Another dull weekend comes by, and you’re sitting at home. The weather is chilly, the kind that turns you away from carrying out any outdoor activities. To make matters worse, there’s nothing exciting to watch on your LED TV—not even a sporting event—to pass your time. As your mind wanders, pondering on what to do to make the day a little more exciting, you remember your old film reels taken by your vintage 35mm camera.
Since time immemorial, human beings have used photographs as a method of preserving the moments they savor the most. In the present-day era of digital cameras
and high-end smartphones, taking pictures is not a difficult task. However, years ago capturing these memorable moments was challenging, as one needed to own a camera. Further, unlike modern gadgets that store photos in digital format, the old-school cameras produced film reel colloquially known as ‘negatives’ which had to be passed through other machines to make them discernible to the human eye. These cameras have since been rendered obsolete, eclipsed by modern technology. As a result, if you still have film reels, turning them into visible pictures may require you to go an extra mile.
Well, you may not need to go so far. Thankfully, slide viewers are available in the market. With these gadgets, you’re able to relive the old moments through recreation of pictures from reels. Slide viewers are not a thing of present times, as they have existed from the 20th century. Nevertheless, like other devices, they have undergone massive technological advancements.
The market offers a myriad of options in this niche, making it a mind-boggling challenge to greenhorns looking to acquire a new product. Our excellent reviewers once again took their time to conduct an extensive analysis of the available options, picking out the cream of the crop, as usual. Indulge in this in-depth guide of ours, and once you’re done, you will be a guru when it comes to choosing the appropriate slide viewer!
Although we’ve featured five awesome slide viewers in this review, there are just so many great options out there that we didn’t have room for all of them! If you’re looking for a basic, low cost slide viewer for your 35mm 126 super slides, then you should check out the Pana-Vue 3 Slide Viewer
. Alternatively, if you want an all-singing-all-dancing-all-in-one slide viewer then you should take a peek at the Jumbl 22MP All-in-One Film & Slide Scanner
which has speed load adapters too.
Just like other electronics, slide viewers’ prices are heavily influenced by the integrated features. Typically, viewers that have superior specifications, such as the ability to convert analog photos to digital format, cost a fortune as compared to barebones, simplistic devices. Likewise, gadgets that generate professional-quality images tend to cost more than their basic counterparts.
As of now, slide viewers are available from $20, going up to $200, following the above-mentioned criteria. For satisfactory, all-round performances, we strongly recommend the premium-priced variants. Cheap slide viewers may compromise on several vital features, thus we suggest you keep away from them.
Built-in features are what separate various models of slide viewers from each other. For this reason, it’s imperative to be keen on the features, as they are the primary determinant of the product’s overall capability and competency.
A significant majority of interested parties look out for the following before shelling out cash on slide viewers:
- Type - Is it a mini slide viewer, a digital converter, or a folding sorter?
- Slide Size - What kind of slides can it accommodate? They can be ordinary 35 mm or multiple-sized reels.
- Display Info - This refers to the size of the output screen, which can be magnified. Some variants can be connected to TVs.
- Capacity – How many slides can be accommodated at a time? Many models accommodate one at a time, with only few possessing the ability to handle multiple pieces simultaneously.
- Weight - This is important, especially if you consider portability as a vital aspect.
With the required features in the bag, next in line is the performance of the desired product.
Construction and Design
Compact designs are the darling of many when it comes to slide viewers. Moreover, the fact that a significant portion are lightweight and easily portable serves their reputation well. Further, they can be placed on a tabletop or be handheld, making their usage applicable for a variety of scenarios.
The display profile of a slide viewer is perhaps its most vital feature. It’s the primary output source, hence its quality should be pristine. The screens of viewers can be split into broad categories: magnified and LCD. Magnified screens enlarge the picture, making it more visible. On the other hand, LCD screens integrate the latest technology, producing high-quality pictures. They, however, make the slide viewers costlier.
Performance and Ease of Use
Modern viewers are much more complex, capable of handling a variety of media, and hence they’re not limited to reveals. They’re a hybrid, adept at letting you view both old and current formats. Also, they are able to magnify pictures to larger scales or cast them to televisions, making them visible to multiple people in one sitting. Moreover, they offer converting services, allowing you to transform outdated analog formats to digital images.
To make the most of your slide viewer, you should be able to use it at any time. For this reason, we advise going for the backlit devices, as they are fully capable even in environments with limited lighting. This guarantees you continuous viewing, even in the night.
Everybody loves an adaptable device. Thus, to enjoy this unique capability, we encourage buying digital coveters. These advanced slide viewers not only allow you to relive old moments, but to immortalize them by converting them into digital formats that can be uploaded to the Cloud where they are stored eternally.
We looked at specialty photography and film brands that know the ins and outs of photo and slide technology, comparing the price of each slide viewer to find the best options in a variety of price ranges. Now that you have read through our guide, go ahead and find out about our top choices in more detail.
Consider how often you plan to use your slide viewer. For more frequent use, the higher-end models we chose will last longer even when handled often. You may also want a backlit model that makes it easy to view slides in any condition. Whatever you're looking for, these brands sell a range of options to fit your needs.