Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Review

Stuart Fawcett was invited to breakfast with Lomography to see their new Smartphone Film scanners. Updated 28/06/13.

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Smartphone Film Scanner

Lomography wanted their users to easily bridge the gap between their analogue films and the digital social media we almost all use. The idea was for a personal film scanner that used the camera in your mobile phone incorporated with a film feed mechanism and a light source.

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner

Of course getting an idea to market is tricky for anyone and in Lomo's budget accessible market space the only solution that made sense and drew on the wide Lomo fan base was a crowd sourced project with masses of interested parties pledging funds to see the development take place. Smart investors would also see that this Lomo device scans any processed 35mm film into a mobile phone, and the promised support for iPhones and Android devices would make this a compelling accessory for sharing the neat image approaches that Lomography cameras bring to photography. So the Kickstarter Lomo project was born just two months ago, the scanner is now ready and the phone app followed not much later – see their micro site for updates.

Lomography Store Cameras

So running off 2 AA batteries this device just clips together and you're ready to go, if your phone supports macro mode then you can even remove a few of the mid sections and zoom into the frame to capture even more of the analogue negative detail that make the Lomo photos what they are. Of course, the App inverts the negative and gives you the digital image which you can stitch into panoramas if you want and then share on Facebook or twitter as you like. It also apparently animates 35mm analogue movies shot using the Lomography LomoKino camera, though I did not get to see that at the Lomo breakfast event this Tuesday in their London store.



Lomography Store Lomography Store

I have to mention the Lomo store – they are veritable hives of interest and well worth a visit if you are near one. It's an art and gadget experience you have to see to believe with its quirky shops, display walls, crazy fun cameras and helpful staff. It’s a fun visit even if you don't want to buy anything! It certainly made me feel that the analogue film world was accessible to me when I wanted to try it out.

For more on Lomography see their website. To buy the scanner in the UK for £49 see their shop. Article by JackAllTog (Stuart Fawcett).

Update 28/06/2013: We tested the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner to see how it performs. The Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner app is now available for iOS or Android devices. This lets you crop the film using the app on Android or iOS, or alternatively with other phones (Windows Phone, etc) you can use the camera, and then edit using an app or photo app on your computer.





Lomography Film Scanner App (1) Lomography Film Scanner App (4)
Lomography Film Scanner App (5) Lomography Film Scanner App (6)

The app has a limited number of options, with a +/- button letting you zoom in or out, cropping the image and helping you fit it into the square. The top right film button will cover the left and right edges of the film digitally if required, while the bottom left film button lets you choose from a number of film types: none, neg, black and white, slide, x-pro and reds. The bottom left button takes you to the phones photos. Additional photos of the scanner and app in use can be found in the Equipment Database.





Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Performance

Lomography Film Scanner (1)

We used a number of smartphones, the iPhone5, Nokia Pureview 925, Nokia Pureview 808, and due to the resolution being around 8mp, the cropped images work out at roughly 1450x1250 pixels, and once cropped to 3:2 aspect ratio, around 1440x980. This gives roughly a 1.3-1.4 megapixel image. The Nokia Pureview 808 with 38mp photo size struggled to focus close enough to give much better resolution, and has a fairly average macro focus distance of around 15cm.

Lomography Film Scanner (2)

Camera phones with a higher resolution, and closer macro focus distance - such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 / Sony Xperia Z will gives higher resolution and potentially better results. However the app doesn't help and can be difficult to get the optimum exposure with no exposure controls, even just being able to set exposure compensation would help as the iPhone app regularly got the exposure wrong.

Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Sample Photos




Value For Money

Priced at £49, it makes it a rather unique option letting you share the image(s) straight from your phone, giving low resolution images, whereas a dedicated film scanner would give 5mp images for around £49, or less, although for this it's likely you'll need to scan to a PC.




Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Verdict

The app needs work and could help get better results with simple controls such as exposure compensation. You get much better results getting your negatives scanned to CD when developing. You would get bettery results using a dedicated film scanner connected to your computer. For anyone who doesn't have access to a film scanner, or computer, and if you just want to get web sized scans from 35mm negatives you have, then the Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner would do the job.





Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Pros

35mm film lightbox could be used for other cameras
Small and easy to feed film with wheel
Uses 2 AA batteries





Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner Cons

App resets crop when you switch film type
No exposure control in app
Setting up the distance of the phone can be fiddly
Loading and removing film can be fiddly
Low resolution results
Doesn't support 110 film, although it should fit.









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pablophotographer 8 1.3k 353
13 Mar 2013 7:29PM
Thanks for the article Stuart, it's really nice.

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