How to use an Android device as a light box for slides

Today a small how to for photographers and enthusiasts in need for a light box to view slides (transparencies) or old photo negatives. Semi professional photographers own a light box (or a light table) to view slides. But you can use your android smartphone or tablet pc for this purpose.


Recently I was in need to digitalize some slides for my (German) Japan blog. My old HP Scanjet 4470C-Scanner with an adapter to scan slides has been out of order due to lack of Windows 7 WIA drivers. In normal cases I use a slide projector, to draw the slides to a shoe box covered with a white paper sheet. Then I use a digital camera, to that a photo of the projected slide. But that is time consuming, I need to unpack the slide projector within a dark room, and take my digital camera on tripod. My idea was, to use a smartphone and an app, to use it as a light table (light box) for my slides, and take a digital camera to create digital copies of my slides. For web publishing the resolution should be good enough  …

I found the Android app Lightbox

LightboxSearching Google Play Store, I finally found the app Lightbox from SeanR Software. The app promises to control the display of an android device as a white screen – light table, or flashlight. The app provides a full screen white display with a slider to adjust screen brightness. There is a free version of this app, so I gave it a test run. It's sufficient to launch the app on your Android device and place a slide on your devices display.

Lightbox - for slides

You can use the slider to adjust the brightness. To view slides (transparencies) or photo negatives, it's sufficient. But my initial idea to use the Android device a a light table and take a digital camera to digitalize the old photos wasn't possible. The display of an Android device is causing a fine grid, and also the photo sensor of a digital camera is build as a grid of pixel. This is causing Moiré patterns within the digital image, so the result is useless.

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2 Responses to How to use an Android device as a light box for slides

  1. Anthony says:

    Placing a diffuser between the phone screen and the slide should eliminate the phone's grid pattern and the moire.

  2. Gwynn says:

    Hallo Anthony, what kind of diffuser are you using?

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