How to Make a Homemade Slide Copier

Written by mark spowart
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How to Make a Homemade Slide Copier
You can build a slide copier with materials found in your home. (photography image by peejay from

Most photographers have at sometime experimented in shooting slide film. While more costly than traditional film, slide film was known for its accurate colour reproduction. Commercial slide and film scanners are available for purchase, however if you own a digital camera you can easily build a slide copier with materials in your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Shoebox
  • Scissors
  • Digital camera
  • Macro lens
  • Tripod
  • Piece of translucent material, glass or plastic
  • Duct tape
  • Small table or desk lamp with shade
  • Compact fluorescent bulb
  • slides

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  1. 1

    Cut two holes in the shoebox. The first hole will be in the centre of the lid of the shoebox and should be slightly smaller than the actual slide. The slide needs to rest over the hole without falling through. The second hole will be in the centre of the bottom of the box. This hole should be slightly larger than the top of the lamp shade that it will rest on.

    How to Make a Homemade Slide Copier
    Use a shoebox for your homemade slide copier. (empty brown box image by nTripp from
  2. 2

    Attach the translucent glass, plastic or material diffuser to the inside of the shoebox lid over the rectangle hole you just made. Use duct tape along the sides to hold the diffuser in place.

  3. 3

    Place the shoebox on top of the lamp shade. The hole you cut in the bottom of the shoebox should allow it to rest on top of the shade. Use a compact fluorescent bulb in the lamp. These bulbs do not get as hot as traditional bulbs. Place the lid on the shoebox and position the first slide you want to photograph.

    How to Make a Homemade Slide Copier
    Use a common lamp with a compact fluorescent bulb as your light source. (night lamp / bed lamp image by Sid Viswakumar from
  4. 4

    Attach your camera to the tripod. Set the camera white balance to fluorescent, and if your camera has the capability to shoot in "raw" mode, switch the camera to that setting. Shooting in "raw" mode will give you more options for editing and colour correction if needed. If your camera has a built-in flash, make sure it is turned off.

    How to Make a Homemade Slide Copier
    Use a tripod to position the camera over top of the shoebox. (silhouette of camera image by Richard J Thompson from
  5. 5

    Position the camera over the shoebox and fill the viewfinder with as much of the slide as possible. It may take some adjustments to get the right position.

  6. 6

    Turn on the light and start shooting.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are using a digital single lens reflex camera, use a 50mm lens. This focal length has short distance focusing capabilities and offers good perspective for duplicating slides. Try different ISO and shutter speeds to achieve the best results.
  • While there is enough distance between the top of the lamp shade and the lid of the shoebox, turning off the lamp between each picture you take will prevent the lid of the shoebox from becoming hot.

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