My dad passed recently and I would like a way to memorialise him and his photos.

He was an avid photographer and never left home without his camera. The one I remember from growing up was an Asahi Pentax SP1000

My idea is to have some of his iconic and favourite photos loaded onto an SD card and to be able to look through them much like an old viewmaster toy except digital.

My thoughts are that I could put a display at the front or back of an empty or fake lense housing. e.g. enter image description here

Either point A or point B

I could hide the arduino, and battery either in the lense or camera body and run wires to the lense

The issue I am having is focusing, with the lense removed all I can see through the view finder is a blur of colour. So I am wondering the best way to solve this? Would a pinhole lense at point A work to view a screen at B? Or is there something within the housing which is introducing the blur that I could remove?

I'm not worried about stopping the camera from taking photos but I'd like to keep it as intact as possible.

  • 1
    Cool idea! @KaiMattern's answer is correct, and the good news is that the focusing screens (the translucent screen) of many film cameras were designed to be interchangeable (usually by a technician, though in some cases even by the end user). Access is usually via the top of the camera (see here). In the best case scenario you might be able to just swap that screen for the display (though differences in thickness etc. may require some adjustments). – Kahovius Sep 11 '20 at 12:31

If you set an lcd screen in the place of the translucent viewfinder screen, this should do the trick. The lens itself is not needed. You already have the images in the desired size and sharpness.

You could test this by placing an old negative onto the translucent screen and see if that appears sharp if you shine some light through the lens.

If that works, you know what size LCD you need. If that is backlighted, you might be done already for the display component.

  • This is amazing, thank you. I will give it a try, My only worry is my eye not being able to focus on the screen at that short of a distance – Oliver Sep 11 '20 at 13:05
  • @Oliver I think Kai is assuming you want to view the photos via the camera's viewfinder, which is designed to allow you to focus on the viewscreen. – Michael C Sep 11 '20 at 13:21
  • @Oliver, if I could offer a more explicit explanation: while the user is focussing there will be an image projected onto the translucent screen between the mirror and mirror/pentaprism. The function of the mirror/pentaprism is to correct the apparent orientation of that image. There is a lens at the back of the viewfinder, between the mirror/pentaprism and the user's eye. In some models of camera either the translucent screen or the entire viewfinder may be removed and replaced by something else, I suggest you research exactly the capabilities of the camera you've got before taking it to bits – Mark Morgan Lloyd Sep 11 '20 at 19:33

I'd like to keep [the camera] as intact as possible.

Looks like you've already accepted Kai Mattern's answer. I don't know the camera in question or, whether it's focusing screen was intended to be user replaceable. (With some high-end SLRs you can swap different screens in and out, while with others, you're stuck with whatever screen was built-in.)

But anyway, Here's an alternative idea. Find a slide copying attachment that fits the camera. A slide copier basically is a macro lens that has a slide holder fixed at the plane where the lens focuses on it. If you could rig a small, back-lit LCD screen in the slide holder or, in place of the slide holder, then problem solved...

Maybe you could find a suitable-sized display that would work with a Raspberry Pi...

  • Not a bad idea actually. The lense for the particular camera is too expensive to be practical but I could potentially modify one for a different camera and then encase it all in a fake camera lense. Thanks. – Oliver Sep 14 '20 at 8:37

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