Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Nikon FE Conversion Testing

Testing the Prototype

The quotes have come in for the extension cables. So before committing to this rather large cost, I felt it was more appropriate to set up a test table of components. The results from this would prove whether it was worth continuing.

In the photo below I have a Nikon FE with the digital back door clipped on. My previous post on this project shows the set up of the CMOS sensor inside the camera rear door. The Nex is lying face down with the connection cables plugged into the motherboard. Out the front of this is the LCD screen also plugged into the motherboard. The whole lot is held precariously in place with Tarzan tape so the delicate cables do not rip.

Nikon FE - Leitz Elmarit 28 - Dismembered Sony Nex

How it Works
The digital sensor is treated just like a film. The Nex is set at Manual - Lens recognition Off - ISO 200 (to match Nikon) - Speed 5 sec - F stop n/a.
Wind the FE on. Focus on subject. Speed on Auto. Set aperture.
Click the Nex as if taking a shot. Then take the shot with the Nikon.
5 sec later the Nex finishes the shot it thinks it took and processes the image onto the screen and the SD Card in JPEG or RAW or both.
Some good news on the LCD screen too. Even though the Nex is upside down and all the menu information is that way, when the image appears on the screen the Nex inverts it to the position of the camera.
Its a bit like the Nex just charges the film. The Nikon does all the real work to put the image on the electrified film. I do feel like I am using a real film camera - which it is.

Test Results
After a lot of work in setting this up and sorting out the positioning of the sensor, mounting location of camera, route for the new cabling and the designing / drawing of the PCB cables, it was pleasing to get some pretty good images on the first trial. Once the Nex is mounted to the Nikon, the process of taking a picture will be fairly straight forward. Here are the first results but clearly I have some adjustment to make on the position of the sensor as it is not at the correct film plane yet.

Nikon FE - Series E Lens 50mm - F22 @ 1/7th
Click image to expand.

Nikon FE - Series E Lens 50mm - F5.6 @ 1/125th

So they look okay. But in both shots the focus was on the end corner pool fence post. Clearly the 2nd shot with little DOF has focused on the front plants. The sensor probably needs to move closer to the lens, but by how much is what will need to be worked out. With only 0.1mm clearance to the shutters now I am fearing that the sensor filters will need to be removed. This is not a project ender as an IR filter can be put on the front of the lens for a similar result. Also no IR filter makes for some great b&w. The photo below is infinity focused on the rear gumtree just left of centre. Same photo taken at F5.6 (not shown here) had the bushes in front in focus but the gumtree quite blurry. Yep there is more work to do!

Nikon FE - Series E Lens 50mm - F22 @ 1/15th

Some homework to do on establishing the correct film plane position. Please put a metal caliper up against your Nikon DSLR sensor and tell me the distance to the Lens mount. I'm joking of course!

Feel free to comment but please keep it nice.

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