Magic Memories


where memories matter


What is a Slide Projector?

Introduction to the Slide Projector 

The slide projector have been around as a way of displaying photos or videos for almost as long as cameras. iPhone photographers could not have been imagined way back when these were made! Whether it’s a brand new state-of-the-art 4K home cinema projector, a Phantoscope from 1895, or a slide viewer, we’ll go over everything there is to know when trying to understand them or simply buying a slide projector for you to bring the cinema to your home and view photographs or 35mm slides!

What are Slides?

Have you ever considered how those tiny see through slides looked so great when magnified against your living room wall? The innovation of slide photography started with how it printed the image on the film. As opposed to negative film (this is where it inverts the photo’s colours when printing onto the film), slide photos use a different film processing technique. This is where transparent film keeps the colours the same you see. Most slide film bought worked out to be cheaper too since it often included the cost of developing. (You’d have to send it off to Agfa or Boots for example where they would chemically process it and return it ‘mounted’ – either cardboard or plastic and sometimes even glass!! Then you’d view them on a slide projector for old slides. Many artists these days love to create beautiful designs from these in fact. 

How to View Slides

When you insert a slide into a vintage projector, a bulb light lights up the area, shines beautifully through the film and then goes on to a lens. The lens itself corrects the the image by ‘flipping’ the image for you. The photo is also made bigger by the lens and is then projected onto a screen typically. The further away you are from the screen, the bigger the image. Focussing was done by the turning the focus ring.

Buying a Slide Projector For Old Slides

Buying an old projector is always tricky since they can often suffer from burnt out bulbs that were bespoke and cannot be replaced leaving you with a worthless little investment. Secondly mechanical failures are harder to fix since the skills needed are in short supply. You’ll also need to be careful to buy a slide viewer that does not have a working bulb that burns a hole in the slide! They were not as safety conscious as we are nowadays after all! If you overcome these pitfalls though it’s a great feeling mechanically projecting slides on a wall.

Large Old Slides

Let’s go back in time first. A mysterious, dusty old wooden box has just resurfaced from the depths of your attic. It’s simply caked in dust and appears to have not seen the light of day for many years. You take the lid off and unearth a collection of large old slides that have not been viewed by the family for ages! If you’re lucky, you it’s a magic lantern! This was a slide projector for old slides – something first created back in the 15th century! The main difference was that unlike slide projectors developed later that used photos, magic lanterns used images painted on glass. Magical! Having said this, most of the mechanical principles that the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens used still applied to latter day designs. Its always the same really – a light source, a lens and a see through image.

Large Amount of Slides

Viewing however is always best done by digitalisation. It’s safer too. Often also, the slides will have been kept in boxes or carousels for many years gathering dust and even mould. This raises the question of cleaning slides. Converting slides to digital will help stop the rot and make it easy to share the images too as it safeguards them for many years. The main laboratories that have processed slides have slowly disappeared now though. The best thing to do with these slides is to get them digitalised today with Supaphoto – No1 for Slide Preservation. You’ll then easily be able to share them with your family and safeguard them forever.

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