Watch This Guy Turn a Classic Nikon FM into a Digital Camera


Japanese tinkerer Sanasol has just released a detailed, step-by-step “blueprint” video that shows you exactly how he was able to transform his classic Nikon FM film SLR into a digital camera without harming the film camera at all. If you have a few bucks to spend and a 3D printer handy, you can even follow along.

When we first shared Sanasol’s creation a few weeks ago, he promised to follow up with a guide that explained how, exactly, he was able to create the digital “cartridge” that transformed his film SLR into a digital camera. This video—and the GitHub page that goes along with it—delivers on that promise.

Admittedly, this isn’t a “simple” DIY project in so far as you’ll need access to a 3D printer and a soldering gun in order to put it all together. But assuming you have some intermediate DIY chops, the rest is pretty straight forward: links to purchase all of the parts you need, the CAD design for the housing, and the Arduino code has all been uploaded to GitHub.

When all is said and done, you’ll get something that looks like this:

Of course, the resulting insert doesn’t produce the kind of images you’re probably used to getting from your Nikon FM. As Sanasol explains:

This M5 camera has a small sensor, so it can only capture a very small area in the viewfinder. It is very difficult to focus. Even if you can make it, it’s not always possible to shoot as intended. The shutter and shooting work together, but you can’t shoot in the dark because you’re using the brightness to the sensor as a threshold.

In other words: if quality is your goal, look elsewhere… there’s a reason the I’m Back designs are so much bulkier. But if you’re looking for a quick, DIY version that will let you convert your film SLR into a digital camera from the comfort of your own workshop, this is definitely worth a try.

Check out the full step-by-step tutorial up top or head over to GitHub for more detailed instructions.

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