Taking the Lomography Film Scanner Out for a Spin!

2013-02-14 6

Checking out the new Lomography Film Scanner!

Hello Lomofriends! Herbasaurus from Seattle, here. I recently got the chance to try out the new Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner! You have already heard and seen some of the amazing things that this handy little device can do, so I am writing just to share my experience with the scanner.

Credits: herbasaurus

In my little review, I used an Iphone 4 and an HTC Thunderbolt. Please take note that I just inverted the negatives. I have not played around with any of the color or contrast. These were the only two camera phones I had on hand to use, and I wish I could have tried out a variety of different cameras. I am sure there is a review on the app somewhere, so I wanted to show you how to use the film scanner without the little app. (As of writing of this article, an app for Android phones is currently being developed or maybe it is already done, yikes, I should have finished this article more quickly!) Regardless, with the app or not, you can use this handy film scanner.

First you will need to obtain a few items:

  • Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner
  • Phone with a camera on it
  • Developed film negatives
  • Basic photo editing software (I used Gimp)

Yay! Now we can begin. Set up your Film Scanner. It reminds me of a little pyramid. The bellows easily stack up in the middle and are sandwiched between the back light on the bottom, then phone holder (with foam padding) on top.

Set your phone on the phone holder and line up the camera lens on your phone over the hole. Your film is inserted at the bottom feeder and rolled in using the little knob at the bottom. Once your film is rolled in, you snap a picture!

Without the app, the picture you take with your camera is just a negative. All you have to do is open it in your photo editing software of choice and invert the colors! Boom. Done. Save, upload, and share! Actually, you can change and adjust colors accordingly.

Enough talk, here are some scans!

Credits: herbasaurus

Comparing each scan, you can see a pretty distinct differences. Okay, I realize the Thunderbolt is like a year old or something like that, but what do I know. Just take a look, you will see. Iphone scans will be posted first then, HTC ones, right after.

Credits: herbasaurus

One thing that threw me off, but it could have been some weird mishap, were these following pictures. I’ll post the Iphone’s, then the HTC’s. In the HTC scans, the colors were crazy. I have no idea how this occurred. One thought might be that I accidentally turned on a filter. I will need to do some further experiments with the HTC. Remember, I have not altered these images other than inverting them.

Credits: herbasaurus

What is nice about the Film scanner is that you can use various types of phones on it! From Iphones to Android phones, you line up your camera to the opening on top snap a picture and edit. This is a pretty sweet deal in the compatibility field with someone that uses both phones or for some reason needs to switch to another one.

Credits: herbasaurus

As the technology of cameras on phones become more advanced, we will eventually be able to get better resolutions and thus better scans. YES! This is one of the only few cons about the film scanner is that you are limited to your phone camera’s sharpness and resolution. Another issue I came across was that phones that have their charging cable on the side may hinder your scanning experience. An example is when I used the HTC Thunderbolt. Halfway through using the scanner I needed to plug the phone in to charge. Dilemma – the phone does not fit in the phone holder with the charging cable. This is not so much an issue, just a small gripe. Just take note, if your phone charges from the side, just charge before you use the scanner.

Credits: herbasaurus

Lately, I have been hearing about photo labs closing down in my area and the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner is a great alternative to having a lab scan them. I would not toss your home scanner out the window, but the film scanner is great to post on social media or even just to see which pictures you want to scan on your home scanner. Once you get your hands on some darkroom equipment, your own Lomo Lab at home will be complete. My experience with the film scanner has been wonderful and surprising at times. I cannot express how easy it is to set up and use, even on the go. The scanner is small and the design is simple, however you can do a lot with this little scanner! This is something to definitely pick up, whether you are using an Iphone or Android. It is exciting to wait and see what comes next for the Lomography Research Team!

Credits: herbasaurus

written by herbasaurus on 2013-02-14 #lifestyle #35mm #review #seattle #fisheye #diana #dianafplus #cityslicker #herbasuarus #lomographyfilmscanner


  1. tracyvmoore
    tracyvmoore ·

    Awesome article. Can't wait to try one ;)

  2. djnada
    djnada ·

    Nice job explaining how to use this! I think it will so be super handy when traveling for an extended period if time. I wish I had one now that I'm going to China. I'd be able to scan my stuff and share sooner!

  3. imadefan
    imadefan ·

    The one big problem I've been having is the back light over exposing the entire image. There's not a sprocket to be seen, just white either side of the photo. Any tips on how to overcome this?

  4. herbasaurus
    herbasaurus ·

    Sorry for the latereply, @imadefan . For the over exposing image, are you using all the bellows on the scanner? I noticed that with 3 levels on the bellows (basically the things that stack up in the middle), you could take one out. so your phone is closer to the negative. For all my scans, I always stacked all three bellows thingy, auto focused with my phones, then snapped a picture.

    OH ANOTHER THING, what are you using to invert your colors? Are you using the Lomo app? If you don't invert, it'll look well, like a blown out negative. Try playing with the image to invert the colors and adjust the contrast.

    If this doesn't work, let me know! I'm sure we can ask around until we find an answer!

  5. miicat
    miicat ·

    Thanks for posting this. I've been trying to use the Lomo Scanner, and unfortunately all of my photos come out very blue. I tried using photoshop to adjust the color levels, but I'm not skilled enough to make the photo look good. Do you have any suggestions?
    Here are examples:

  6. herbasaurus
    herbasaurus ·

    Hi miicat! I thought I replied to your post, but...i think I just thought about it? Yikes. Anyways, I'm not too sure what causes the blue hues on the pictures. Some things to consider are:

    what camera phone you are using?
    what kind of film is it?
    who developed the film?

    Depending on how you answer these questions, the results may vary. Things I would potentially try myself: try a different camera, check to see if the entire roll is blue, check the settings on your camera phone, find a friend that has a film scanner, if you have a dslr, you can try to take a picture of it and try inverting to see what happens, or ask your local lab to check it out for you.

    My local lab gives me free index cards with a thumbnail view of each picture. This allows me to match up the colors when I scan.

    Sorry again, for the late reply. If you figure it out, please let me know!

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