If you have an old or broken flatbed scanner lying around and gathering dust, a neat thing you can do is convert it into a cheap, do-it-yourself lightbox for viewing negatives and slides. Photo-enthusiast James Wilson did this as a weekend project:
It was a simple process; gut the scanner, hook up a light fixture inside it, and paint the inside of the glass white. Total cost was around ten bucks for the light fixture, wiring, and paint. [#]
You can read Wilson’s writeup here. There are also some additional photos over on Flickr.
This was one of my weekend projects (via Lifehacker)
Did you know that reading glasses can be used as a cheap macro lens for your camera phone? Make reader Sean Lee discovered this neat hack and wrote a short tutorial on the technique.
If you need some quick white balancing for whatever reason, and don’t have a white balance card or Expodisc handy, you can try using a standard coffee cup lid. Photographer Steve Bennet always has some lids lying around in his car, and found that they work as rough white balancing tools.
To use, I set the focus to infinity, place the cap over, then set the custom WB. I dont even need to hold it as it fits nicely inside my lens hood, but that is just a lucky coincidence.
Of course, this won’t deliver perfect results that rival professional tools, but if you’re not shooting RAW and need a quick approximation, you might want to give this a shot.
Image credit: Emergency Exposure Disc by Steve Bennet and used with permission
Remember the 102-year-old lens experiment we shared a week ago? Daire Quinlan did something similar — he combined his grandfather’s 6×9 Pocket Kodak lens from 1920 (90 years ago) with homemade bellows to create his own tilt-shift lens to play with. Unlike Timur Civan, who used his 102-year-old lens on a 5D Mark II, Quinlan used his frankenlens with a Nikon film camera.
Here’s a “duh” idea that might not have crossed your mind: you can use your iPad as a portable light table by displaying a blank page on the browser. Might be useful for those of you who are thinking of doing some printing in your bathroom or something.
Of course, you can use a cellphone too for things like 35mm negatives, but an iPad is much more similar to a portable light table. This idea is courtesy of photographer Dalton Rooney, whose free WordPress theme for photogs we featured a while back.
Image credit: Photograph by Dalton Rooney and used with permission
Hong Kong photographer Lok Cheung found that manual focusing his Olympus E-P1 Micro Four Thirds camera was a pain because it lacked an electronic viewfinder (EVF). He then discovered that attaching a Rollei TLR viewfinder to the camera provided a makeshift EVF:
The result is really good. Although the LCD on E-P1 is not in very high resolution and you can see every single pixels with the Rollei viewfinder, manual focus is almost as fast as you can get on a true manual camera, and the viewfinder is almost directly behind the lens which even closer to SLRs and rangefinder.
LCD viewfinder attachments already exist for DSLR systems, and help make focusing easier and more precise by magnifying the LCD screen and blocking out sunlight. Using a film viewfinder to do this for an Olympus E-P1 is pretty clever.
Image credits: Photographs by lok cheung