One of the weakest links of the project seems to be the difficulty with DSLR cameras wearing out. This is also a weak link with DIY book scanners (where I have been working). One way to solve this is with cheaper cameras (point and shoot). But that sacrifices quality. But a while back, somebody posted on our forums pointing to Nikon 1 J series cameras as a possible solution.
These are mirrorless with a digital shutter. And they have reported more than a million actuations with no problems. Take a look at the thread here:
I’ve not had a chance to try out this camera myself, yet. But it seems like a real contender and costs around $500.
I am also considering one of the Nikon 1 series cameras for my version of the project. The critical part for me was the ability to control the camera from a computer via gphoto2 library using a Raspberry Pi. Various reports that Google finds are mixed, it seems this should be do-able, but I guess the only way to find out would be to buy one. I’ll report back if I learn more, but right now my immediate focus is to build the frame and film advance mechanism first so it will take a while.
Previously, I tested the Raspberry Pi Camera for this purpose, adapted to M42 mount so that I could couple it with a CZJ Flektogon 35/2.4 lens + some macro rings. What I liked was the small sensor size of the 5Mpix Pi Camera, making it easy to achieve the desired magnification (in fact I could get to approx. 2x1 mm field of view without the need to reverse-mount the lens). I was also happy with the overall sharpness and image quality. The major drawback, though, was the inability to control exposure and white balance of the OV5467-based camera module. The controls implemented in the camera driver were very limited (there was exposure compensation and some white-balance modes, but it was impossible to achieve absolute/fixed exposure). Another problem was that the Pi camera was slow in the “still” mode, taking a second or two to measure exposure before taking a short.
What I like about Nikon 1 when compared to other mirrorless cameras is the small sensor size (small than the usual APS-C or micro 4/3) making it easier to achieve the magnification needed for the Super8 field.