Skip to main content

Bring your film camera back to life using your phone… and shoot video, too!

Digi Swap smartphone attachment for film SLR
(Image credit: Digi Swap)

UPDATE: Digi Swap, the brand new device that can breathe new life into old film cameras using your smartphone, has now gone live on Kickstarter.

Originally revealed back in January, the accessory enables you to attach your iPhone to a wide range of film cameras including the popular Nikon FM2 (opens in new tab), Canon AE-1 (opens in new tab), Olympus OM-1 (no, not the new Olympus OM-1 (opens in new tab)) and Leica SL just to name a few. Though we're sure that anyone using it with any Leica camera will be kicked out of the community before you can say "Digi Swap".

The Kickstarter campaign (opens in new tab) and so far has raised half of its ¥5,000,000 goal (roughly $39,745 / £30,535 / AU$53,665) with 43 days left to reach its target. 

ORIGINAL STORY (26 Jan 2022): The latest gadget from Digi Swap is set to be announced at CP+ in Japan (taking place 24-27 February) and it will enable you to attach your iPhone to a 35mm SLR camera. There is little info currently available but, judging from the pictures and intro video, it’s a metal bracket that acts as a mount for your iPhone and camera. 

But why? Is it not just enough to have an iPhone that takes digital pictures, and a film camera that takes, well, rolls of film? The problem is, the best 35mm film (opens in new tab) is getting so expensive both to buy and to develop. 

• Read more: Best film cameras (opens in new tab)

Not everyone who loves the film photography aesthetic can afford it. With rolls of film now costing $/£5+ and developing costs around $/£6+ depending on where you go, the Digi Swap could help reduce costs. 

You may not get the same excitement as you would from working your way through a roll of film and taking it to get developed, but you can be more experimental and less cautious about what you shoot. 

(Image credit: Digi Swap)

Just like you would if you were shooting on film, you set the shutter speed and aperture in-camera but ISO is set via the Digi Swap (opens in new tab) app (which is free to download from the app store). It can also be used to shoot video by setting the shutter to bulb and the ISO sensitivity to auto.

The film cover door needs to be completely removed in order to attach the Digi Swap gadget, which is screwed onto the bottom. The lens of your iPhone then sits in a bracket with the lens lined up to look down the lens of the film camera. 

Once it’s all set up, you can adjust your settings and start shooting. Every time you take a shot you need to wind on the film and press down the shutter button to take a photo. The image is then displayed on your phone and you can decide whether you need to adjust your settings. 

While this might make film photography purists shudder, we don’t all have the luxury of being able to shoot on film all the time. Like it or loathe it, the Digi Swap looks like a great way of upcycling a film camera that no longer loads film or doesn’t work as it should. There’s been no mention of price or when it will be available to buy but more information should be released at CP+ next month.

Read more:

Best instant film cameras (opens in new tab)
Best digital instant cameras (opens in new tab)
The best Lomography cameras (opens in new tab)
What type of instant film do I need?

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.