It is easy to see the camera settings for any picture taken on a digital camera or smartphone — not so when taking photos on a film camera.
Alessandro Genova has sought to solve this problem by building a device that not only saves essential information such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO; but can also act as a light meter.
Genova outlines the tracking unit in a GitHub repository that’s labeled as a “film photographer memo and light meter.”
“A digital camera stores all kinds of metadata alongside each picture it takes. Arguably the most important metadata it stores is the exposure settings that were selected when taking that picture (aperture, shutter speed, ISO),” explains Genova.
“An analog film camera typically doesn’t store any of this information. Some photographers carry around a notebook where they write the exposure settings for each picture they take.”
Some old film cameras contained a stylus that photographers could use to scratch information onto part of the negative, cameras like the Kodak Vest Pocket camera used by soldiers fighting in trenches during World War I.
Genova’s device fits onto the camera’s hot shoe mount, shown here mounted on a 35MM Pentax MX. Users can input the film brand and ISO for a camera roll and then set the aperture and shutter speeds setting for each shot via a pair of pushbutton encoders.
As noted by Hackster, the device also has a light metering circuit made using a phototransistor.
“Most film cameras include some electronic circuitry to determine the amount of light in the scene and help guide the photographer in picking the aperture and shutter settings to produce a correctly exposed picture,” says Genova.
“Many old film cameras, while still being mechanically working, have a long dead light meter.”
Once the device is all set up, the camera saves a picture’s data automatically, producing digital notes that can be reviewed on its 128×64 OLED screen.
For film photographers who have ever forgotten what roll of film is inside the camera or would like to see their settings on a particular frame this could be a very helpful device.
Genova’s full project can be seen here.