“Hasselnuts” Kickstarter project gives your analog Hasseblad camera an iPhone digital back


posted Friday, September 6, 2013 at 1:31 PM EDT


Buying an analog Hasseblad isn't too expensive: you can get a really good Hassy medium-format film camera for less than a grand. But going digital? That's going to cost you a small fortune, with Hasselblad digital backs running into the thousands (if not tens of). But a clever-sounding Kickstarter project would make an iPhone mount for Hasselblad bodies, pushing digital medium format onto your smartphone. Perhaps appropriately, it's called Hasselnuts, and it'll cost you $250-$300.

The immediate problem that you'd think attaching an iPhone to a medium format camera is that you'd be stuck using just a tiny fraction of the image circle, effectively killing the depth of field, and giving a massive crop factor. But designer Daniel Jun Hoshino has accounted for this by creating a special projection screen/magnifying lens, which shrinks the image down to a size where the iPhone can see the entire thing, depth of field preserved. Here's how it's described:

"HASSELNUTS iPhone mount kit contains a newly developed original projection screen that collects the light through the lens. HASSELNUTS takes a picture of the imagery on the projection screen. With this process, HASSELNUTS is able to capture imagery that is the same DOF (depth of field) as medium format cameras. 

HASSELNUTS original projection screen is essential in this mount kit. The screen is very similar to a ground glass but it isn’t the exact same. We have developed a glass that has similar characteristics as the film surface just for HASSELNUTS, so the image that is projected on the glass will be much like a film image. This is why the imagery that is taken with HASSELNUTS will become very grainy and film like."

The plan is also to create an app which detects the motion of the shutter in order to record the photo at exactly the right time. But there are still some obvious problems — like the fact that you'll be able to set aperture using the lens, but that the shutter speed and ISO will still be controlled automatically by the iPhone.

You can see early samples of the Hasselnuts in action here. While they might not hold up to true digital Hasseblad quality, it's certainly an awful lot less expensive. If everything goes as planned, the Hasselnut is expected to ship in December — but Kickstarter projects rarely land on time, so early 2014 may be more likely.