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Nikon Patents Digital Back for SLR Cameras

Japanese photography blog Egami has discovered that Nikon has filed for a patent to attach a digital back to an SLR camera. While this has been attempted before with Silicon Film in the early part of the last decade, the idea as never come to fruition with mainstream SLRs.

Nikon’s patent addresses the issue of a replaceable digital back, adjusting the sensor plane for image sharpness and a glass plate to protect the sensor. Full translation of the article is available at Nikon Rumors.

This is not an original idea; the very expensive Leica R8 and R9 were available with a digital back as an option and, of course, digital backs have been available for Medium Format cameras for years. When I was first getting into photography as a business, the Kodak DCS420, a $20,000 1.5 megapixel camera back was available for the Nikon F90. Going even further back, Nikon and Kodak partnered together on the Nikon DSC100, a film back for the famed Nikon F3.

It seems that Nikon may be patenting this idea just so that no one else can go ahead and use the idea however, with the amount of manual focus Nikon SLRs floating around, there is a potential for them to reach a whole new market, especially if we’re talking about a 16-24MP full frame sensor. If that was the case, I would probably go hunt down my Nikon F6 that I sold quite a few years ago, which is still in my opinion, the greatest 35mm film camera ever made.

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