Scanning film negatives at home currently is a bit of a chore, complicated and expensive setups are time-consuming, fiddly, and require the right space. Finnish company Valoi thinks they might have the solution for this, with the aptly named easy35, a camera scanning peripheral that aims to make scanning 35mm film as easy as possible.
Scanning film negatives is usually done in one of three ways. Firstly, just getting the lab to scan your film during the development process, however, this is costly and you lose the freedom to scan your images in the size, format, and quality you might want, and you cannot rescan images (without paying again).
Alternatively, you can use a dedicated home film scanner such as the Plustek OpticFilm 8200i SE or Epson Perfection V600, however, whilst these provide good results and automated software makes them easy to use, film scanners have their own flaws with very slow scanning speeds, lots of setup and big bulky devices.
Finally, camera scanning is a method of digitizing film that has been growing in popularity in the film community thanks to the efforts of companies like Valoi and Negative Supply. Camera scanning uses a good quality 1:1 macro lens and a high-CRI light to capture RAW images of film negatives which can then be converted into positives (color images) using software such as Negative Lab Pro. Companies like Valoi have produced accessories, such as the Valoi 360, to make camera scanning faster and easier by helping to flatten, correctly light, and advance the film during the camera scanning process.
Camera scanning is popular as it is incredibly quick, a whole roll of film can be "scanned" in a professional quality in a matter of minutes, a feat that would take a scanner like the Epson V600 closer to an hour or more. However, current camera scanning setups like the Valoi 360 are still cumbersome to assemble and require careful alignment of the camera perfectly parallel to the film surface and can be affected by stray light hitting the surface of the film and causing reflections.
This is where the easy35 comes into its own, with a built-in high-CRI lighting source, it encloses the film in a light-sealed box that is also perfectly aligned to the camera lens by utilizing the filter thread on the end of your macro lens. The distance from the lens to the film can be adjusted with additional tubing to get the perfect focus at the highest quality. This setup might look a little ridiculous to the casual observer, but it is one of the smallest and simplest setups yet seem for scanning negatives in a fast and high-quality manner.
The easy35 is currently still in its prototype phase, with the final touches to the design and parts being completed by the Valoi team in the next two months before it starts shipping out to backers in August, however, there is still time to add your name to the list to be one of the first to get your hands on the easy35, and at a nice discount too from the final retail price.
Although as ever with crowdfunding projects, there is a risk of the product never making it to production and you losing your money. However, Valoi has an established business making camera scanning products and is backed by parent company Kamerastore.
You can find out more about the project and back the Valoi easy35 on IndieGoGo.