MF Stereo Viewer with Cabin Light Panel
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MF Stereo Viewer with Cabin Light Panel

Variable brightness battery pack.

Click here for bigger cross-eyed stereo view.

The Cabin Light Panel (Model CL-5000P) is a thin battery powered 5000K light panel. The lighted area is 4x5" and it operates from four AAA alkaline cells or an optional 6VDC wall adapter. Battery life is rated at 2.5 hours.

The light source is a single cold cathode fluorescent tube, but through good optical engineering the surface is remarkably evenly lit.

I paid $99 CDN for mine on sale and I have read that the panel is sold by New York discount stores for around $75 US.

Click here for bigger cross-eyed stereo view.

Click here for bigger cross-eyed stereo view.

I attached the Light Panel to my MF stereo viewer using two 2.5" right angle brackets from the hardware store. The tops of the brackets were covered with two layers of white heat shrink to protect the Light Panel from scratches and make a nice tight fit.

The lighted area is just big enough to cover the opening at the back of my viewer. If the panel moves to either side you can get a dark area at the edge of one side. The present brackets are tight enough to prevent movement.

I taped up the top area of the Light Panel that sticks above my viewer with the 3M silver polyester tape to stop the light from shining in your eyes.

I wanted it to be removable to use it for other things, including a full frame 35mm viewer that I have on the back burner. Also, I store my MF stereo slides in photo album pages and the Light Panel can be placed underneath the page, making it easy to preview the slides before pulling them from the page.

My friend Russ trimmed the back of my viewer down on his bandsaw so that the Light Panel is a bit closer to the slide (with the diffuser removed you could see the side walls of the viewer if you shifted your eyes over). It is now about 1/4" shorter than it used to be.

The results are wonderful. My dual halogen bulb system was pretty good, but required four C-cell NiCds to power it. The light was fairly even due to a thick plexiglas diffuser but the Cabin Light panel is more even.

Viewing at home with the halogen bulbs wasn't a problem, but at the office (with fluorescent lighting) or outdoors the light was much to orangey. The 5000K daylight colour temperature of the Light Panel is wonderful. And doesn't cause any odd colour casts like using an ordinary fluorescent tube (even a so called daylight one).

Summary: if $75 US isn't too much money for you, you might want to get one.

See the schematic of my 6V/4.8V switchable battery pack to have two brightness levels.

Read about Viewer Brightness and battery life.

See a photo of my viewer with the previous lighting method.

See an older version of my Medium Format stereo viewer (on Robert Thorpe's page. With specs.).
(It uses rubber grommets for the lens holders.)

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