The DiGi Swap, originally teased earlier this year, is planned to come to market later this summer. A combination holster and app, it works with old cameras and allows photographers to shoot with film bodies as if they were digital.
Originally revealed in January, the team behind the DiGi Swap intended to make an appearance at the CP+ Photo trade show in Japan before it was canceled, but always intended to seek crowdfunding to brings its device to life.
Fireworks, the company behind the device, made the DiGi Swap to enable a modern film camera experience with classic bodies in a way that did not require the purchase of new film (which is becoming more expensive) but also wouldn’t require a modification to the camera and would allow for photos to be reviewed immediately.
“As the owner of a camera store for 27 years from the age of 25, I could not help but notice film cameras becoming less and less popular as time passed,” the DiGi Swap’s inventor says.
“One day, while I was feeling nostalgic for the old days when film cameras used to be popular, I took a picture through the viewfinder of a Hasselblad camera with my smartphone. The photo came out well, which led to the development of DiGi Swap in 2021.”
The DiGi Swap uses a patented adapter that connects the camera and iPhone together and allows it to take photos using a companion app. Fireworks bills the devices as a way to “upcycle” film cameras into a digital camera, and the DiGi Swap lets photographers use the original controls on the camera body such as aperture, shutter speed, and focus adjustment as well as capture video.
“The application interlocks with the shutter, detects the light coming in and out of the film camera, and records it on the iPhone,” the company told PetaPixel in January. “A macro lens and a projection screen are placed on the camera and the image projected on the phone is captured. It is a patented technology.”
The DiGiSwap does significantly increase the size of whichever camera it is attached to, but the company showcases the device working with a wide variety of cameras and Fireworks shows it specifically mounted to a Canon F1, Leica M2, LeicaFlex SL, Nikon FM2, and Nikon F2.
It isn’t limited to use with jsut those cameras, however, and out of the box, the DiGiSwap will work with several Canon, Nikon, Leica, Minolta, Pentax, Contax, and Olympus cameras, but operation with the Leica M2 and M3 requires the addition of a special adapter. A full list of compatible camera models is available on the company’s Kickstarter.
Below is a video from Japanese photographer Manabu Nakanishi who reviewed the system:
And below is an example of video shot through the DiGi Swap:
“DiGi Swap was not designed to encourage people to use digital cameras,” Fireworks says. “Our goal is to preserve “film cameras”, by creating ways to their original functions in the digital age.”
The DiGi Swap is compatible with iPhone models as far back as the iPhone X and SE through the most recent iPhone 13 Pro MAX. It is not currently compatible with any Android-based smartphone.
The DiGi Swap can be backed on Kickstarter for 23,500 yen, or about $192, which is 33% off the eventual retail price, and includes both the physical adapter and access to the app (the app will eventually sell for $49). The Leica M-mount adapter costs an additional $65.50. The company intends to deliver finished products to customers by August. All backing options can be perused on the DiGi Swap Kickstarter.
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