The DIY 50mm Lightbox Loupe

If you're getting back into film photography, you may have no idea where that wonderful loupe is hiding that you once used for viewing slides and negatives. Most likely it's stashed in a shoebox somewhere.

While you look for it - or while you lust after expensive German optics on the Internet - you can create a wonderfully sharp, bright viewing loupe with items that you already have: a 50mm lens and a rigid lens hood.

For this model, I used a Pentax-M 50mm f/2.0 prime lens with a lens hood designed for 35mm primes. Why this lens hood? Well, the biggest trick for this DIY project is getting the right amount of distance between the front of the lens and the lightbox. Too high, or too close, and you won't achieve that ultra-sharp view.

I played with a few different lens hoods, step-up rings, and protection filters before I found just the right height. And once I did, wow! This baby feels like an expensive professional loupe... and it  didn't ding my credit card.

I'm sure someday I'll find that trusty loupe from those early film years. It had better be pretty good, however, because this Pentax optic is making my negatives look extremely crisp and sharp.

-Derrick

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