Film photography is as popular right now as it has been in years, which has made slide viewers relevant once again. Slide film (sometimes known as reversal film) creates positive images directly on the substrate. Once you develop the film and hold it up to the light, you see the finished photo instead of a negative. Slide film truly is magical and beautiful, but the images are small. You need a way to view them with magnification. The best slide viewers offer a convenient way to observe these images in all their glory.
- Best overall: KODAK Slide N SCAN Film and Slide Scanner
- Best budget: KODAK 35mm Slide and Film Viewer
- Best scanner: Epson V600
- Best for smartphones: KODAK Mobile Film Scanner
- Best light box: LitEnergy Rechargeable Battery Powered Tracing Light Box
Things to consider when shopping for the best slide viewers
Before we get to the specific recommendations, there are a few features and terms you should understand. Here are some essential considerations and definitions to help you find the best slide viewers.
Analog vs. digital
You don’t need a digital sensor to view a slide. During the old film days, people would simply put the slides onto a light box and view them with a magnifying loupe. There are still analog slide viewers that rely on magnifying glasses and a source of illumination.
More common, however, are digital viewers, some of which also include scanning functionality. Digital viewers are still simple to use.