We put our new DigitaLIZA+ and DigitaLIZA Max home scanning kit to the test. Lou Guarneri, a.k.a Sweet Lou Photography tells us about his experience in his latest YouTube video and our conversation below.
Hey Lou, welcome back to the Lomography Magazine. How has your creative life been for you these days?
Thanks! Things have been crazy busy, but I’ve been breaking out my Mamiya 645 which has been keeping my feet on the ground.
What were your first impressions of the DigitiaLIZA+ and DigitaLIZA Max?
I was initially impressed by the build quality, and the ease of assembly. The unit feels sturdier than the old Lomography Smartphone film scanner, and way more user friendly. It feels like Lomography really improved upon the design and focused a ton on ease of use. I thought of this after I put up my video, but the one thing I think the DigitaLIZA Max is missing is some sort of carrying case to keep all the parts safe and organized. But other than that, my initial impression of the DigitaLIZA Max was very positive. It makes me consider changing up my whole film scanning process. (You can check out my video for my list of grievances with my flatbed scanner.)
How did you find the setup process?
Setting up the DigitaLIZA Max was very simple – I had no issues getting my setup together, especially when I was using a phone. Adding a tripod and digital camera to the mix makes things slightly more complicated, but the results you get are so worth the extra set up time.
Which film format(s) did you scan? How long did it take for you to scan a roll?
I digitized 35 mm (with and without sprockets) and 120 film. I had my negatives already cut (rows of 6 for 35 mm, rows of 3 - 4 for 120.) The strips would take me 2 - 3 minutes give or take.
Were there any features or abilities that stood out to you?
I think it’s clever to include a spirit level, and it’s difficult to lose since it just snaps back into the body of the unit.
Does this scanner provide anything that traditional labs don’t? How do these scans differ?
Currently, I don’t really send my film out to labs. Since the end of 2020, I’ve made it my goal to develop and scan everything I shoot at home. But I’ll speak to two perspectives here: as someone who scans all their own film with a flatbed scanner, and as someone who used to send out film to labs.
With the DigitaLIZA Max, you get far more control over the edit and overall look of your photo, especially if you’re noodling around with the scan in something like Negative Lab Pro. You can edit as much or as little as you’d like. Whereas when you’re using a lab service, to some degree you’re getting someone else’s interpretation.
From the perspective of someone who uses a flatbed scanner for everything, the DigitaLIZA is significantly faster. And in my opinion if you’re using a digital camera, you can really get some fantastic results. I think if you’re posting to the web, you’d have a pretty tough time discerning whether the photo was scanned by a flatbed or something like the DigitaLIZA and a camera.
Any tips or tricks you picked up with the scanner that you’d like to share?
I definitely recommend using it in subdued light – I found that if you use it right near a window or door with an abundance of daylight (I had to for the video I made) you can actually pick up reflections of your phone in the negative. And probably the most important tip is to keep your negatives clean. I used one of those rocket dusters before I ran anything through the DigitaLIZA Max, and I was so impressed how clean the negatives looked. I suppose you could skip this tip if you’re into the dusty look though. But if you aren’t, that little step will save you a ton of time in Lightroom later.
Oh one last minute tip, if you’re an egg like me. I didn’t realize the little back light was a toggle on/off switch. I thought you had to hold it at first.
If you could sum up the experience in three words, what would they be?
Gonna buy one.
Thanks for speaking with us Lou! Make sure to check out his video review, as well as his Instagram.
Scan your negatives at home with our DigitaLIZA+ and DigitaLIZA Max scanners now!