Super Zero, a vitamin film camera with a Raspberry Pi

Retro and the Raspberry Pi

Most of the time, using retro devices is due more to a matter of nostalgia than of real necessity. Because the limitations are many and even more so if it is with devices related to creative subjects such as photography or video capture.

In addition, taking into account the advantages that mobile phones provide with hundreds of applications that are capable of imitating the behavior of practically any analog camera, even less. However, it cannot be denied that combining some of these products and modernize them thanks to the use of a Raspberry Pi it has its appeal.

On the one hand, using a retro product that always feels so different in the hand. On the other, do it by taking advantage of the advantages that this popular development board can provide. So that’s what we’re going to show you, how this user turned an old Super 8 video camera into a digital version.

This is Super Zero, the retro film camera

Super Zero is a retro movie camera converted to digital thanks to a Raspberry Pi, but before that part that you will more or less imagine how it is achieved, there must be the camera on which it is based.

It is an Agfa Microflex that was manufactured in Germany during the sixties. This used Super 8 film cartridges and among its characteristics, although it was capable of exposing automatically, the focus and zoom were completely manual. So you had to use his rings to control these aspects of the video.

Without the possibility of recording audio, the captured video went to 18 frames per second and only allowed to store three minutes and twenty seconds of continuous recording. Come on, a camera with many limitations for what we are used to handling today, but with great appeal if we look at it from the prism of nostalgia.

Of course, currently it would not be practical to walk with those cartridges, so Befinitiv (a user passionate about retro) decided to modernize it with a Raspberry Pi Zero. Thanks to this board and the camera module, he was able to update one of the cartridges to go from being a analog to digital backup. Yes, something similar to what Hasselblad offers.

Well, the cartridge was actually 3D printed with the same measurements as the original to order all the electronics needed. From the board to a battery, a power conversion circuit and other components such as the aforementioned Raspberry Pi camera module.

With all this, the result is a film camera with which you will not be able to capture moving images with the quality offered by current proposals such as the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro, but the attraction of that image captured through that lens is Very particular.

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