Machine Vision cameras/ Mirrorless DSLR for 4K


First Post of mine coming up!

Glad to be apart of the community, as there is a lot of great discussion happening.

I am gearing up to get my feet wet in my first Kinograph build and want to hammer out some finer details before proceeding.
I have a lot of experience with machine vision cameras in combination with The Retro Scan Universal system. I know that machine vision cameras are highly recommended for this application and I understand why, they are compact, task dedicated, and offer a wide spectrum of affordability with quality. However, as 2K will age I want to implement a 4K system from the beginning and I am curious if some one can chime in if I have this wrong. I would assume that using a full frame mirror-less camera for image capture would be the best. I have been looking at buying a Sony A7R II for use with this as it would be slightly cheaper than a PGR Grasshopper, and could use it for other things.

So my question is:

Is a full frame mirror-less system over kill or too much hassle for what it is worth? or perhaps not adequate in terms of quality? ( My intuition tells me the latter is highly unlikely)

Thank you for your input!


@Owlinsky One important point on the discussion is what is the size of the film? that would give some context to the options. I used a DSLR, and one of the issues with DSLR and mirror-less camera is that the shutter has a finite life. I was willing to take the cost of the camera as part of the project, but it is a consideration. Having said that, I am very pleased with the results. See for your self, with an 8mm film, @4K.

Hope the info is helpful.


@Owlinsky It’s also good to weigh whether or not the particular sensor you’re using has any issues with being in use for the duration of time you’d need to scan a film. The system would have to be “on” for hours at a time, rather than the relatively short duration it’d normally be on for taking a few still images. The quality would likely be very good, but I’d be concerned about the light loss and depth of focus on a MUCH larger sensor.


This is not mine, cite as an example.

Sony a6300 + Sigma 105/2.8 macro.
The distance from the film to the matrix is about 35 cm. Frame by frame 4K 6000*4000px

It is too Sony a6300 -


Welcome, @Owlinsky! First thing to check is if the sensor is global or rolling. If it’s a rolling shutter, you will be limited in the speed at which you can scan.

Also, even though mirrorless cameras have less moving parts, most (all?) still have mechanical elements that move every time you take a photo. An example is a shutter on the sensor itself that clears the pixels. I’m not totally up-to-date on this so hopefully someone else can chime in and tell me I’m wrong or validate.


Thank you for the great info!
Yes I @PM490 I should specify, that I would be scanning all formats ( if S8 is up and running reliably). Yes @dan74, I have looked into those as well, and that might be my best option if I decide to risk it with the mirror-less, that example you linked is quite nice.
@johnarthurkelly, and @matthewepler, yes, device stamina would be lower than a PGR camera, and echoing what most stated that mirror-less is misleading in that they do have components that are susceptible to wearing out just like a traditional shutter, but exact life is still unknown? and the Sony A6300 are global shutters. Also I didn’t think of the loss of light but that totally makes sense.

Thank you all again, I will see you on the forums!