Cameradactyl Mongoose is an Auto 35mm Film Carrier for Digitizing with a Camera

Photography Gear

Cameradactyl camera maker Ethan Moses has announced the new Cameradactyl Mongoose, an automatic 35mm film carrier for people who want to quickly scan their film using a digital camera.

The device is designed to pull an entire roll of 35mm film over a light source while triggering an exposure by an overhead camera for each frame that passes through the window.

It’s a universal device: the Mongoose will trigger pretty much any camera that accepts a cable release and can be used to scan B&W, negative, and slide film. With a film gate that measures 27mmx68mm, the device can be used to scan photos ranging from half frame (24mmx20mm) up to Hasselblad XPan panoramas (24mmx65mm) with a black border around each frame (with no sprocket holes).

The dual-plane film path ensures that even curly and cupped film strips are flat when they’re passing through the film gate. Because the Mongoose only touches your film at the sprocket holes, there’s no risk of any emulsion scratching.

There are three different scanning modes: Manual, Fast, and Automatic.

  1. Manual mode “allows a user to manually advance and retract a strip of film at high or low speed, and to trigger an attached camera through the control box.”
  2. Fast mode “will advance a strip of film a fixed distance and then trigger an attached camera for an entire roll of film. This mode only works with film that was originally shot on a camera that produces evenly spaced frames and has less positional accuracy than automatic mode. Fast mode can scan a roll of 36 standard-sized exposures (24×36) in approximately 40 seconds.”
  3. Automatic mode “uses edge detection of individual frames, which allows this mode to be used with evenly or unevenly spaced frames on a roll of film. This mode has very high positional accuracy, and can scan a full roll of 36 frames in under a minute and a half.”

Moses says he named the device “Mongoose” because “the Mongoose is fast, and eats snakes and snakes of film!”

Other features and specs of the Mongoose include edge detection sensitivity (for auto-scanning even the most under-exposed or under-developed film), an adjustable delay (for pausing the film during a long exposure or to give time for flash recycling), and a separate control box (so the scan module isn’t disturbed during operation).

Here’s an 8.5-minute video showing how the Mongoose is set up:

And here’s a 10-minute User Guide video showing how it’s used:

Moses has launched the Mongoose through a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that has already blown past its initial $30,000 goal in less than a day.

A pledge of at least $450 will get you one of the first Mongoose units (with an estimated delivery of December 2020) if Moses successfully delivers on his promises.

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