Make a Super Simple Smartphone-to-SLR Adapter Using an Extra Eyepiece


This weird looking contraption is a homemade adapter that lets you shoot digital photographs with a smartphone through the viewfinder of an SLR. Photographer Michael Amos built it a couple of years ago using a camera eyepiece and a smartphone case.

Amos tells us that he simply needed a way to capture some metadata (specifically geotag info) while shooting with his 35mm film camera. This could also be used as a system for keeping track of when photos were shot, and as a live view screen for shooting with a film camera away from your face.



Taking a hard-shell 2-piece phone case, he hot glued a compatible eyepiece onto the case so that when it’s mounted to the smartphone, the eyepiece is centered over the phone’s camera lens.


The adapter works well, but has a couple annoyances. One is that the smartphone’s focusing system often hunts and defocuses when peering through the viewfinder. Another is that any markings on your focusing screen (e.g. a split prism) will show up in your resulting photographs. If you’re actually planning to use the resulting photos for anything more than the metadata they contain, you’ll probably want to pick up a plain focusing screen that doesn’t add anything to the scene.

Here are some smartphone photographs captured through Amos’ SLR using this adapter:







You can find more (and larger) “product” and sample photographs in this Flickr set.

P.S. If you tuned in last Friday, you might remember that a new company called Badass Cameras is currently trying to create a similar adapter for medium format cameras.

Image credits: Photographs by Michael Amos and used with permission

  • Stewart Doyle

    Actually, a good idea. 99% of the time these smartphone/slr mashups just irritate the hell out of me, but this leaves both devices intact, and adds a useful feature – geotagging etc, to 35mm. Also makes a somewhat okay liveview mode I guess?

    At any rate, cool idea!

  • Matthew Wagg

    I can’t see the point. If you want to geotag just take a shot with your phone. Then take the real shot with the camera.

  • Rabi Abonour

    I think your last two words basically hit the nail on the head – this is pretty fun. Do I see it being useful to the work I do? Probably not. Do I see easier ways to keep track of geolocation of photos? Definitely. But the photos are fun.

  • kassim

    Wow, that just solved the problem of slow LV!

  • Nathan Blaney

    I could see it being a very cheap way to put specialty lenses to use on the iPhone. Not everyone uses the iPhone to create “real” work, but some of us do. Other people simply like to tinker with stuff and see what they can construct. This guy seems like that type.

  • fahrertuer

    Intriguing idea.
    I just wonder how useable the retrofitted “Live View” would be in the real world.

  • kb

    Great idea, but hot glue is the wrong adhesive…it won’t last. Epoxy has a better chance.

  • Somelamer

    Why not get a camera with wifi features instead?

  • Monteraz

    This is definitely fun, and so it is hard to understand by some people.

  • delayedflight

    Because you can’t get a film camera that has wifi.

  • TinusVerdino

    Nice creative work. Replace the focussing screen by a clear one though. Also this shows the crappy dynamic range phones have.

  • Erik Lauri Kulo

    With the smartphone’s cameras becoming better and better, this seems like a real direction for cameras. Just houses you mount your smartphone is – I feel like this idea is onto something great.

  • Vin Weathermon

    Somewhat interesting if you still had film cameras and wanted some kind of live view; but since it isn’t exposure simulated (like Polaroids) it wouldn’t do much that looking thru the eyepiece would do. BUT…for film makers who want footage simulating looking through a scope….excellent.