Sometimes simplest is best. And that’s absolutely true when it comes to that little scanner. Go on reading after the jump to know more about my first experiences with this gadget!
I was lucky enough to be one of the first lomographers to get my hands on a Lomography Film Scanner as a tester. Along these weeks, I have had the chance to try all the features and possibilities of this mighty accessory and, believe me, I had a lot of fun with it.
Before using it for the first time, I expected my scans to be a little bit disappointing, as my phone is a three-years-old iPhone 3GS. But even using such a classic, the quality of the scans came out surprisingly good.
The scanner is very simple, and this is why it’s really easy to set up and use. That’s what you will get:
- One backlight base. There you’ll have to plug the two AA batteries in. On the left side, there is an entrance for the film (where it reads “Insert film here”, that’s fools-proof!). Just put the beginning of the film strip in, and smoothly let it go into the film path by turning the advance knob. Turn the switch on and, voilà!, let it be the light!
- Three spacers. These pieces will allow you to raise your phone so it can properly focus the image of the negative. For my iPhone’s camera, two spacers were enough. Use only as few spacers as you need to get the picture in focus. If you use too many of them, you’ll just set up the phone far away from the negative, thus making the image ridiculously small on the screen. That’s a trial-error process at the first time.
- One adjustable holder for the phone. Release the two arms at both sides by pressing the button at the bottom of the holder. Put your phone in place and hold it by pushing the two arms against it. Now run your phone’s camera app and slide the phone up and down, right and left, until the camera aligns with the hole on the scanner and the picture is clearly centered and focused.
Now, turn the knob to advance the film until the frame of your choice. Tap on the screen to get the image focused and correctly exposed, and shoot!
At this moment, the official Lomography app for the scanner is not still available, but it will make the color inversion (negative to positive), allow you to make a movie from your LomoKino’s scans and even scan panoramic pictures. Until the app is released, you will have to manually invert the colors using the software of your choice. The process will depend on you personal preferences, and there’s a wonderful tutorial by Lomography on how to do that.
In my case, I used an easy workflow: after taking a picture of a negative, it was automatically pushed from my phone to my Mac via iCloud. Once there, I used desktop software to crop the frame, invert the colors, and make automatic color/contrast adjustment. But to make it absolutely computer-free, you can use any of the myriad of photo-editing apps which are available to carry out the whole process in your smartphone.
The process of inverting the pictures may sound a bit tangled right now, but in fact it is quite easy and fast. And I’m sure that by using the official app, it will become absolutely unpainful and even faster.
When taking the picture with the iPhone’s camera app, sometimes it’s useful tapping in different parts of the picture until the image is properly exposed. Keep in mind that you are viewing a negative copy of the final image, so darker is actually lighter.
One of the things I tried was shooting panoramas. After scanning a panorama photo in different parts, I merged them all together by using my photo-editing softwate. That’s the result:
If there’s something I have to outline from the scanner, it is its simplicity. It’s so easy and intuitive to use, that you will need no introduction. Just take it out from the box, and it’s ready to play. Every time. It also results in an immediate need for using it: one of the best things I noticed is that I don’t feel that laziness that keeps me apart from using my Epson V500 so often. You don’t depend on a computer. It’s weightless and you can take it to virtually any place. It’s fast, very fast. And that’s why it becomes so handy when you need a quick idea of how a negative will look like after inverting the colors.
It makes much faster the task of scanning lots of forgotten rolls of developed films. OK, probably it will not give you a high-resolution-scan (at the end, it depends on your smartphone’s camera), but it’s incredibly rapid and easy to use, and it will yield scans that will be adequate for most purposes. Specially, if you want to get your pictures immediately uploaded to the web or shared on your social networks.
Its intuitive operation paves the way to using it in every new experiment your mind could imagine, and I’m sure that we will be soon reading a lot of crazy tipsters to squeeze all of its capabilities.
I have to admit that the scanner surpassed my expectations. It’s a simple product with amazing possibilities, its fast and easy to use, and the experience of scanning with it, came out even more satisfying than I supposed it to be. Give it a try and it will not disappoint you!
You can see more of the scans I made using the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner here.