I am sure it is just a matter of time before a camera modification kit, and eventually a generic digital sensor to fit all (most) 35mm cameras is manufactured to convert film cameras into digital cameras.

I want to do this with my Rollei 35 S as it is by far my favorite camera I have used in my life.

Is this possible at this point in time? Are there any developments being made in this area?

  • There was a digital 35mm cannister proposed a few years ago, but all I can find now are reference to an April Fool's joke - petapixel.com/2011/04/04/…
    – ChrisF
    May 6, 2012 at 11:20
  • 1
    possible duplicate of Is it possible to convert a film SLR to digital?
    – mattdm
    May 6, 2012 at 12:12
  • 1
    I know the Rollei 35 isn't an SLR, but the same answers apply.
    – mattdm
    May 6, 2012 at 12:15
  • You think the difference between a Digital and an Analog camera is only the sensor in the back? Think again. Although both devices look the same, perhaps interface the same, they are both completely different designs for different purposes. May 6, 2012 at 12:43
  • I don't think any manufacture will do this since it may hurt its current business even if it was cool to do it!
    – K''
    May 6, 2012 at 18:14

3 Answers 3


You can't at the moment, and I would suspect that you'll never be able to either.

It was proposed a few years ago but never got off the ground.

The idea was to have a flexible ccd sensor that would go across the back of the camera instead of the film and the electronics would be in the "cannister".

More information and links

It resurfaced as an April Fool's joke in 2011

Don't forget that Canon (for example) digital bodies can use older lenses so the preferred upgrade path (for the manufacturer) would be to buy a digital body and continue to use the older lenses in the short term gradually replacing the lenses as and when you could afford to.


What you are asking for is called a "digital back". There were a number of them available back in the early 2000's. Most were aimed at professionals, especially journalists. However they were never very high resolution (we are talking probably less than 5M pixels.) The main problem is lack of integration with the controls of the camera.

  • Yes, I remember one from AGFA for Nikon SLRs that had something like 1.4MP resolution. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but poor battery life, limited storage and no screen killed them off.
    – HamishKL
    Oct 31, 2015 at 20:22

I've dreamed of a digital back for my Nikon F, and it was designed to let you change the back. But there are none commercially available.

Is it possible? Yes. Technically, you can buy a sensor, connect up a microcontroller, and voila. I expect that the parts would only cost $400 or $500, unassembled. You would have to design a PCB, do the layout, surface soldering, etc. and then write firmware. Practical, not a prayer.

Still, I loved my Nikon F and would love to use it, manual focus and manual exposure and all.

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