Introduction: Camera Phone Tricks

About: We celebrate creativity on the southern Oregon coast at our store, the Electric Hospital, and outdoors where we enjoy the wonders. We might be sewing with a long arm robotic quilting machine in the morning and…

I have accumulated some great cameras and lenses and have thousands of recorded images. However I never seem to be satisfied and always search for the next best gear. This is a step backwards instead of going higher tech I went for simpler use.

It has been said the best camera is the one you have with you. That makes my iPhone often my best camera. The truth is even if it does not have all the controls of your DSLR it is still a reasonable camera. I have used it to capture images through a telescope and to digitize thousands of old 35mm slides. The ease of use for focus, zoom, and light levels make it a simple tool.

I am amazed at the video possibilities, the barge is miles away and the Steller Sea-lions are 100 yards away. You can improve your cell phone when you couple it to a monocular or a slide viewer.

Step 1: Digiscope Materials

The concept is to build a bracket that holds the camera lens in the proper position to simulate where your eye would be on the monocular.

I used some scraps around the shop.

$5 tripod from a garage sale

Old book end

Bulldog clip

!/4 20 wing nut

2 paddle clips

2 5/16 self tapping bolts

scraps of foam

Step 2: Digiscope Construction Process

Dimensions are not included as it will depend on the size of your phone and if it has a case.

Using one side of the book end set on its side mount the monocular with the paddle clips and bolts.

On the other side drill a hole to mount to the tripod with the wing nut.

Fold the lower edge (note this is with the book end on its side) up to support the phone, Note I nibbled out the left side to allow the buttons to be adjusted.

Fold the upper edge to hold the top of the phone. Note again I nibbled the top edge to allow the buttons to be pushed.

My bracket had the lower edge folded out 1/4' and up 1/4". The gap is 1 3/4"
The upper portion of the bracket was 3 1/4" high and the top edge was folded over 1/4"

Step 3: Adjust

Adjust the position of the phone to center the image in the screen.

Glue foam to your bracket to help you remember the best spot for alignment of the camera and eye piece.
Attach the phone to the bracket with the Bulldog clip.

Once centered you can zoom in adjust the light and even do video. If you want to shoot pictures the switch on the ear buds can be used as a shutter release. Another option is to set the camera up for a delayed picture to reduce camera shake when pushing the shutter button.

Step 4: Slide Copier / Digitizer

Over the past half century you can accumulate too many memories saved on slides. Being able to

digitally copy thousands of slides to share is fantastic.. This video goes back over 50 years..

From parts around the shop I crafted a device that worked great.

Old manual slide viewer

Scraps of wood

$5 led lamp

Aluminum foil

Black felt


Step 5: Scrap Box

Using wood from an old dresser I crafted a heavy wooden box. Dimensions will vary with your phone and viewer. The reason for making it heavy is to reduce the shake from pushing the shutter button.

Base is 14" by 5 1/2"

Height is 6 1/2"

The slot for the phone is 3 1/8" wide and 1/4" thick and 9" deep

The support for the slide viewer was cut to make the eyepiece flush with the bottom of the phone. That would be the bottom of the slot for the phone The support for my phone and viewer was 2 1/8" by 2 1/8".

Step 6: Illumination

To provide a diffused light and not be dependent on changes in ambient light attach aluminum foil to reflect the led lamp light up into the viewer. To block light from entering the edges wrap the edges in black felt and attach with tape.

Step 7: Adjust View

Adjust the position of the eye piece and camera lens so the edges of the slide are visible. Cropping of the image and the light levels can be adjusted on the screen. This set up allows about 20 slides a minute to be copied. Post editing was done after the slides were copied.

Photography Contest 2017

Participated in the
Photography Contest 2017