Photographer Cecil Williams of Orangeburg, South Carolina, wanted a faster way to digitize 2,000 of his negatives, so he invented a new system called the FilmToaster. It’s a $1,699 box that lets you digitize most popular film formats using your digital camera.
“I got to thinking about it. I said, ‘Well, with today’s digital cameras, why not take a picture of (the negatives)?’,” Williams tells The Times and Democrat. “My product does it faster [than a flatbed scanner] and with higher resolution. […] if I take a 24- or 36-megabyte camera, I’ve then got a 24- or 36-megabyte copy of my negative. The more resolution, the higher the quality of it.”
Williams calls his FilmToaster “the world’s first multi format film duplicator.” The side of the metal box has 5 slots that accept carriers for a wide range of formats: 35mm strips, 35mm slides, medium format (120, 220, 2-1/4″, 645, 6×7, 6×9), and large format.
You can use any DSLR or mirrorless camera for the digitization, as the system connects to all macro or closeup lenses using 52mm-72mm connectors.
Inside the box is a battery-operated 5000K LED light source that illuminates your film for consistent results. Each negative can be photographed in about 5 or 6 seconds, saving time over conventional flatbed scanners.
Williams has reportedly sold 63 FilmToasters over a period of 5 months recently, and is currently working on obtaining a patent for his invention.