The “I’m Back Film” project on Kickstarter is offering a unique concept that aims to breathe new life into old analog cameras. The project targets photographers who wish to enjoy the tactile experience of their vintage film cameras while benefitting from digital convenience — However, opinions on this concept are mixed.
The project addresses a growing trend of nostalgia for analog photography, with younger generations exploring film cameras to escape the omnipresence of digital technology. Brands like Pentax are even reintroducing film cameras, and there is a resurgence of vintage-style digital cameras on the market.
“I’m Back” has been around for 7 years and has previously crowdfunded different iterations of its concept. The 2023 edition is designed to work with traditional 35mm film SLR cameras and features a 20MP Micro Four Thirds (MFT) imaging sensor. While it offers better technology than previous versions, it’s only half the size of a 35mm film frame, resulting in a 2x crop factor. To address this, the kit includes a wide-angle adaptor to restore the lens’s field of view, but this adds complexity to the setup.
The choice of a Micro Four Thirds sensor was made to control costs, but the Kickstarter price of $539 is still relatively high. There have been concerns that the project might face difficulties delivering its kits to backers, which have been common due to global component shortages during the pandemic.
The core idea of I’m Back is intriguing: using a digital sensor as a “digital film roll” in a vintage camera. However, the attachment to achieve this feels somewhat unwieldy, with additional digital parts, an LCD screen, and an SD card slot, creating a DIY appearance.
Some photographers find the concept fundamentally flawed, as they prefer the authentic experience of shooting on film and then digitizing it later. There’s a sense that “I’m Back” compromises the soul of analog cameras for the sake of digital output. Retro mirrorless cameras are seen as a potentially better option for those who desire both the analog feel and modern technology.
Despite the mixed reception, I’m Back offers flexibility by allowing users to switch between actual film and the digital film roll quickly. While the concept is intriguing, it appears to have both advantages and drawbacks, leaving photographers divided on its potential to deliver an authentic analog-digital experience.