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Scanning 120 Film with the Lomography Film Scanner

Lomography’s new film scanner is a brilliant device specifically designed for quick scanning of 35mm film. For those of you who share my love for medium format, let me show an easy way to use the film scanner for 120 film scanning.

Ever since I pledged for the film scanner kickstarter campaign I have been looking forward to receiving the scanner. Yesterday was my lucky day! As soon as the box arrived I started playing with my new toy. Never having scanned my own negatives, I quickly discovered this is not an easy task. Getting a realistic positive from a color negative requires software knowledge that I lack. Luckily, Lomography is not going to let us hang out to dry, as I am writing this, they are feverishly working on a marvelous app that will make scanning and converting negatives easy as pie!

As I wasn’t willing to sit idly by, waiting for the Lomography scanning app to be released, I decided I should try scanning some black and white images. That should be easier, right? Problem was I didn’t have any 35mm BW negatives at hand, only a recently developed 120 film I shot with my Lubitel 2. A quick glimpse at the film scanner confirmed what I already knew: this device was not made to work with anything other than 35mm film. Yet, there is a solution! That is, if you are the owner of an iPad or any other flat surfaced with a diffused light source.

This is what you do if you have an iPad:

  • Install the free film scanner lite app on your iPad,
  • Run the app and select to use it as a lightbox,
  • Lay a strip of 120 film on your ipad,
  • Put a card board mask on the film (this will help prevent scratching of the film),
  • Remove the bottom layer of your film scanner,
  • Put the scanner on top of the negative/mask,
    And there you go.

An important tip: don’t align the scanner with your iPad. Rather, orient the scanner at a 45 degree angle (see the photos above). This will eliminate the light interference you will otherwise get. Check the pictures below and you’ll see what I mean.

No light interference
Lots of light interference

Here are some of the images I scanned this way. As these are the first photos I made with an old Lubitel I recently bought, I am very happy with the results, both of the scanner and the camera!

written by sandravo


  1. adi_totp


    woooooww! great great tips!!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  2. nickyxie

    You wanna use a retina display iPad. Otherwise you'll get the pixels of screen in your scanned film.
    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  3. evagaresp


    bravo!!!! so useful!!!!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  4. npkishi


    wow!! clever!!!!! I'll try!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  5. sandravo


    @adi_totp, @nickyxie, @evagaresp, @npkishi - Thanks for your comments! Glad you like the idea ;-)

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  6. rickricardu


    F***king Yeah! I had some 120 to digitalize!
    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  7. popboogie


    whaaaatttt! i'm gonna try this with my ipad righ away! thanks for the awesome tip :)
    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  8. biblicalshower


    Thanks for the tip. I might try a homemade version with my tablet and some cardboard in place of the Lomoscanner. Maybe putting a sheet of tracing paper or thin white paper over the tablet screen might help with issues with pixels.

    Although I still don't know why they didn't make a film scanner that can handle BOTH 35mm and 120 seeing as they have the Holgas, Lubi 166+, Diana, and Bel-Air on sale. Other than to make more money for themselves releasing a separate 120 scanner or an 120 'add-on' for the scanner later on.

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam
  9. sandravo


    @biblicalshower - I tried with paper before, but that didn't work too well. The paper doesn't transmit light evenly, seems cloudy. What does work very well however, is milky white acrylic plastic, about 3mm thick. Makes things a lot easier and the results better!

    almost 2 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 日本語, Deutsch, Nederlands & Spanish.