This Adapter Will Turn Your Phone Into an Uber-Cheap Medium Format Digital Back


A proper digital back for medium format cameras can easily set you back thousands of dollars, but a new company called Badass Cameras is hoping to disrupt that. The company says it’s building an adapter that will let you use your smartphone as an uber-cheap digital back for your camera.

On a new page that appeared on Facebook in the beginning of July, the business writes in an announcement “for camera lovers”: “We are developing the world’s first medium format ‘smartphone-digital-back’!”

It’s an accessory that looks like a standard back, except you plug your phone onto the back of it. The adapter and phone combo is then attached to the back of your medium format camera. Light is directed onto the camera of your phone, allowing you to capture snapshots that resemble what a standard digital back would capture.

The adapter would allow you to use your phone as a quick and easy digital back for your medium format camera

The adapter would allow you to use your phone as a quick and easy digital back for your medium format camera

A product like this could be useful for shooting quick and easy test shots when scouting out a location, or getting a taste of what a particular photo might look like before burning through some expensive rolls of film.

The Facebook page also features what appears to be a patent illustration showing the adapter:


According to status updates posted to the page, Badass Cameras was planning to launch a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for this product at the end of July, but have pushed the launch date back to mid-August after finding “some ways to make our product much better!”

If your medium format camera has been collecting dust due to the costs of using it regularly, it might soon be time to dust it off!

(via The Phoblographer)

Image credits: Photo and patent illustration by Badass Cameras, medium format diagram by Hasselblad

  • Sid Ceaser

    Someone, please, create a simple, basic, medium format back that will work with Hasselblad V bodies. Make it 13-16 mp. Make it square. Make it super affordable and I bet you’ll make millions and gazillons of dollars. Please! Your audience is there!

  • nullhogarth

    How does this make any sense?

  • Moritzp


  • RMJ

    It’s a new standard: micro medium format.

    The pros:
    – Crappier quality than cellphone can do by itself but at least offers a bulkier system to use!

    The cons:
    – Jealous neighbors

  • somakun

    LoL kind of reminds me of something I was tinkering with a couple years ago but with my 35mm camera and smart phone. I mostly did it so that I could geo-tag my photos.

  • Jason

    Right. Cause I want to go spend $400-$2000 to make crappier instagrams. No thank you. I can almost hear professional medium format photographers kicking their stools out now. Ansel wept.

  • James Tan

    This is just a piece of ground glass stuck on the film plane and letting the phone camera capture the resulting (grainy) image behind it.

    I actually made one (experimental) real optical adapter for large lenses to phone camera last year.
    Here’s the link if you’re interested:

  • Ryan

    Yeah, let’s take a picture through a lens then through another lens and call it a medium format back. #facepalm

  • Antonio Carrasco


  • OSAM

    And make it actually medium format (6×6, 2.25″)

  • David_Evans

    If you can’t tell “what a particular photo might look like” on the screen of your Hasselblad, you don’t deserve to own one.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Will this work on the new Hasselblad Lunar? It appeals to the same market segment…
    PS. Please note sarcasm tag….

  • Brad Maestas

    This could come in handy as a sort of instant back but I’m guessing there will be no option for us Bronica SQ users.

  • ralph

    how bout a digital film that can put in to your old 135 camera?

  • ennuipoet

    I skimmed this earlier today and wonder whether or not I needed to come back and get pissed over the utter idiocy. Thank you all for saving my ulcer the shot of rage.

  • Marschal A. Fazio

    your system looks interesting and more practical.

    If you want to use your medium format camera, buy film!

  • Matthew Wagg

    There’s a new micrometer thick flexible glass just been announced by the people that make Gorilla glass and its for putting semiconductors on and bendable displays. So its a possibility :)

  • Matthew Wagg

    My bet will be on Hassy’s and Contax’s only

  • Ricardo

    I´m an Iphone and film (35mm, 120 and 4×5) user… This is just plain ridiculous… Lomo has already come up with some projects to join film and smartphones that are a pure insult to people that take film photography seriously….

  • 3ric15

    Actually that is a pretty cool idea!

  • Miami Fever

    Like the Kodak DCS pro back? How did that work out for them?

  • louisleblanc

    Sadly, it isn’t the megapixel count that’s keeping the price of medium format back so high. The cost of the sensor is roughly proportional to the area of the sensor. To put things into perspective, 6×6 has roughly 12 times the area of APS-C or 4 times the area of full frame. So on one side, the surface of the wafer dictates it’s price of materials and manufacturing, the high failure rate hikes it even more. If in a 60cm square wafer, there’s a single error, the medium format sensor would be useless. If the same sized wafer was used to make APS-C sensors, 11 of the 12 sensors would be usable.

    Lastly, the demand for medium format sensors isn’t very high, so those sensors aren’t made in very large quantities further raising the price.

  • MS

    Can’t they just make it out of, say 4 full frame sensors? Get them as close to each other as possible, and software stitch them together in-camera? Please?! Could even be able to get some high ISO then as well.

  • agour

    couldn’t you just take a photo through the waist level viewfinder…

  • Ken Elliott

    It seems unlikely that this could work well. The distance between the edge sensels and the edge of the chip is significant – that makes for a rather large gap with no data. Using the Nikon D700 sensor as an example (because it is a pretty low density sensor by today’s standards), you have 118 pixels (sensels, actually) per millimeter. If you designed a special chip for this (expensive!) with a 1mm edge, putting two side-by-side would leave a gap of 236 pixels.

    Take an image in Photoshop (or whatever), and put a pair of 236 pixel-wide cut down the middle (should look like a empty “+”). Now try to fill that missing data. I can be challenging.

    Existing sensors (much cheaper) make more sense if the goal is a low-cost medium format back. But the edge is closer to 6+mm, which would leave a 12mm gap – about 1418 pixels. That large a gap suggests we would be better off to stick with a FF digital camera.

  • bob cooley

    Its a lovely idea, and a few prototypes (plus hoaxes and jokes) were out there a few years ago -but unfortunately its pretty impractical. Think about how many quality factors (like ISO) are built into the controls of a DSLR that directly manipulate the sensor, whereas a film SLR is really just a film transport and exposure mechanism.

    The toughest part would be get the analog controls to match up with and manipulate a mini-computer.

    Believe me, I would LOVE to pick up my F4s again and use them daily. :)

  • Al Marcus

    nice work

  • MS

    Hmm I see. Thanks for that.

  • gfhj

    m ost important part!!!

  • Mir Lada @ Boa

    Yes, if you want a “a simple, basic, medium format back that will work with Hasselblad V bodies” then you should get a Phase One H25. 36x48mm sensor, ISO 100-400, 2 sec per capture, and guaranteed to kick the crap out of this joke of a product….plus you get to use your phone while on a shoot. I’m selling me extra one for $3500. I’m in Toronto, but can ship worldwide. Most of the high-end billboards and posters were shot with it until mid 2005, when the P45 started shipping, and commercial studios still have them shooting…..they are bullet-proof – can do millions of captures – nothing to replace or wear out, and can run 24/7/365 with no breaks or charging. No screen – tether only. Use the gorgeous screen on your laptop. I believe has 11 or 12 stops of dynamic range, and shoots 16 bit. That’s the solution. Give me a shout if interested. Works great on Fuji GX680’s and Mamiya 6×7’s too. Firewire 400 plug – can easily use with FW800 too with different cable.

  • Mir Lada @ Boa

    oh, and BTW, 6×6 film area is actually around 55x55mm, so 48mm is not that far off, and a lot of people end up cropping to 3:4 for most uses.

  • 3ric15

    This is featured on PP!

  • Sid Ceaser

    Probably not good when it came out, what, a decade ago?

    Perhaps now is the time, when then might not have been.

  • Sid Ceaser

    Hasselblad’s very own CFV (or was that CVF) has a 16mp square sensor. I just saw one over at the Fred Miranda forums for sale for 5k.

    That is the back I’m currently saving up for. But I’d be so much happier if it didn’t cost 5k but something less. . . :)

  • Sid Ceaser

    Tether? No sale. I’m looking at used Hasselblad CFV-16’s. Straight to card. None of this tethering junk. :)

  • Mir Lada @ Boa

    Readers here looking for a reasonably-priced back, like a couple of grand. The CFV-16 is a smaller 37x37mm sensor, with 16mp vs 22, and one just sold for $5000, which is probably about the lowest you can find it for. Just read a review “I should also note that I shot while being tethered to my new MacBook
    Pro Retina. Tethering is what the CFV was built for, as the actual LCD
    screen is pretty awful.”

    For $999, buy an 11′ Macbook Air to tether to with 128G SSD and gorgeous, high-res screen (1366×768 pixels/ 1.05mp), a $60 thunderbolt to firewire adapter, and still have $440 left over, after $3500 for the H25 back…..and have a nice new laptop out of it. Way easier looking at a laptop, which you can place comfortably anywhere, or shield from light easily, rather than having to crouch down and peer at a low-res, faded piece of junk screen, which is what you get unless you spend $20k for IQ140 with smaller sensor and 1.15mp screen. Even Hasselblad H5D has only a 147,000 pixel screen (320×240).

  • Joshua C. Overgaard

    Just wait til someone does it with an ipad instead…