There are all sorts of tricks you can use in iOS (Accessibility, for example) to view film negatives — the kind you got when you developed a roll of film shot with your analog camera — on your Apple mobile device. But now, a 99-cent app saves some thumb fiddling to let you easily view negatives straightforwardly — if you have a light table.
It might seem like a stretch, but that light table could be an iPad, or even your desktop or laptop monitor set to a white background.
Light Table Loupe, a universal app released today, runs on iOS 8 and will load on both your iPhone and iPad. Use one of its three modes to get a white light-table background to place your negative on and use the other to actually view the negative.
I set my iPad to Light Box Mode, and on my iPhone chose Negative mode and hovered the phone over the iPad until I saw the negative strip on the screen. It might take a few seconds for the image to stabilize, You can double tap to zoom to 1:1 or view at fit-in-view size. You can also invert the image to see a “proof” or use it to view transparencies straight up.
The app is not a camera and will not directly photograph your negative — though you can take a screenshot if you need a quick and dirty record of what you saw. The app is also not a scanner replacement, but merely a viewer that gives you some extra added detail about the composition of a shot to identify images you may want to work with or save.
It would be nice if the app actually could shoot the negative or proof though, the way the iPhone camera can using the volume controls with the screen set to invert. That would make the app more valuable. But for saving time and trouble, and the quality of the proof, the app is worth my 99 cents.