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Hardware Hacking Iphone Cellphones Input Devices Build

iPhone DSLR Prototype 1.0 172

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt: "Here are Photos/Pictures of my iPhone DSLR Prototype 1.0. This is my first attempt at putting together an iPhone DSLR. You might ask 'Why pair an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 with a DSLR lens?' Why not!" Prototype or not, it's a cool project.
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iPhone DSLR Prototype 1.0

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  • uh, samples? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SoupGuru ( 723634 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:38PM (#32921206)
    So, where are the goods? I mean, pics of an iPhone with a big lens strapped on are cool, I guess.... but I was kind of hoping for what the results of that unholy union are.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not only that, this could be done with any phone, android-based ones included. Phones have had cameras for more than a decade, why is this suddenly news because it's an iphone?

      Oh that's right, Apple fanboys are being hired by Steve Jobs to rewrite history so we all believe iPhones were the first phones with a camera

      Paid slashvertisement, indirectly, much?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by falzer ( 224563 )

        It could be done with any phone, but it wasn't, because it's so incredibly useless and indulgent.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Entropius ( 188861 )

          Especially because I can buy a real SLR for $200 used.

          • by ZosX ( 517789 )

            Oh yeah? What SLR could you possibly buy used for $200? Oh wait. You said SLR and NOT DSLR. Heck you can find old Pentax K1000s for like $50-100 anymore. Old pentax glass is generally kind of on the cheap side too (and they make great glass!) I don't even think you could buy an original rebel DSLR for $200

            • I've seen old-but-not-too-old Olympus E-510's (10MP, image stabilization) for $175-200, and my father sold a Rebel XT kit (8MP) to someone for $225.

            • Canon is not the only DSLR maker you know.
              Three years ago I've bought a Sigma SD9 with a 18-50mm/F3.5-5.6 for EUR170 on eBay. It is a DSLR by every definition.

        • It could be done with any phone, but it wasn't, because it's so incredibly useless and indulgent.

          No, actually it can't be done with any phone. It doesn't work.

          Elsewhere on the same site [iphonedslr.com], the designer says:

          While all the part fit to make a decent looking iPhone DSLR, the results of the configuration are completely useless.

          How naive I was to think that snapping all these pieces together would just work.

          I don't know why this is on Slashdot. The headline might as well read "Neat looking was to disable your iPhone's camera"

    • Re:uh, samples? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:10PM (#32921538) Homepage

      I don't care about the goods.

      Anyone who goes out of their way to say iPhone 5 times in 3 sentences is a douche.

    • This thing cannot work, unless they remove the iPhone's original lens, of which the article makes no mention. You simply cannot stack lenses like that. Compare it to what you see when you look (with your eye, which is a lens) through the rear of a lens. You see a round patch of light, not a whole view of the world. The iPhone would see the same thing. Also, if you _did_ remove the original lens, you'd end up with an enormous crop factor, turning every SLR lens into a very long tele. Try holding that steady
      • by Zerth ( 26112 )

        Really? Oh wait, there's these photos... He does seem to be getting some chromatic aberration, though.

        I've done a similar thing with the large front lens from a set of binoculars on my camera as a $15 macro lens.

        Works decent enough, but since I picked cheap binocs, the lens was attached to the front tube instead of being separate, so the edge shows a bit if I'm zoomed all the way out. I could saw it down but the eyepiece cap fits perfectly over the open end.

        • by hkz ( 1266066 )
          Yes. Those are photos of a defocused patch of light. My original statement still stands. The only way this would work is by taking pictures through an SLR viewfinder, which has, you know, a ground glass on which the projected image forms. You cannot otherwise stack two photographic lenses.
    • Re:uh, samples? (Score:5, Informative)

      by StarDrifter ( 144026 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @11:59PM (#32922974)

      There is another post with the result: http://iphonedslr.com/blog/archives/62fb [iphonedslr.com]
      It is somewhat disappointing, to say the least. I do give some credit for posting it though. Even though things didn't work out as planned it is nice to see what happened.

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        That blog format of his is abysmal: it's very hard to explore, you feel like peeling data out of the blog's cold dead hands. Why do people set up their blogs such that even if there is maybe a dozen articles, you have to keep clicking and scrolling forever to see them all? It almost feels like those online news formats where a single page article is split across 15 pages, each with ads covering 80% of screen real estate... </offtopic_rant>

      • by Doctor O ( 549663 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @03:32AM (#32923798) Homepage Journal

        If he had actually THOUGHT about what he's going to do, he might have discovered this strange concept of "focal length" and how it might affect lens placement.

        This must be among the most stupid "efforts" I've seen on Slashdot.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        It is quite an unfortunate demo. You can hardly make out that it is a giraffe at all..
    • 'Why pair an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 with a DSLR lens?'

      Evo envy? Your iPhone 4 didn't work anyway (you were holding it wrong)? And your ex-wife got the DSLR camera in the divorce settlement, and you only got a lens???

  • by countertrolling ( 1585477 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:43PM (#32921274) Journal

    What? I can't hear you!

    I said, you have a camera in your ear!

    I can't hear you. I gotta a camera in my ear...

    • well, I do Admit I can't play Farmville on my D3h.....
      • If Olympus built cell phones I'd buy one, since all the cell phones I have used suck both at being phones and at being cameras.

        • Just buy an Olympus digital camera. All the quality of a full digital camera with all the phone-call functionality of an iPhone 4!


  • by DWMorse ( 1816016 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:54PM (#32921380) Homepage

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10409153-1.html [cnet.com]

    I'm kinda seconding the general thought everyone else is voicing. Disappointment over the lack of improvement. But I think with some more work, it could be made to do better.

    Let's face the facts though - it's taped onto the phone.

  • NOT DSLR!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:56PM (#32921402)

    DSLR does not mean "detachable lens". It means "Digital Single Lens Reflex", or "digital camera that uses a mechanical mirror system and pentaprism to direct light from the lens to an optical viewfinder on the back of the camera".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dslr [wikipedia.org]

    In fact, it has nothing to do with detachable lenses. That is a completely different technology, which just happens to be commonly (but not universally) paired with (D)SLR hardware. Nor is the mechanical mirror or pentaprism contained in the lens. The SLR mechanism(s) are in the camera body, which clearly do not exist in the iPhone nor the mount that the phone and lens(es) are attached to.

    What this device provides is simply detachable lenses for the iPhone camera system. Detachable lens camera systems have been available for non-SLR cameras for quite some time.

    This horribly wrong use of technical terms really should not be showing up on the site that proclaims itself as "news for nerds, stuff that matters".

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      Mod parent up. This pretty much summed up my confusion about the article, i.e. "where's the DSLR?".

    • by Splab ( 574204 )

      Also, using the iPhone will cost more than most entry level DSLR, the iPhone wont have auto focus enabled on the lenses - so basically he ends up with something way inferior more expensive, and by the looks of it, way less user friendly.

      Also, with my DSLR it's the lenses and flash that weigh me down, both economically and mass, using the iPhone just give me an inferior product, with no benefits.

      • "so basically he ends up with something way inferior more expensive, and by the looks of it, way less user friendly."

        This literally describes every single apple product ever made. This project is perfect for the iphone.
    • by S-100 ( 1295224 )
      Absolutely right. I just purchased a Sony NEX-5 which to me is the tipping point of SLR digital camera technology. Sure, a pure DSLR will always have some advantages, but I think these are now superseded by all of the benefits gotten by the new mirror-less APS-C and Micro Four Thirds cameras.

      Back to the original post, that looks like very nice industrial design, but doesn't the lens mask or occlude the flash LED? It's also nothing but a joke putting a big lens with a wide objective size in front of the
      • Snark: the NEX-5 isn't a DSLR either, since it doesn't have a reflex mirror. Doesn't make it suck, though -- not everything has to be a SLR to be a good camera.

        Question about it -- I saw pictures of the thing and it looks so darn hard to use. No viewfinder, no real way to hold it, and badly unbalanced if you put any sort of ambitious lens on it. Obviously it takes good images, but how's the actual experience of shooting with it?

        • by S-100 ( 1295224 )
          Snark? Hardly. Read again. My opinion is that cameras like the NEX-5 have the potential to replace DSLRs for the majority of people looking for cameras like that. I never said it WAS an SLR (which it obviously isn't.)

          I don't have the camera in hand yet, so I can't comment on handling. As for a viewfinder, there will be one that bolts onto the new proprietary hot shoe on top. That's currently how you attach the flash or an external stereo mic (which bypasses the built-in mics). I've very rarely used t
          • Ah, I see what you're saying now.

            I mostly do outdoor wildlife photography, so I like viewfinders -- I can't see the screen in the sunlight. Good that there's at least the option for one on the NEX if you want one.

            For small pancake lenses, I agree -- this, or equivalently the Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras, are a good direction for design to go in. But I'd be interested to see how it handles with a 1.5 or 2-pound on the front, though; if your hand on the lens has to bear most of the weight all the time, it seems

            • by S-100 ( 1295224 )
              Well, I'm used to "unbalanced" on SLRs as well, when I attach my 800mm mirror lens to my old film SLR. To solve the problem, a tripod mount is attached to the lens, not the camera. Same thing works here with mirror-less digital cameras, except they will be more common. I believe the coming 18-200mm E-mount lens from Sony already includes its own tripod mount.

              And what puts it over the top for me is that the new E mount lenses also work on Sony's new line of pro-sumer camcorders, which are similarly compa
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      Many large manufacturers of DSLR's, such as Canon and Sony, have started removing the mirrors from their prosumer-level camera's in exchange for sensors that can work in different modes.

      It seems to improve autofocus and add (HD)-video features at the cost of the optical viewfinder (and as such, manual focus quality) without affecting photo quality.

      From what I understand, taking away the "R" from DSLR is becoming more and more common. At some point a digital viewfinder could have enough resolution as to make

      • Re:NOT DSLR!! (Score:4, Informative)

        by Moghedien ( 237619 ) on Friday July 16, 2010 @01:57AM (#32923432) Journal

        It seems to improve autofocus

        Well, maybe improve accuracy in some cases, but the contrast detection AF of non-DSLRs is usually slower than phase detection AF of DSLRs. The very best CDAF is comparable with PDAF of average DSLRs, and then there are the sports cameras...

        Have you tried a modern digital viewfinder? For example the VF of the Olympus EP2. I'd say it has enough resolution to not make a significant difference. It has 100% coverage (of course :-) and 1.15x mag. And for those still life photos you can magnify a portion of the view (up to 10x?) to fine-tune the focus. And best of all, the flange focal distance is small enough to use Leica M-lenses at infinity -- but the 2x "crop factor" may be a curse or a blessing...

        Many large manufacturers of DSLR's, such as Canon and Sony, have started removing the mirrors from their prosumer-level camera's in exchange for sensors that can work in different modes.

        Well, Canon (and Nikon) are still on the fence. Nikon may (or may not) present a mirrorless system camera at Photokina, Sony has their new NEX-system, then there's Olympus and Panasonic (micro four thirds), and yet another system, Samsung NX. Even Ricoh is jumping on the bandwagon, in their own idiosyncratic way [dpreview.com].

        • by gomoX ( 618462 )

          I have to say the CDAF on my Panasonic G1 when using the kit lens feels as fast as the 70-200 f/4L AF on my 40D. This is definitely "fast AF" territory. This is not the case with the other lenses i've tried on the lineup, but it definitely goes to show that it is possible.

          And the best thing about CDAF is that it actually gets the damn focus right where it needs to be. Unlike everything else out there. The fact that latest DSLRs have "AF fine tune" settings to deal with the mess that is PDAF attests to this.

    • Quoting The Not So Fine Blog...

      I created this blog to document the steps I'm taking in making an iPhone DSLR.
      The honest truth is, I really dont know anything about DSLRs aside from the fact that you press the button and it snaps the picture.
      So whether the feat is actually possible or not, I'm in to to find out.


      Now by no means would I consider myself a professional photographer.
      Heck... I am by would I even consider myself an amateur photographer.
      The truth is I really know nothing about photography.
      Before starting this endeavor the most I knew about cameras was that you push the button and it takes a picture.

  • by Bryansix ( 761547 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:57PM (#32921412) Homepage
    The lens may be borrowed from a DSLR but what it makes is an EVIL camera. EVIL = Electronic Viewfinder, Interchangable Lens.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @07:57PM (#32921416) Journal

    'Why pair an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4 with a DSLR lens?' Why not!"

    Because it wouldn't take very good pictures.

  • Tag Cloud (Score:5, Informative)

    by lemur3 ( 997863 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:06PM (#32921478)

    Seeing the tag cloud reminded me of those sites from the 90s that would put the whole dictionary into the bottom of their page black text on a black background to garner the most hits.

    See for yerself:

    This entry was posted in iPhone DSLR Prototypes and tagged Canon EF mount, Digital DSLR, DSLR, iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G aluminum housing, iPhone 3G camera, iPhone 3G camera lens, iPhone 3G with DSLR lens, iPhone 3G with SLR lens, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3GS aluminum housing, iPhone 3GS camera, iPhone 3GS camera lens, iPhone 3GS with DSLR lens, iPhone 4, iPhone 4 aluminum housing, iPhone 4 Camera, iPhone 4 camera lens, iPhone 4 with DSLR lens, iPhone aluminum housing, iPhone camera, iPhone camera lens, iPhone Digital DSLR, iPhone DSLR, iPhone DSLR housing, iPhone DSLR Prototype, iPhone Prototype, iPhone with DSLR lens, iPhone with SLR lens.

    Desperate for hits much?

  • now it will kill the digital camera too
    • by CMonk ( 20789 )

      It killed the consumer GPS market and it will kill the consumer digicam market too. It hasn't and won't touch pro-sumer let alone pro GPS/camera markets. "Phones" are becoming the jack of all trades, master of none.

      • "Phones" are becoming the jack of all trades, master of none.

        Except being phones. And possibly UUMPC.

        • by Nadaka ( 224565 )

          I hate to brake this to you, but the iPhone is pretty bad at being a UMPC, and it is even worse at being an phone.

        • And since all the phones suck at being both phones and being cameras, I figure it's about time the camera makers made cameras that could also make phone calls.

  • by Ellis D. Tripp ( 755736 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:11PM (#32921544) Homepage

    This is just a bigger lens kludged onto an iPhone. Epic fail....

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @08:55PM (#32921886)

    Moron, SLR requires that it has a few mirrors and some moving parts.

    Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_single-lens_reflex_camera [wikipedia.org]

    And read it, not just look at the pictures. Nothing external to the camera that you can see has anything to do with SLR, its all internal mechanics and not the fact that you can screw on a different lens.

    This isn't slashdot: News for idiots by idiots

    Its Slashdot: news for nerds.

    Timothy, you have never been a nerd for a split second of your life.

    • This isn't slashdot: News for idiots by idiots

      The bulk of this site conflicts with your hypothesis. Sadly, I feel like I'm watching a trainwreck -- can't seem to take my eyes off of it.

  • Where's the pics? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by teslatug ( 543527 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @09:09PM (#32921966)
    I think sharks with frickin' lasers attached to their heads have a better chance of functioning than this thing.
  • Big lens != SLR (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TyFighter ( 189732 ) on Thursday July 15, 2010 @09:44PM (#32922220) Homepage

    I highly doubt an iPhone has the capacity to hold a Single-lens Reflex mechanical action, nor has anyone every designed one. Do people even know what SLR means?

  • "SLR" is the abbreviation of "Single Lens Reflex"; it's defined by a camera having a reflex mirror (go figure, huh?); the ability to change lenses has nothing to do with this definition.

    With that out of the way, I feel compelled to point out that this adds a very small amount of functionality for the bulk. As any photographer knows, no phone will be able to work with depth of field [wikipedia.org] because the sensor is too small. All you're getting is the ability to change focal lengths instead of walking 10 feet.
  • IAMANOTA camera buff, but even *I* know that is *NOT* an SLR.

    SLR refers to the mechanism which allows yo to view the actual image which will be taken by the camera without any paralax effects.

    Plus this is a shitty thing to do in the first place. Why would anyone want to spend a lot of money to take crappy photos with a crappy phone attached to a humungous lens?

  • As in *S*ingle *L*ens *R*eflex?

    This is not a SLR.

    This is no better than crappy point-and-shoot cameras with removable lenses. Even a low-end DSLR (such as the Canon Rebel) has a much bigger (and better) sensor, not counting the Reflex parts ...

  • by davmoo ( 63521 )

    I'll skip leaving a "this is not a DSLR" comment because that has already been covered.

    While its interesting from the "can this be done?" standpoint, I see absolutely no practical reason for doing this. He's basically taking a point and shoot cellphone camera and putting another lens on it, and it gains nothing useful by doing so. The device is no longer pocketable, and the pictures certainly won't be as good as the DSLR the lens came from could produce. If you're going to lug something around that you can'

    • by Mushdot ( 943219 )

      Exactly, he may as well glue his iPhone to a DSLR. As well as getting much better quality images he will probably not suffer reception loss by holding his iPhone 'incorrectly'.

      It would be cool if he had managed to link his phone (I'll use a generic term here) directly to the memory card slot of a DSLR, so taking a picture would go straight to the phone memory. Or alternatively use wireless transmission from the camera to automatically send the pic to his phone and from there upload it to his blog/facebook p

  • I could give several reasons why not to convert your iPhone into a DSLR.

    First reason - the iPhone camera has always sucked. I've had better quality from a parallel-port Logitech from the early 90s.

    Second - no lens mount.

    Third - no flash or ring-mounted flash? NO FLASH PERIOD BY ANY NAME?

    Fuck you.

  • Apart from the fact the focal plane distance and distortion due to other lens elements in the existing iPhone lens package screw up this idea...the builder also picked a Canon EF lens, which by default, unpowered is left at full aperture. Canon EF lenses stop down on command through the serial port in the EF interface. If this guy had actually managed to interface the EF mount electronically to the iPhone's camera subsystem...well, that would be pretty cool.

    A better choice would have been to use an older

  • make it to slashdot?

    pasting from the site:

    I created this blog to document the steps I'm taking in making an iPhone DSLR. The honest truth is, I really dont know anything about DSLRs aside from the fact that you press the button and it snaps the picture. So whether the feat is actually possible or not, I'm in to to find out.
  • While the project is probably fun for anon, this setup misses pretty much all advantages of DLSR. To mention a few:

    * Autofocus in most lenses
    * Measuring focus before, on and after the plane of the sensor, making for even faster focus calculations
    * Cleaner exposure with less movement artefacts due to mechanical shutter
    * Less noise in the pictures because the sensor is not needed for viewfinding and thus does not heat up
    * Large image sensor

    And prolly a dozen I forgot about. You may now return to normal /. mod

  • Timothy the Slashdot Editor> Prototype or not, it's a cool project.

    A jet engine on a lawn mower does not make an F-16 fighter. Yes this is project is that stupid!

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger