Scanning the 21st Century Way

I always make me feel old when I do something with my phone.  When I was a lad, phones were big plastic things attached to the wall in the hall and you had to sit on the stairs to use them.  Now you can use them for taking pictures, watching videos and shuffling between two thousand tracks of music you stole off the internet and now scanning film – probably the ultimate marriage between analogue and digital.  After reading about it on An Amateur’s Journey, I thought I’d give it a go.

I downloaded the app which uses the phone’s camera to take a picture of the film negative and then converts it into a positive.20130803_195832

First one, not so good.  The camera can’t focus.  I need some sort of back light.


For the second attempt, I put the film strip against the computer’s monitor.  Better but it shows the lines near the bottom.

This attempt involves a desk lamp and holding the film up with a sheet of A4 behind it.  The paper gives an interesting effect but it’s not a great scan.20130803_202610This attempt involves a Galaxy tab.  I used a lightbox app on the tab and put the film on top and photographed it.  However there is a moire effect here. This is because I took the phone as close as possible

20130803_202849This try uses the lightbox app again bit I held the phone further away to avoid the moire.  Finally, I decided to use the phone camera without the app put on negative effects and then take a picture using the lightbox technique:

20130804_092524aThis method gives me a much bigger file size and its easier to edit but the image is a bit flat and lacks the punch of the app images.  So, overall not as good as the original scan of this film which is here, but this is an interesting method especially since I could vary the means of illumination for the film.

Author: mostlymonochrome

7 thoughts on “Scanning the 21st Century Way”

  1. I use an Ipad and iphone to take shots of my 4 x 5 negs to get a rough Idea of what to expect when I print them, the quality is not great but is cheaper that getting a scanner than will do a neg that size.


  2. Interesting variations! But of course I like the real scanned ones way better 😉
    I have similar experiences with a backlight app for the iPad, so now I only use it to get a first impression of my pictures before I can scan them at work…



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