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Lomography reveals new cheap and easy way to digitize your film negatives

Lomography DigitaLIZA film scanner
(Image credit: Lomography)

Got a collection of old film negatives gathering dust in a drawer? You could bring them into the digital age using one of the best film scanners, but Lomography has just launched a fresh way to scan your negs using your digital camera, or even smartphone.

The DigitaLIZA+ and DigitaLIZA Max scanning kits can hold 35mm, 120 or special format negatives, with the film holder positioned on top of a separate backlight panel. You then photograph each illuminated frame with a camera of your choice.

(Image credit: Lomography)

The DigitaLIZA+ is the more basic of the two kits and is designed to work with your normal digital camera - compact, mirrorless or DSLR. Slip a 35mm film strip into the holder and the backlight below illuminates each frame, ready to be 'scanned' by your camera fitted with a macro lens. A frame advance knob on the holder makes it easy to quickly and precisely advance each frame, while a removable bubble level is on hand to ensure the scanning kit and your camera stay perfectly straight.

(Image credit: Lomography)

120 negs can be loaded into the backlight panel section, and an adapter frame is inlcluded to enable and 127-format film to be scanned as well. Thanks to the modular design, it's also possible to remove the backlight panel and use your own lighting source for greater scanning control. 

(Image credit: Lomography)

The DigitaLIZA Max kit includes the same 35mm film holder and backlight modules, but adds a smartphone holder stand, plus an additional base plate for greater stability. The inlcuded stand allows you to clamp your smartphone and suspend it at just the right height above the negs to get perfectly framed 'scans' every time, simply by photographing each negative using your phone camera. The whole set-up is somewhat reminicent of a classic film enlarger, if you squint, a lot! Alternatviely, remove the stand and you can scan using any digital camera.

(Image credit: Lomography)

But while the DigitaLIZA concept may be fresh, but it's not entirely a first. Alongside the launch of the D850, Nikon released its ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set which would attach to a Nikon macro lens, leveraging the resolving power of the D850 (along with its built-in color inversion setting) to capture high res 'scans' of 35mm negatives.

Nikon's ES-2 Film Digitizing Adapter Set allowed you to digitize film negatives using a Nikon D850 and attached macro lens (Image credit: Future)

Likewise, cheaper dedicated all-in-one film scanners also use a built-in camera sensor to capture digital image 'scans' of your film (we use the word 'scan' in inverted commas, as simply taking a picture of a negative isn't acutally scanning it).

But while much faster than a traditional film scanner, these camera-based film scanners tend to provide disappointing digitized image quality. Lomography's DigitaLIZA scaners could well strike just the right balance of fast, cost-effect film scanning, while your preferred digital camera or smartphone provides high digitizing quality.

Scan quality looks promising, if Lomography's sample scans are anything to go by (Image credit: Lomography)

Both versions of the DigitaLIZA kit are available for pre-order from the Lomography Online Shop, though you'll have to wait until May for wider retail availablity.

The DigitaLIZA+ Scanning Kit is priced at $74.90 USD, while the DigitaLIZA Max will cost $99 USD.

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Ben is the Imaging Labs manager, responsible for all the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensors, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest camera phones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to camera bags, filters, memory cards, and all manner of camera accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography! With years of experience trialling and testing kit, he's a human encyclopedia of benchmarks when it comes to recommending the best buys.