The Lomography Smartphone Scanner digitizes 35mm negatives to your mobile phone for easy archiving and sharing. It is easy to use and saves you money when you don’t want to buy prints or get your film professionally scanned. Read more for how it works and some tips on using it.
The scanner is essentially a light box that can fit a smartphone. Remember that the quality of scans stretches as far as the quality of your phone, so I would recommend using a phone with a camera that has 8 megapixels or more.
In the box are all the parts for the Lomography Smartphone Scanner and an instruction manual. Three ‘stackers’ are provided to distance the phone from the backlight so that the camera can be focused properly. They can be detached easily but fit securely when attached; the number of stackers you will need depends on your phone.
The scanner takes 2 AA batteries. When I first started using the scanner, I had problems getting clear scans because the backlight was too dim. I found that the cause of this was not using fresh batteries; once I changed them the backlight was very clear and bright, making the job a lot easier.
A small button extends the holders that keep your phone in place when scanning. It is very easy to use. Just attach the smartphone of your choice, turn on the backlight and feed your 35mm negatives through the left side where it says ‘insert film here’, turning the advance knob to slide the negative into place for scanning. I used a Samsung Galaxy S3 with one stacker:
Scanning app of choice? Try “Helmut”, which is free on Android. It’s definitely the most accurate when it comes to color, plus you can crop and edit the images as you please.
Keep in mind that due to manual advancing and the inability to scan multiple negatives at once, scanning all your pictures can take a lot of patience as it is quite repetitive and time-consuming. However, it is definitely worth the convenience of being able to have a digital copy of your photos to upload and share. It also saves money as you do not need to have your photos professionally scanned. It is also useful when you do not want prints or have no need for them, as it only costs a few dollars to get your film rolls developed only.
Here are some pictures I scanned, taken with a Diana Mini:
The Lomography Smartphone Scanner is simple and uncomplicated but is really effective and gets the job done. Of course, results may differ, as it mostly depends on which smartphone you use. This is definitely a product that has potential, especially when you consider the ability to scan Lomokino movies and stitch together panoramas on one sitting.