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How to Turn a Portable Scanner Into a Digital Back for Large Format Cameras

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Sean from Fotodiox has created a fun step-by-step guide that will show you how to turn any portable scanner into a 4×5 digital back for large format cameras. DIY lovers, get your tools ready, this is both simple and effective.

The original idea came from prolific Instructables user Randy Sarafan, who posted his own guide on creating a scanner-back for large format cameras about a year ago. Sean altered and simplified Sarafan’s build by choosing to grind the actual glass of the scanner so that it can display the image to be scanned. He then added a 5×7 fresnel sheet on top of the newly-ground glass cover, attached the scanner to the back of his CameraDactyl 4×5 camera, and… that’s it.

The whole process takes only a few easy steps, and if you have a large format camera available to you, it’ll only cost you a couple of hundred dollars at most to buy the scanner, silicon carbide grinding powder, the fresnel sheet, and a roll of duct tape.

Check out the full step-by-step guide up top to find out how you can do something like this for yourself, and see the kinds of images that Sean was able to capture while shooting with his new creation. It’s not perfect—it’s low res, limited to shooting monochrome(ish) images, and the texture of the ground glass shows up in every shot–but it’s a fun DIY project that produces some unique images, and makes it possible to capture the “large format look” much more easily.

(via ISO 1200)

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