5+1: Scanning Films with the Digitaliza and a DSLR Camera by Benjamin Arias


With the 5+1 series of articles, we share tips from Lomographers with a photo of the process or project and 5 photos showing the results. This time, it's the turn of French photographer Benjamin Arias, who is fond of analogue photography, and thinks "it has no cause to be envious of digital photography". He enjoys taking portraits and shooting his travels and other adventures. Benjamin was looking for an affordable way to digitize his negatives and he discovered our Digitaliza scanning mask which he used to scan his medium format photos.

In this tutorial, the photographer shares some tips, tricks, his experience as well as his photos.

On the left: Photo of the Digitaliza 120. On the right: Photo was taken with the Lomography Color Negative 400 ISO 120 film. © Benjamin Arias.

The Reasons

When we shot a lot of analogue photos, we quickly start to think that the scan done by the lab can be expensive. I was very happy with the high-res scans made by my lab but the price pushed me to look for another qualitative and cheap solution. I obviously took a look at special scanners to digitize negatives, and I realize that, even if the quality is very good, it's quite expensive too.

As I'm at first a digital photographer, I was well equipped, so I thought that the solution of scanning with a DSLR camera was perfect because it's qualitative, fast, and only needed a minor investment.

So, here's how I started to "photograph" my 120 negatives. For starter, I put them on a light table, it worked pretty well but the film had to be permanently held very flat when I was taking a photo with the camera mounted on a tripod. It was not necessarily very convenient and I sometimes had artifacts on my images because of the proximity of the negatives on the light table.

I started to look for a film holder similar to the ones you can find in flatbed scanners and I spotted the Digitaliza. The Digitaliza is an ingenious system that allows holding the film very flat in the holder. It's conceived for flatbed scanners but it's a very viable and convenient solution for digitizing with a DSLR camera.

The system is simple to put in place, the film is now heightened of a few millimeters above the light table, there are no more artifacts on my pictures.

Photos of the process with the Digitaliza 120. © Benjamin Arias.

The Process

You just need to put the Digitaliza on a flat surface like a table, with the metallic part placed in the back notches. Then, put the film that you previously cut in three 6x6 or 6x7 photos in the holder. You also have the possibility to put the entire negatives strip without cutting it as there are slots that allow you to make the film "slide" in the film holder. Then, you finish by placing the superior part of the Digitaliza onto the film and finally close it.

With the film held very flat in the Digitaliza, and the Digitaliza well installed on the light table, I mount my DSLR camera on a tripod on the edge of my desk, and make sure it's leveled so the camera and table are parallel.

When I'm done digitizing my photos, I now need to load them on my computer and convert my negatives in Lightroom using the Negative Lab Pro extension. And now, the analogue photos appear!

The Results

Photo was taken with the Lomography Color Negative 400 ISO 120 film and the LomoChrome Purple 120 film, digitized with the Digitaliza by Benjamin Arias.

The results are amazing, the colours realistic and the sharpness is very satisfying. Obviously, the more your DSLR camera will have megapixels and a good lens, the more the details will be precise. On my side, I use my faithful Canon EOS-1DX Mark II and the 100 mm macro L lens. The results are then very fulfilling.

Thanks to Benjamin for taking the time to share all his tips! You can see more photos taken by Benjamin, on his website and his Instagram. The Lomography Digitaliza scanning masks for the 35 mm, 120, and 110 formats are available on our Online Shop!

Want to share an analogue related idea to make the life of other Lomographers easier? Let your Lomographic creativity be seen and heard! Submit your projects to us and get in touch with ciel.hernandez@lomography.com!

2021-04-10 #gear #people #tutorials #digitaliza-120

Mentioned Product

DigitaLIZA 120 Scanning Mask

Hold your negatives in place through the innovative magnetic mechanism and easily scan special formats such as endless panoramas and overlapping exposures.

View in Shop


  1. simonmigaj
    simonmigaj ·

    Doing the same thing only with a macro lens, but it's a great idea if you want full creative control and especially if you enjoy developing film by yourself!

  2. leisuresuit
    leisuresuit ·

    Great article, think I'll try this!

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