The other day I got some films developed but they had been kicking around for a while so I honestly didn’t know what was on them. Also I had taken them on a camera that hadn’t been used in 20 years so I wasn’t sure how accurate the shutter speeds and aperture settings had been…basically for all I knew it could be an entire roll of largely over or under exposed film.
I took them to a lab just off Oxford street and at the slightly surprising cost of £6 each I got them developed. However since I didn’t know if any of the shots would be worth having I didn’t want to spend another £12 per roll getting high definition scans made.
Anyway a short bit of googling showed me the basic operations of a slide viewer and how people used to make one that fitted to a camera so they could duplicate images.
I figured that my iPhone has an 8MP camera and would be more than clear enough to see if any of the images were worth having so I set off to the local supermarket to find the bits I would need.
Essentially you need to know what the minimum focal distance of your lens is. For the iPhone it is around 10cm. So I found a square transparent package of jubilee clips aprox 12.5cm tall and 6×6 in footprint.
I grabbed a roll of black electrical tape, a small battery powered led lamp (the kind you stick on the wall or use for camping) and finally I bought a box of persil washing capsules.
The assembly is easy but requires a craft knife and a steady hand. I removed one end of the box and cut a small 1cm square hole in the centre. And the other end I removed a larger square which went almost to the edge of the lid.
Then cutting a portion from the side of the persil box (which is a semi transparent plastic with a look similar to ground glass) I made an insert to replace the large square I had just removed from the bottom of the container.
Then I replaced the two end caps and marked how far into the package they went. then using a craft knife again I cut a small oblong opening on each side at the bottom with would allow the film to pass over my ground glass surface but without letting in extra light.
Once the openings were all made I covered the entire container in black electrical tape to make sure to remove any ambient light.
Then the small LED lamp is placed inside the up-turned persil box and turned into a diffused light source. The view is then placed on top of that and essentially that is it!
The iPhone sits on top with the lens lined up with the opening, film is passed across the bottom and the camera is able to capture it in perfect focus.
Then using the PS express app on my iPhone I cropped and inverted the image to create the finished product.
In all I think the materials cost me £8 and I ended up with a reusable scanner and a large supply of washing capsules and jubilee clips which will no doubt come in useful at some stage!