Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner [unboxing and first scans]

I was an early backer of the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Kickstarter project. The scanner arrived a few weeks ago, but I'd been waiting to open it until the Lomography Scanner app was available via the iPhone app store. Well, the app was finally released yesterday, so today I opened it all up and gave it a whirl.

The film scanner is a little plastic gizmo that has a backlit lightbox at the base of the scanner (two AA batteries not included), several plastic expansion stackers (in order to adjust the closeness/focus of your smartphone camera) and an adjustable holder for your smartphone at the top. It also comes with a little foam shim to keep your phone level against the opening to the lightbox.

Your first choice is to select regular, lomokino or panoramic for your negative type. Then the scanner app gives you several options for the images you're scanning in: NONE, NEG, B&W, SLIDE, XPRO and REDS. It's not entirely clear what the negative settings are for and there isn't any context help built into the first release of the scanner application. I chose B&W for my negatives, but perhaps I should've chosen NEG. It's hard to discern the difference between the two settings.

There aren't any separate controls for white balance or exposure. I was able to adjust the white balance by touching opposite corners of the image before taking the photo, but it was hit or miss at best.

I couldn't find my shoebox of negatives, so I used some black and white negatives from my community college photo class (circa 1992). Making a print of every image I shot wasn't feasible at the time. Firstly due to the cost of the photo paper and secondly, not every image on the roll was good enough to print. Below is a slideshow of a few selected images I scanned in. There's one of Salt 'n' Pepa from the 1992 Inauguration festivities, a couple of self portraits, a sequence taken for a photo class project called "Portrait of Self Without Self", and a few of my first car (a 1964 Plymouth Barracuda).

The scanner device is pretty cool, even if it the smartphone app could use a little help. Now if only I could remember where I stashed that shoebox of negatives...

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