Here’s how to build a digital cartridge, using Raspberry Pi Zero W, that can slot into almost any of the old Super 8mm cameras.
The design follows the standard cartridge format for 8mm cameras, and all the schematics are freely available, so anyone who has one of these old-fashioned beauties collecting dust can revive it.
Why spend 0.5 seconds putting an Instagram filter over your crystal clear digitally shot videos, when you could spend several hours modding a vintage 8mm camera to shoot authentically shaky frames? Because you’ve the heart of an engineer, that’s why. And we salute you.
How to build your own
Here’s all the source code you need to build your own Super 8 retrofitting cartridge based in a Raspberry Pi Zero connected to a photosensor. And the CAD model so you can get the sizes just right. The maker advises that you need to click on “Part Studio 1” in the tabs along the bottom and create an account in order to copy, modify, or download the design.
The circuit comprises:
- white LED with 1k resistor to 5V
- photoresistor with 10k resistor in series to 5V
- GPIO18 on Raspberry Pi Zero connected to joint of photoresistor and 10k resistor
There is still some blurriness and shakiness to the final image quality, but that is totally part of the charm.
This isn’t the first time that maker Befinitiv has transformed a retro camera. Earlier this year, we blogged about their custom film cartridge, made with Raspberry Pi Zero W. It enabled their gorgeous old analogue camera to take digital photos and videos, and even wirelessly live stream to the internet. Check it out below.
Make sure you’ve got the right Raspberry Pi OS camera settings
Remember, if you’re using the latest version of Raspberry Pi OS, Bullseye, you’ll need to add the legacy camera interfaces if you want to make your own version of this project. To do this, click the update icon in the taskbar to update. Then open a terminal (Ctrl-Alt-T) and type ‘sudo raspi-config’, go to ‘Interface Options’ and then ‘Legacy Camera’, and reboot.