS 420/2000E conversion to F2

Post by Webmaster » Sun Dec 18, 2005 2:48 pm

Hi there and welcome to the vintage DSLR forum.

Similar ideas have been discussed here before, but I don't know of anyone that have actually done it (except for the digital NASA F4 camera described elsewhere on this site).

I'm sure Stan, our own Electronics Development Engineer, will chime in with a few ideas and comments. Should be interesting.

Please keep us informed if you ever start working on such a beast. A digital F2. Wow -- that would really be something!


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Why an F2?

Post by drummond93 » Mon Dec 19, 2005 3:23 am

Why do you want to use an F2...? Really, I'm curious... the F3 was the first commerical camera modified w/ a removable digital back... not sure why you'd want to go back even older. The key will be you'll have to check the distance of the lens-to-focal plane (film plane) of an F2 to make sure you've got the space to properly mount the back.

Another issue is the shutter timing- the CCD does need some way of knowing what length of exposure to image (Stan can correct me if I'm wrong)... as well as selecting ISO (if you're using the DCS 420... otherwise, teh 460 is fixed at ISO 80) I think that info is passed to the digital back via the 7-pin connector cord. A simple shutter trigger might work... but how will the CCD know the ISO and how long to image?

Ebay has the DCS420 (WITH the N90s camera) for under $150, usually.. or just the back for a DCS 420 for under $50 (which mounts, without modification, to any N90/F90).

If you want one, you can contact me - although I've never converted them to work with other cameras, the DCS 410/420/460 backs are what you're going to have to use, and I've got functional models of all 3 ( or just the backs if you wanted)

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Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu Dec 29, 2005 3:48 pm


Your hardest problem will be reworking the mechanics of the back, which was meant to fit onto the very different F90, onto the F2.

If you use a 460 back, it's always at ISO 80 and if you set the F2 at ISO 80 (or whatever is closest), the operation would be fine.

Getting the back to fit with the proper alignment of the sensor, getting it all light tight, and getting it all robust enough is the hard part.

Oh, and you can't just sit the imager onto the film rails. Digital imagers have a much greater thinckness than film and emulsion, so the imager has to sit slightly forward of the rails to have the proper registration distance.

I *think* that the 6 MP imager is just a bit smaller than the opening for the film, which is why they took so long to go from 1.3x to 1.0x (FLM). The imager, which has to be somewhat larger than the active pixel area, slips into the opening if you accept a slight focal length multiplication factor. :)

Have fun if you decide to try this one. ;)

Amateur Photographer
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