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:
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.
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!