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Photography/Camera Accepting Dual Image Storage Media.


Camera Roll
Camera Roll  
Digital Camera
Digital Camera  
QUESTION: Dear Pat‎‎‎

1. Are there cameras available from sony, kodak, samsung etc which can accept and store both image media in roll (cartridge) as well as on memory card (digital camera) ?.

i.e. Film roll cartridges as well as memory card installed in the camera.

There will be two modes of operation with a Mode Operation button
on the camera.

Clicking on Mode operation button will allow the photographer to
select two image storage media. A. Digital B. Film Roll.

if photographer selects option A then takes a photo, the image will be recorded on the memory card, if photographer selects option B  

2. Do you feel this type of camera which can accept both types of
media can be useful to photographers and other consumers  ?.

3. Technically, is it feasible (complexity) to manufacture these
type of camera product ?.

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

ANSWER: Hello, Prashant,

What you are suggesting isn't technically feasible, which is to say making a camera for a reasonable cost that is reasonable to hold and operate. The digital camera is a totally new design. Remember that the light making up the image must strike a surface. In a film camera, it strikes film. In a digital camera, it strikes a light-sensitive plate and generates an electronic signal. Switching these two back and forth would be an engineering nightmare. And the lenses for a film camera are designed differently from the lenses for a digital camera. The focal length effectively changes, partly because of the distance between the lens and the surface, and partly because of the different size of the sensor. It is true you can use the same lenses (if the fittings are right) on a digital camera that you use on a film camera, but the apparent distance to the subject changes. The distance between the media (film or sensor) and the lens must be very precisely set. Moving one back and forth to replace the other would cause vibration that could upset the adjustments as well. Using mirrors instead would cost you brightness, and mess with the f stop.

Manufacturing such a device would be horribly expensive, and the result would be bulky and heavy.

There is one possible exception. Hasselblad has such a camera, which arose because they are designed to take different backs so you can switch film, so they also made one that will take a film back and a digital back, but it would be a real pain to switch between one or the other. You wouldn't just flip a switch, and you could miss photo opportunities doing it, unless you simply used just one for the session. It's worse than switching lenses, and I often carry two camera bodies so I don't have to as often. You can do an internet search using the terms "hasselblad digital back" or "hasselblad v series" to find one. They make one called the V series for which there are both film and digital backs. They are horribly expensive. They run in the tens of thousands of US dollars in price. The cheapest I found is just under $10,000. Storage and lenses are also horribly expensive. But as you can see, this is a different solution from the one you are suggesting.

Having used both film cameras and digital cameras extensively, I much prefer digital, especially since they have developed to a point where I can get large images. The camera I have now effectively is a large format camera in a compact size. I will never go back to using film. Film costs money, and developing does, too. You can't see the results at the time, so if you need to adjust exposure, you don't know about it until it is too late. A good photographer always takes lots of pictures and selects the best. With a film camera, it gets very expensive, but with a digital camera, it is effectively free. With a film camera, you have to pay for developing the bad pictures along with the good. With a digital camera, you can just throw away the bad ones, and it doesn't cost you anything to have taken some bad pictures (except insofar as they prevent you from taking a good photo at that instant at the time.)

I also doubt seriously if there would be a market for such an inexpensive camera. People prefer one or the other. People who still use film for artistic reasons don't need the digital capabilities. Most people have switched to digital and feel largely as I do. It's something like the difference between vinyl records and CDs. Some people think CDs distort the sound of classical music. These are diehard vinyl collectors. I am very sensitive to sound quality, but I have never noticed such a distortion (which could be corrected in any case), and vinyl records become scratchy and noisy, while CDs do not. In like manner, film responds somewhat differently to colors than a digital sensor; however, you can fix such problems in a computer program if need be. Film will keep more colors, but the answer is to shoot in RAW format with digital. Fixing exposure problems from film is hard. Fixing them from a digital image is trivial.

I hope this helps.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you.

I apologize for the incomplete sentence from my end in 1.

1. Are there cameras available from Sony, Kodak, Samsung etc which can accept and store both image media in roll (cartridge) as well as on memory card (digital camera) ?.

i.e. Film roll cartridges as well as memory card installed in the camera.

There will be two modes of operation with a Mode Operation button on the camera.

Clicking on Mode operation button will allow the photographer to select two image storage media.
A. Digital
B. Film Roll.

if photographer selects option A then takes a photo, the image will be recorded on the memory card, if photographer selects option B then the image will be recorded on roll (cartridge).

Thank you.

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hello, Prashant,

Thank you for the kind rating and comment.

As far as I know, there are no cameras available with the features you seek. It isn't REALLY technically feasible, such that it would make sense to develop and market such a camera.

Let's suppose what I regard as the most likely design. You'd have the sensor in one place on the camera, and the film in another place. There would be a semi-transparent mirror that would direct half the light toward the sensor, and half toward the film. You'd choose which medium got the image by using a Mode-Operation switch. The problem is that cutting down the light to half what it would be otherwise would mean losing a lot in terms of image quality. Let's say you chose to compensate by running at ISO 1600 instead of ISO 800. (If these terms don't make sense, let me know). The image will be more grainy at 1600. Most cameras don't have sensors good enough to handle an ISO number higher than 1600 without a lot of graininess. And the grain is aggravated in low light situations. If you open the aperture more, you lose depth of field and sharpness if it's not focused perfectly, and there are a lot of situations where perfect focus is not guaranteed, especially with automatic focus. Or you might slow down the shutter speed, which might lead to blurring. I personally will do everything in my power NOT to rob the sensor of ANY of the light going to it. And you would probably have to give up the SLR viewfinder and rely on the display on the back, which is NOT very detailed, and I personally find impossible to use.

Lots of photographers think this way. A camera designed like that wouldn't sell.

There are a few cameras that have sensors that will handle higher ISO numbers without graininess, but they're few and far between, very expensive, and not suitable for film. You'd need extra sensitive film for the camera you propose as well. I have never seen any color film for more than 800 ISO, and they did make 1600 ISO, but that was VERY grainy.

Suppose instead, they had a mirror that would flip one way for film, and another way for the sensor. That would require some more sophisticated mechanics which could more easily break, and would not be desirable otherwise, either. The light would have to be bent, rather than going straight back to the sensor.

If you're thinking of trying to invent such a camera, feel free. I doubt if you will sell your design to anyone. In other words, it is an engineering problem, and the solution is anything BUT obvious.

But if you are thinking you can find an inexpensive camera (under $1000 US) that has this feature, in Sony, Kodak, or Samsung, I'd say that would be nearly 100% impossible. I don't know for sure that they do not have such a camera, but I'd be SHOCKED if they did.

I didn't turn anything up on an internet search. Feel free to do one as well. Fuji is still making a disposable film camera that takes 27 shots. You have to send the camera back to get the film developed. I think they re-use the cameras, which means you might have tiny scratches on the lens of one you buy "new". This camera is available at B&H in New York, and is called Fujifilm Quicksnap 800 Waterproof 35mm Disposable Camera. The web site is But that's not what you are looking for, either. They do have a film camera section, but all they have is cheap cameras, nothing like what you are asking about. Here's the link, for what it's worth:

I looked only at the first page.

None of these cameras would be attractive to a professional, so all the professionals are either using equipment they already have, or they have gone digital. I held out for a long time because I didn't have the money to buy a digital camera, and the one I wanted hadn't been developed yet. But I went digital about 5 years ago. And there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

If you want to use both film and digital, carry two camera bodies. It's cheaper, and it will work better, because the cameras will be designed specifically for that recording medium.

I hope this helps.


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Pat G


I can answer questions about the artistic aspects of photography, and tricks for shooting landscape, scenic, macro, and animal photography. I am familiar with Pentax SLR cameras, both film and digital. I have also done work in urban photography and creative photography, and I am familiar with creative uses of filters and lenses. I am familiar with composition and color theory, and know how to make use of light. I can answer questions about things like lightning photography and moon photography. I spend time studying the techniques of the well known photographers. I work exclusively in color. Although I travel anywhere and everywhere in pursuit of landscape and scenic photography, my main area of expertise is the American southwest, and I am familiar with many scenic areas. I also have familiarity with the plants of the Sonoran Desert, having studied not only their appearance but also their uses, including ethnobotany. See my educational credentials for other art that I do.


I have spent the last ten years as a semi-professional photographer, selling my work on the internet, and having won international honors. The gallery of my most recent work, where I usually post frequently is I will take questions about how I did various photographs.

The first prize I won for my art was when I was in third grade. I have a bachelor's degree in art from Ohio Dominican University, where I learned mainly ceramics and glaze calculation. I have also done various kinds of fiber arts. In addition, I do digital landscapes, abstracts, and fractal art.

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