Is there real time/instant negatives viewer, i.e. one where you can slide into or place a negative onto its sensor and preview the results via a screen or in a window of software on an attached computer desktop? (Budget up to say around 75$/100pounds).

I ask because there are many negatives scanners but it would appear that they are operated by push button scan and you view the result afterwards - either via an attached computer or if standalone, via a built-in screen.

Fine, but the whole scan-then-view process seems slow to me, especially when you may not want to keep the negative, and want to quickly move onto the next. The scan-then-view negative generates a file for each scan that you would have to delete, more steps.


This one doesn't scan first - it's essentially a 5MP webcam with a light and negative holder. I've used it myself; it's not earth-shattering but does a fairly decent job for the price.

  • +1 This is closest to what I'm looking for: the spec is very clear about that: "Hi-Speed preview (1~3 Seconds)" – therobyouknow May 31 '11 at 15:41
  • Yes, that time is essentially how long it takes for it to adjust the exposure based on the particular frame - the image is 'live' on screen. – ElendilTheTall May 31 '11 at 15:57
  • Accepted answer for the spec. I'll also consider those android apps I mentioned on the same page. When I consider it further, I'm likely to want to use the equipment to check negatives against photos and if there aren't any negatives that aren't printed as photos then I will dispose of them and then scan in the photos. Slowly moving old stuff into the digital era. – therobyouknow Jun 2 '11 at 7:51
  • To clarify, it's a quick checker tool to see if there are any negatives that I want to keep that aren't already printed as pics. My end goal is to have scanned in the existing photos and have disposed of them and any additional negatives that weren't already printed as pics. So that I don't need physical storage space to keep the material. – therobyouknow Jun 2 '11 at 8:04

I've never seen a product like that and I would be absolutely amazed to find it at the price point you're talking about it - even used, low-end neg scanners come out past the $300 mark.

The only thing that I can think of that could work like this would be a slide-reproduction lens/aparatus - a macro lens + negative strip holder. Maybe a custom profile to deal with color inversion? Hook the camera up to a tethered computer or even a TV set and have at it.

Outside of that, if speed is your main concern, I would recommend you look at a used Epson Perfection scanner, one that can take a full set of neg strips and scan them into one image. Invert and add curves and you can look at an entire strip in a few minutes.

Or, you could, you know... just use a magnifying glass and light box.

  • I already have an old USB 1.1 Epson Perfection 1200 (rave reviews at the time 1998/1999 I think) with light adapter for slides (And negatives). But that is the scan-then-view cycle I want to avoid. But yes I could use it. – therobyouknow May 31 '11 at 15:41
  • negative viewer on android - this shows the camera input as negative images - presumably applying negative to an already negative image would change it back? I'll let you know if it works androidzoom.com/android_applications/media_and_video/… also Qik is a webcam app for android, perhaps this could be extended to show negatives as the intended photo. The other thing to do would be to successfully setup the negative on an evenly and purest white as possible illuminated background for the phone to pick up,also consider the size of the image and the camera macro – therobyouknow May 31 '11 at 15:47

There is also an iphone app designed for this purpose called "Positron". It will give you a quick idea of what's on the negative. All you need for it to work is a backlight.


Do you have a cheapish digital compact with "macro mode"? Here is a short description on using a neg holder and a compact to quickly make "digital contact prints".


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