2022-Film Friday: Lomography DigitaLIZA+ and Max film scanner review: Digital Photography Review



After greater than a decade in decline, gross sales of photograph movie have picked up in recent times. Positive, the visible aesthetic of movie, flaws and all, could be faked in post-processing. However an rising variety of photographers have sought out the authenticity of the true factor, in addition to the extra deliberate and thought of taking pictures type movie requires.

On the finish of the day, although, we nonetheless reside in a digital world. Even when our creations begin off within the analog area, likelihood is we’ll desire a digital copy too. Movie can be expensive to purchase, develop and have scanned – and as a distinct segment market in an inflationary world, prices are continuing to climb – so it is sensible to seek out methods to save lots of a little bit cash.

For individuals who need to dabble with out totally committing to all of the gear required for scanning movie, the Lomography DigitaLIZA+ ($74.90) and DigitaLIZA Max ($99) each supply a easy and much, far extra inexpensive method of digitizing your 35mm and medium format movie.

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Kodak Gold 200 Plus Gen 3 adverse movie from 1992, digitized with the DigitaLIZA+ utilizing a Pentax Ok-3 II DSLR and 100mm F2.8 Macro lens.

The bottom DigitaLIZA+ is geared toward photographers who need to use their digital digicam to do the “scanning” of their optimistic or adverse movie. The DigitaLIZA Max, in the meantime, permits you to lock your smartphone in place and use its built-in digicam as an alternative. For the reason that DigitaLIZA Max equipment consists of all the Plus equipment’s elements plus just a few extras, this evaluation will focus will on the Max equipment and function a evaluation of each merchandise.

Key Options

  • Digitize optimistic, adverse or B&W movie utilizing your smartphone* or digicam
  • Works with 35mm (together with panoramic), 120 or 127 movie codecs
  • Compact and light-weight
  • Backlight powered through USB or AA batteries
  • Bubble spirit degree included to assist align your standalone digicam
  • Smartphone stand retains cellphone parallel with movie floor*
  • No software program included

Within the Field

  • Base plate*
  • Smartphone stand with clamp*
  • Backlight panel
  • 35mm movie holder with detachable spirit degree
  • 35mm panoramic diffuser
  • 36x24mm movie masks
  • 127 movie masks

* DigitaLIZA Max solely

The DigitaLIZA Max equipment (proven) consists of every little thing on this image. The DigitaLIZA+ equipment, in the meantime, consists of all however the base plate (backside middle) and smartphone stand/clamp (prime left).

Setup is so simple as it will get

The DigitaLIZA Max actually could not be any simpler to arrange and feels properly made for the value. There are solely a handful of items, all of that are designed to suit neatly collectively of their appropriate orientations.

The bottom plate is the heaviest element, guaranteeing that issues keep good and regular. A particularly easy plastic slider mechanism atop this plate permits linear adjustment of your movie on X and Y axes with solely a really slight quantity of rotation. (And as quickly as you let go the slider straightens itself.)

The column for the smartphone stand slots into the again left nook of the bottom and is secured in place with a thumbscrew. On my evaluation pattern, this thumbscrew had no impact even when totally tightened, however every little thing was secure regardless.

35mm movie strips are fed by means of the movie provider by rolling the purple knob marked “Let’s Roll Collectively”. It is marked just for counterclockwise rotation, however truly works fantastic in both path.

The smartphone clamp then slides up and down the stand, securing into place with one other thumbscrew that, fortunately, labored simply fantastic. Rubber pads on the clamp be sure that it grips your cellphone firmly however with out danger of harm from overtightening.

With the clamp assembled, you then set the backlight panel on prime of the slider on the baseplate. Relying upon your chosen movie format, you possibly can both begin scanning 120mm movie at this level, or add one other accent for different movie sorts.

Among the many included equipment are body masks for 127 and 35mm movie, plus a 35mm panoramic diffuser and a 35mm movie provider. The latter has a dial at one finish which when turned will roll your movie by means of the provider fairly exactly.

As for DigitaLIZA+ customers, you may get every little thing besides the bottom plate, stand and clamp, which you may want to exchange together with your standalone digicam and appropriate tripod or stand.

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The 35mm movie provider does not all the time play properly with curled movie. It is difficult to indicate, however should you look beneath the stylus I am holding within the left picture, you possibly can see that the curled movie collides with the plastic above the slot by means of which it feeds (proper picture).

The 35mm provider is not a fan of curling movie

I discovered that these elements principally labored nicely collectively, however there have been just a few quirks, most prominently with the 35mm movie provider.

Whereas it labored nicely for essentially the most half, I discovered that movie strips may typically get caught whereas sliding by means of the provider. This appeared to occur solely with movie that had curled, as the tip of the movie strip can collide with the plastic above the slot by means of which it exits the provider.

To get the movie to proceed rolling easily, I needed to press gently down on the middle of the strip to information it into the slot. I might prefer to see Lomography repair this by giving the doorway to that slot only a bit extra of a chamfered edge.

Though the backlight is pretty vivid, it isn’t robust sufficient to drown out reflections. You will need to preserve ambient gentle ranges low and take heed to any gentle sources which may trigger points.

I additionally found that curling strips of movie would typically slip when the dial was rolled, fairly than shifting as they need to. It was straightforward sufficient to get them shifting once more by very gently gripping the perimeters of the movie strip and giving it a little bit encouragement, although.

I additionally discovered that the entire strip may rotate simply barely even when totally throughout the provider, which may result in slight variations in orientation from body to border. It is unlikely to be a real-world problem, however may end in frames needing to be rotated barely should you’re meaning to stack or sew them.

A vivid and even backlight, however be careful for reflections

The backlight panel is kind of vivid and evenly lit, however it’s not all the time sufficiently highly effective to totally chase reflections off the highest of the movie from exterior gentle sources. Therefore you are finest off taking pictures in a dimly-lit room or, failing that, guaranteeing that there are not any gentle sources inside direct line-of-sight of the movie floor.

The DigitaLIZA Max’s smartphone stand holds the cellphone securely and retains it roughly parallel with the movie, however you may want to provide your individual app to transform the adverse movie photographs.

Energy for the backlight comes courtesy of both micro USB port (at one finish of the backlight panel) or a pair of AA batteries that slot into its base. The battery compartment hangs out from one aspect of the panel with a big hole between it and the bottom plate beneath. That design choice may cause all the panel to disconnect from the slider mechanism if the facility button is pressed too firmly.

Truthfully, the battery compartment feels a bit pointless. I can not consider an excellent motive you’d need to use the machine away from an influence supply, however even should you did then utilizing a USB battery pack would doubtless suffice. Nonetheless, it doubtless does not have an effect on the price by a lot, and the choice’s there should you want it.

The smartphone holder is nice and the spirit degree’s helpful too

The extras included with the DigitaLIZA Max equipment make for a faster and simpler setup than with a standalone digicam, since there is no must fuss with cautious alignment to make sure digicam and movie floor are parallel. You simply pop your cellphone into the holder, tighten it and that is it.

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Unidentified ISO 200 adverse movie from ∼1996, digitized with the DigitaLIZA Max utilizing a Google Pixel 5a 5G smartphone set at its minimal focusing distance.

Though it is solely supported on one aspect, your cellphone will nonetheless be held very near completely degree. (And the place does not actually change from body to border as you gently work together together with your cellphone display screen.)

Must you favor to make use of a standalone digicam, you may discover the included spirit degree to be very helpful. Merely pop it out of its storage compartment within the 35mm movie holder and set it in your digicam’s LCD panel.

As soon as you’ve got fiddled round with getting the digicam degree, then you possibly can transfer the DigitaLIZA+ into the suitable place to middle the movie inside your picture. It undoubtedly is not as fast and simple as with a smartphone, although, if comfort is your major concern.

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With a standalone digicam and tripod, you may must do the work of getting issues into alignment your self. Fortunately, the dual-axis spirit degree constructed into the movie provider could be popped out and set in your digicam’s show to assist make the job simpler.

Software program is not included, and likelihood is you may want it

There may be one piece of the puzzle that is nonetheless lacking, no matter whether or not you are utilizing your smartphone or a standalone digicam: no software program is supplied, so you may want to provide your individual.

In case you’re simply digitizing black and white or optimistic coloration movie which is clear and unfaded, you could not want something past the digicam app in your cellphone or the JPEG straight out of your digicam. But when your movie is in less-than-perfect situation or must be transformed from negatives, you may want to provide the required modifying instruments.

Eager photographers taking pictures with standalone cameras could nicely have the required software program already. Nonetheless, customers contemplating the DigitaLIZA Max equipment as a strategy to digitize their previous household photographs doubtless will not have an modifying app geared toward movie scanning.

It looks like a missed alternative for the phone-friendly equipment to not embrace software program for Android and iOS customers, whether or not developed particularly for the DigitaLIZA or just by means of a partnership with an present app’s developer.

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Medium-format 120 movie is fed by means of the center of the backlight panel, which opens up as proven on the left. Two AA batteries within the backside of this panel present one energy supply possibility; the opposite is to attract energy through USB cable.

Efficiency is certainly a powerful level for the DigitaLIZA

One space during which the DigitaLIZA excels is the pace with which you’ll be able to digitize your movie.

With my growing older Nikon Coolscan movie scanner, a strip of six frames can take upwards of quarter-hour to scan, and even with a contemporary flatbed scanner you are ten minutes or so to scan a dozen frames at prime quality. However with the DigitaLIZA and a little bit observe, you possibly can reduce that point in half.

I used to be in a position to get my common down to simply 35 seconds or so per body, and that is counting the time to modify movie strips, albeit with the strips of negatives laid out and able to choose up rapidly. The flexibility to get high-quality scans in little or no time is clearly an enormous promoting level for the DigitaLIZA merchandise.

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Unidentified Fujifilm optimistic movie (doubtless Provia-series) from ∼1990, digitized with the DigitaLIZA+ utilizing a Pentax Ok-3 II DSLR and 100mm F2.8 Macro lens.

Scanning previous movie is slower with out the intelligent {hardware} instruments

However whereas efficiency is a powerful level, there’s one other space during which many movie scanners will doubtless nonetheless have an enormous edge over the DigitaLIZA. It will not be a problem for these working with just-developed rolls, however for these planning to digitize older movie it might be an enormous deal or perhaps a dealbreaker.

Loads of standalone movie scanners scan your photographs not just below regular illumination, but additionally utilizing an infrared lamp to assist decide the places of mud and scratches. This enables them to appropriate harm to the picture routinely, whereas largely avoiding lack of element elsewhere.

Against this, should you’re scanning previous movie that is scratched, marred by the expansion of fungus or coated in cussed mud, Lomography’s providing leaves you fully to your individual gadgets. Every scratch and mote of mud will both must be cloned out by hand, otherwise you’ll must spend time experimenting with filtering, costing your self a good bit of effort and time both method.

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Kodak Gold 100 Gen 2 adverse movie from ∼1991, digitized with the DigitaLIZA+ utilizing a Pentax Ok-3 II DSLR and 100mm F2.8 Macro lens.

Picture high quality can be nearly fully dependent in your digicam/cellphone

Ordinarily in a evaluation of a product geared toward digitizing your movie, I might be focusing largely on what picture high quality you possibly can anticipate. The factor is, with the Lomography DigitaLIZA, picture high quality relies upon nearly fully in your selection of smartphone or digicam and lens.

Likelihood is, you may get higher outcomes from even an intermediate standalone digicam and macro lens than you’ll from a smartphone, just because smartphones aren’t usually made with macro pictures in thoughts, however fairly for extra common taking pictures.

However the high quality of these outcomes will doubtless range much more between particular person manufacturers and fashions. At the least some telephones are able to surprisingly first rate macro work and will give a less-than-optimal standalone digicam/lens combo a run for its cash.

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Element comparability: Nikon Coolscan V vs. DigitaLIZA+ with Pentax Ok-3 II and 100mm F2.8 Macro.

An actual-world comparability with a standalone movie scanner

With all of that stated, it nonetheless feels incorrect to not give any indication of how outcomes may examine to a mainstream movie scanner. To present you a way of what you possibly can anticipate, I’ve due to this fact included a few 100% crops above and under.

In these, you possibly can examine a scan from my Nikon Coolscan V movie scanner (a fairly previous however nonetheless very succesful unit with 4,000 dpi decision) towards photographs utilizing the DigitaLIZA with a standalone digicam and with a smartphone. In all circumstances, we’re wanting on the identical body of 35mm adverse movie (Kodak Gold Plus 200 Gen 3) shot in New Orleans in roughly 1992.

For the comparability above, I used the DigitaLIZA+ with a mid-range Pentax Ok-3 II digicam and 100mm F2.8 macro lens, aiming to fill the body with the adverse being scanned. The result’s, as you possibly can see, almost indistinguishable from the Nikon Coolscan outcome by way of topic element, though the scanner did a greater job of correcting coloration from the marginally pale movie, plus added a contact larger sharpening.

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Kodak Gold 200 Plus Gen 3 adverse movie from ∼1992, digitized with the DigitaLIZA+ utilizing a Pentax Ok-3 II DSLR and 100mm F2.8 Macro lens. The 100% crops above and under got here from this picture.

The one under reveals an analogous comparability of the DigitaLIZA Max towards my Google Pixel 5a smartphone, positioned to shoot from its minimal focusing distance. Right here, the cellphone merely cannot focus intently sufficient, and so there may be considerably much less element accessible. (And far of what fantastic element stays has a considerably pointillistic really feel because of the algorithms Google is utilizing to wring this a lot element from a tiny cameraphone sensor.)

Clearly, then, your outcomes will range relying upon what you are taking pictures with. However even an older, mid-range standalone digicam and macro lens like I used ought to have the ability to derive related element ranges to a movie scanner.

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Element comparability: Nikon Coolscan V vs. DigitaLIZA Max with Google Pixel 5a 5G.


In case you’re in search of a strategy to digitize your movie, the expense of paying another person to do it or shopping for a scanner devoted to the duty could be offputting. With the DigitaLIZA Max and DigitaLIZA+, Lomography presents a way more cheap different, aiming to parlay your earlier funding in your smartphone or standalone digicam right into a succesful film-“scanning” machine.

There is no denying that the DigitaLIZA gadgets make the preliminary scanning course of a lot sooner. However relying on the movie you are scanning, you could be in for extra work. Older movie, specifically, can require additional care to run by means of their scanner, and extra nonetheless afterward to appropriate for fungus, scratches, and fading.

You will additionally want to provide your individual software program, one thing which doubtless is sensible for standalone digicam customers however appears much less justifiable for the smartphone equipment. We might actually prefer to see Lomography create or license appropriate software program for each Android and iOS and embrace it within the product bundle, even when meaning a considerably larger price ticket for the cellular model.

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Kodak Gold 100 Gen 2 adverse movie from ∼1989, digitized with the DigitaLIZA+ utilizing a Pentax Ok-3 II DSLR and 100mm F2.8 Macro lens.

For Max customers, you may additionally need to take heed to your smartphone’s minimal focusing distance, which may restrict your potential to fill the body together with your movie photographs, lowering the decision or leaving you reliant on digital zoom to attempt to fill within the gaps.

In our evaluation we did discover a few minor ergonomic and value points, largely to do with the 35mm movie holder, which does not all the time play properly with curled movie. However these are pretty straightforward to work round, and sure (once more) to be extra of a problem for older movie collections than it’s for photographers who’re taking pictures movie immediately.

However though it does have some quirks, these are undoubtedly offset by the pace with which you may get your photographs into digital kind. (And with glorious element, too, in case your digicam is as much as it.)

For newly-shot movie, that comfort together with the price financial savings ought to give the DigitaLIZA gadgets enchantment. However for many who need to digitize older movie and for whom picture high quality is a big concern, we would advocate seeking to a devoted scanner which may routinely appropriate for mud, scratches and fading on the very least.

What We Like What We Do not
  • Very inexpensive, particularly when in comparison with a devoted scanner
  • Works with the digicam or smartphone you already personal
  • Helps not simply 35mm however sizes as much as medium-format 120 movie
  • Able to nice decision in case your seize machine is as much as it
  • Undeniably quick as soon as muscle reminiscence takes over
  • Included spirit degree helps with standalone digicam setup
  • Max variant’s stand retains your smartphone positioned nicely
  • Compact and moveable with twin energy sources
  • No software program included, even for cell phone customers
  • Mud, grain and fade correction are fully as much as the tip consumer
  • Minimal value financial savings for the DigitaLIZA+ variant
  • 35mm movie holder is vulnerable to catching and slipping
  • Backlight panel can detach if the facility button is pressed too exhausting
  • Some smartphones will battle to get shut sufficient with out accent lenses


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