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Why every Lomographer should use a Photoscanner

Today a scanner with transparency unit should be part of a Lomographer's standard equipment like the Lomo LC-A and a fridge full of films is.

But some Lomo-Beginners think they may save a lot of money by scanning just the prints with their cheap scanners. Sorry, but – your’re wrong! You will never see some of the pictures you have taken and you miss a lot of options the lomographic equipment offers you!
So here’s a small list of advantages a photoscanner has:

1. “Just develop!”
You won’t need the prints anymore ‘cause you scan from the photographic raw material: the film. That saves money!
Prints can be easily ordered from the internet – often even cheaper than prints from the lab. Also you can choose which pictures you wanna have and don’t have to take and buy all 36 of a film!

2. All controls
Lab-prints are always post-processed and digital manipulated by the photo lab – you will never see the original image if you don’t own a negative scanner. My x-pro films are always printed with extremely high contrast, let alone the adjusted colors. Get a filmscanner and you are able to scan the real picutres you have taken, with all their belles and faults (like the greenish color fog of the Fuji Sensia 200 or the red tones of Fuji Velvia 100).

3. All pictures or pictures at all:
Frequently my lab returned the developed roll but no prints to me because “something went wrong during the developing” – what caused crazy colors (that always happens when i take a roll of Sensia 100 to the lab). Or the lab gave me 28 pictures, but not containing the best shots of the film, like those two:

Photo by t0m7
Photo by t0m7

4. The whole image
The LC-A takes pictures in the dimensions 2×3. Most of us poor Lomographers choose the smallest print size (here it is 9×13 cm) to save some money per print.
But 9×13 is a different dimension that 2×3 – so the lab cuts off some parts of the picture. So i often had cutted heads and arms on the prints but full bodies on the scans.

5. No more fragmented films
When you have found a pro-lab that only develops your films but nothing more (that should be quite cheap) you may ask them to not cut but only develop your films. You will get back that whole 1,5 m long film and can cut it yourself. With special-format camera as the Spinner 360, Horizon or even the Fisheye you get uncommon negatives but the big labs automatically cut the developed negatives by machine. If your negatives are a bit longer or shorter they may cut the pictures and you loose some of your precious captures.

Photo by t0m7

7. More Cameras – more Options
With cameras as mentioned in the point before (Horizon, Spinner, …) you confuse the automatic developing and printing machines at the big labs. You won’t get any prints from them. If you scan the developed negatives by yourself you may bring the uncommon dimensions into a common size and print it by a cheap online lab.

Also you will be able to get prints from doubles, endless-panoramas, halfframes, overlapping images and sprockets – no auto-lab will ever do some prints of those!

8. Digilogue Pictures
At last you get digital data from your analog photos with a filmscanner. Some labs offer a scan-service, which – here in Austria – is prized with 5€ per film! (!!) But they only those pictures which are printed – again you will miss some of your shots and the scans will be lab-manipulated too.
Just think about the long-term-costs…

Now you have some good reasons to get a photoscanner and scan your pics from the negatives!
But just don’t run to the next supermarket and get a cheap (tower-looking) scanner!
Remember: Buy cheap, buy dear!
Get a big flatbed scanner for 150-200$ / € which can scan up to 12 frames per run, medium format, and does infrared scratch&dust-removal – you will be happy for the rest of your lomographic life!

10. Don’t worry about the rules
11. Scan you negatives!

written by t0m7


  1. disasterarea


    Totally agree, my Epson V700 was worth every penny!

    As for the digital scans you can get from a lab on a CD, often for an extra fiver? The last ones I got were tiny 150kb jpegs.
    Using my scanner I can work at 3200dpi (or higher if I like) and get the colors I WANT!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. sthomas68


    Best advice ever....

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. lighttomysoul


    as soon as I got money!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. natalieerachel


    I reaaaaally need one....I scan my prints and it's a pain.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. fash_on


    wish LSI would make a special scanner for us, please :)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. lakandula


    I hope to get one soon.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. superlighter


    agree! great article!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  8. vicuna


    I agree!! Every lomographer should be the master of his own scans!! :)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  9. vicuna


    @fash_on: I was thinking about the same idea after the launch of the Digitaliza... what about a lomography scanner specially made for our lomographic needs....? Well, could be a scanner made by Canon or Epson but badged Lomography and with some unique lomo-features like easy sprockets, x-pro and redscale scanning... ?????

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  10. kiwikoh


    I have one and I'm really save alot of money. Here in Singapore, get the lab scanning for you will cost about 5 SGD (roughly about 4 USD) per roll of film. This amount can actually buy another roll of film.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  11. kylethefrench


    yes it has changed my life

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  12. mariaratfingers


    great article, i've been TRYING to save for one but buying film and getting it developed and scanned is really taking all my money away! here in Argentina film is very expensive, but developing is even worse.. just today i payed 85 pesos (that's like 21 dollars!) for getting two rolls of film developed and scanned into a cd... no prints! it's insane, i need a scanner now!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  13. zoe191


    Excellent. I want my own scanner too.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  14. watttan


    thanks, nice article :)
    so any recommended model? canon or epson?

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  15. fash_on


    @vicuna, exactly :) also, I'd like it to be a bit more simple to use than my epson, I want it have a slot where I can feed my film into, like an ATM, then be able to scan edge to edge with 35mm or 120. Still dreaming of this :)))

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  16. eukanooba


    epson v500

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  17. jennson


    great article!!! how true! since month i´m thinking about that, but still not sure which one ..epson v700 (would be great for different formats, panoramas, sprocketholes,..) or reflecta proscan 4000 (if i find one, cause out of production, works only for 35mm normal format) which you can feed with your whole filmroll & scan the whole developed film automatically! Also think about getting silverfast to increase quality of my scans..

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  18. disasterarea


    The Epson V700 using Silverfast AI software creates amazing results, although it's an expensive combination. Have a look at my photostream for the results...

    ...especially this one which blew me away [Kodak Ektar 100 film]

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  19. clickiemcpete


    Absolutely! I've gained much more control over my images since I bought a scanner. Also, having the rolls developed only and not cut is the only way to go. I've tried taking shortcuts and saving time by having CDs made but I'm increasingly unhappy with the lab scans. The one exception is the LomoLabs service which has given me spectacular results! :)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  20. jennson


    Verry informative filmscanner test-reports: http://www.filmscann(…)richte.html

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  21. nural


    this was one of the best investments I made!! well not the hp, but the canon...

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  22. adi_totp


    :D yes!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  23. t0m7


    I use the Canon CanoScan 9000F and i'm really happy with it. Scans 35mm and 120mm in 1200dpi in 10 minutes (35mm) or less (120mm), infrared-scratch&dust removal (works so well), and you have enough control with it's programs (9000F comes with Silferfast for full scan control, and MP Navigator for more automatic scans with no need of adjusting all the settings by yourself). I think the Epson 700 may be even better, but for 200€/$ i would get a CanoScan 9000F again.

    btw: thanks for all your nice comments! :-)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  24. juditto


    you are absolutely right, great article.. ;)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  25. badjuju


    Great article! Ive already been looking at both the canoscan and the epsonv500. It costs me around $28 to just have my film developed and scanned here in Memphis.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  26. tatiana-p


    Totally agree ! I use the same that you t0m7, Canon Scan 9000F is a really good choice for the long term, you give a good advice

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  27. mikahsupageek


    Agreed, Canoscan 9000F FTW !!!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  28. parktreeone


    Yeah!!!! So true, oh my god I was so sick of the prints I was getting back from the labs, really bad correction and loads of shots missing, just not worth the cost if you really love your pics, plus a lot of the lomo effect can be stollen from your pics with the labs digital manipulation

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  29. esmimbo

    Today as apple launch the hellophoto app..i can scaned my negative everywhere
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  30. catherinejcruz


    dude! the guy in the lab i go to does the same thing. i actually instructed him the second time if he could print everything, as it is "experimenta.l" but sure enough...still only printed 5. i finally asked him if he can just put it in a CD. :/ now i have to wait 'til this wed since he's closed for 2 days. o_O i may try a different one soon.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  31. whoinvitedpigeon


    Great article, thanks. Already hunting for a scanner :)

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  32. matthannigan


    I use the Epson V500 with the Digitaliza 35mm and 120 masks. It's great. I recommend it to everyone who wants a decent neg scanner. It really does pay for itself very quickly. I get a roll of 120 processed for $5. If I got the film processed and printed it would be in the neighborhood of $15. Excellent article!

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  33. mythguy9


    Despite not being able to scan unconventional film formats (or even microclicks & holgaramas), I decided to use a "tower-looking" scanner as t0m7 has objected first. I'm out of my home country now, I guess I'll but the recommended Epson V500 later when I'm back. Good film record and keeping will let us scan later :-)

    I surely agree with all of you that we shouldn't waste our money on shops. Scanning is a physical print-making for me. Hopefully in the near future I can develop my own B&W and then scan it, doing the whole process by my own.

    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  34. aduvall1

    I got a Plustek 7600Ai and it has been great for my 35mm but I am looking for something for my medium format
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam
  35. itsdebraanne


    i wish i had the money. for the cost of all the film i've developed in the last year, i could have bought an elite photo scanner with a 8x11in transparency unit plus the Digitaliza scanning masks. deng -___-

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  36. itsdebraanne


    oh the irony...

    over 3 years ago · report as spam
  37. luxxx


    I have the Canon 9000F since yesterday .. can you recommend any presets for scanning Lomography 400 iso negative films? there are a lot of presets for film brands like Agfa, Kodak, Fuji etc., I was wondering if the Lomo negative film can be compared to any of those? what presets do you use?

    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  38. weedtweed


    I can never achieve the lab colours with a scanner. Any idea where I can find presets for the different films? Or any third-party software recommended for scanning? xoxo
    about 3 years ago · report as spam
  39. le_michi


    which scanner is the most recommended with a decent price for 35mm and 120?
    almost 3 years ago · report as spam
  40. t0m7


    Canon CanoScan 9000F or 8800F

    almost 3 years ago · report as spam

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