Ipad Lightbox Film Scanner


Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
Ipad Lightbox Scanner

Needing a film scanner now that the old Veho scanner became rapidly defunct (& is now in the bin), I thought I’d have a go at making up a DIY scanner – as simply as possible & before investing in a New Scanner purchase

Considering the Limitations of cheap scanner sensor resolution I thought why not use my X10

Using ipad as a scanner lightbox – photos via X10 in macro 28mm then cropped
White image set to max brightness.

View attachment 100514

First is from a slide – reasonably encouraging from a hand held shot in macro
Slide mounted in Veho slide carrier

View attachment 100515

Second from a pinhole shot – laid flat on ipad – most discouraging

View attachment 100516

Third – from a colour negative roll mounted in a Veho film carrier – some shots were clear whereas others had the same matrix problem as the pinhole shot above

View attachment 100517

BW conversions even out the colour disparity

View attachment 100518

All shots exhibit the same white vignetting from film colour roll as happened on the Veho although marginally better its still not acceptable

Conclusion:- slightly better results from slides rather than film – just about OK if you are absolutely desperate but I think I’ll try another scanner


Aug 13, 2011
Sunny Frimley
Bill Palmer
This is really interesting. I've just been trying to scan some old (and I mean 80-100 year-old) family negs. I started with my HP flatbed printer/scanner and had limited success with my Sony Xperia 'phone and tablet (there is an app called "light" which does just that, but eats battery). I then tried to get my old lightbox to work - not used it for years since I stopped shooting slide. It was dead, so I bought an "Artists' light box" from Amazon. To be fair it's not designed for this - it is intended for tracing and the like - but it was too dim and hence useless. My current and most successful modus operandi is actually to put the negs up against my conservatory window and shoot them with my X-T1 and Olympus OM 50mm Macro lens.

Here's one:

Arthur 2 par Lightmancer, on ipernity
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Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
i think the ipad set up is useful enough to show if a photo is worthwhile using (can also be done in the evening of course) - Then I can get better professional scans done locally

The last batch of pinhole photos i did were scans off prints. Getting the prints done is fairly expensive. £6 for 24exp as opposed to £1 for develop only.
My local Tesco have changed to Max Spielman & the prints are average to poor so at least I'll be able to be more selective & make the money work better


Jan 2, 2011
Here's one:
Good enough for the web. If you're a LR user suggest you denoise using about 40% "color"/50% "detail"; leave the luminance NR at 0%

I've digitised most of my LF and MF negatives using my E-P2 with 90mm macro lens well stopped down. I get as good if not better results from that setup than if I use my crappy HP G4050, but then I have the advantage of a "proper" lightbox and a copy stand to mount it all on. A dSLR with bigger sensor/better noise would probably produce really excellent results.

If you're doing a lot though rather than the odd half dozen or a roll now and again, there's no substitute for a decent scanner.

A suggestion to improve the whateverPad lightbox would be to have a diffuser between whateverPad and negative - an opal Perspex offcut for instance; plenty of eBay plastics sellers will send you a "sample" that's good enough for a quid or so.


Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
yes Paul a diffuser would be useful - currently looking at a Tesco carrier bag - but I could contact a few plastics people for a sample

I have no loyalty to the ipad per se & could make my own small lightbox with a decent light maybe even use my old projector

Actually the big let down is the X10 as the macro is restricted to 28mm & has distortion.

99.999% of my film is 35mm


Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
update - tried a sheet of tracing paper as diffuser & its a great improvement almost eliminating the vignetting effect - obviously would be better with an even sheet of material which I will now seek out

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