I don’t know about you, but, I absolutely hate scanning film negatives; I find it extremely tedious.  I hope one day I will have the ability to hire someone to do that for me. Until then, I’ve been suffering, trying to find an inexpensive and crafty way to get decent scans out of my Epson V500 and unruly negatives.

My scanner (which was bought from someone off Craigslist at an awesome price) came with a couple flimsy film holders that A) were somewhat warped and B) covered up the sprocket holes. For images from my Lomography Sprocket Rocket, this was a no-go. Thankfully, I love to “research” stuff online. I usually just Google my question, or a few key words, and go from there and I usually find answers.

At first, I thought I could just keep the negatives flat with a piece of glass, right? WRONG. Apparently, the sheet of glass can reflect into your scanned image, producing Newton rings, which looks like an oil spill on asphalt. And after researching different kinds of anti-reflective glass, I thought, “Oh hell, lemme just lay the negatives flat on the scanner. So I did. Once my negatives were neatly organized in their negative sleeves I’d weigh them down (for days) under heavy books and voila! Flattened-ish negatives, ha. However, I still had the bother of trying to align my negatives in just the right spot and it required a lot of tweaking.

Then, finally, I gave in and bought a Lomography DigitaLIZA. I held off for so long because frankly, I thought this piece of plastic was expensive, which is kinda my opinion on all Lomography items. That aside, I got a good discount, using “piggies” and a coupon code and 5 days later I had me a DigitaLIZA! And so, I embarked on a three, maybe four, week journey of re-scanning my negatives from the last year and a half, pretty much hunkered down in my cave and dead to the world… and 1,200+ 35 mm frames later, I was done!

The DigitaLIZA is a plastic scanning mask that can hold one row of up to six frames of 35 mm film (they also sell a 120 film holder version) and uses magnets to help you set the negative in place, allowing you to scan the entire frame including sprockets. Here’s a video that’s quite self-explanatory.

One thing to take note of is, if you’re using an Epson scanner, you may receive error messages because it’s wont’ recognize the size of the DigitaLIZA, since it’s thinner than the film holder the Epson comes with. So, you’ll have to create an L-shape stencil to fill the space; use something with the thickness of cardboard or foamcore. Like this:

Scanner demo
Also, I recommend using cotton gloves when handling your negatives (a pack of three pairs is like $3 at Dick Blick) and a can of compressed air to help remove dust.
Last but not least, here’s a random handful of scanned images taken with six different analog cameras:

Go here if you’d like to view my photography Tumblr!


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