I was sent this in the post yesterday so wanted to try it out straight away.
Welcome The Pixl-Latr!!
After trying it I would like to use one of my favourite phrases…Occum’s Razor. Ok, so it doesn’t exactly fit, but this device solves a problem in the most simple way imaginable.
How to scan negatives if you can’t afford a fancy scanner or you scanning plate is too small? How do you hold the negatives flat? How do you avoid Newton rings?
Well, Hamish has kickstarted this product that answers all those questions in the most simple way ever.
To be fair when I first saw the product in the flesh, I thought…this is never going to work, it is far too simple. How many times can I use simple in a blog post??
BUT then I remembered some 5×4 negatives that I have never been able to scan properly. I tried using my ipad and got newton rings, I didn’t have a holder and light source to try anything else. So I dug out those negatives and got to trying the Pixl-Latr.
I tried my ipad as a light source and placed the Pixl-Latr on top. It was ok, but the ipad really wasn’t as strong a light source as I wanted. While doing that I saw my bedside lamp…a lamp with a + button to increase the light.
Perfect. Ok, now to take a photo.
First I used my phone, a Huawei P20 pro. For 5×4 and 120 I found I could get close enough to get a good resolution, but I wobbled around so much it was tricky to get my phone to accurately stay in focus. A tripod for my phone would have been handy at this point. For 35mm and that phone, this issue was exacerbated. So I switched from using the phone camera to an app specifically made for this project, Photo Negative Scanner. This app seems to make it easier and it works out the exposure much more accurately. Then to top it all, it can send the shot directly to Snapseed for post processing.
So how were my results using my phone and this app?
The first two photos are 5×4 sheets taken on a victorian camera. The second 2 are 35mm negatives.
Then I decided to try the same set up but with a DSLR with a vintage macro lens attached.
This camera’s digital display is set to shows red pixels when focus has been achieved. Plus I could increase the speed to avoid camera shake, or I could use a tripod of course. This set up made everything much easier.
I then used Acorn on my Macbook for post processing. While doing this I remembered some images I was trying to scan on my Canoscan last week. They were 35mm negatives taken in a Holga 120 CFN, so panoramic. BUT, when I tried using the 35mm holder it cut off the sprockets, the best part. When I tried using the 120 holder, the Canoscan could not scan it with the sprockets due to the exposure being way out. How about the Pixl-latr?
Ok, so my overall review. This product is way more fiddly to use than my Canoscan. But it is also more adaptable too. The Pixl-latr can scan any size of negative 5×4 and under, how you use it is up to you. I liked my bedside lamp and the Sony A37 with a Tamron Adaptall lens attached, but an ipad is fine. Also, when I returned to the UK from Japan I had to leave my scanner there, and buy a new one here. This product would have solved that problem. It is totally portable and useable with minimum equipment. And the best thing about it, the price…it is very cheap compared to an actual scanner set up. If you are just getting into film and starting to develop your own film, this is the perfect product for you. If you want to use a DSLR then this is a brilliant little, adaptable holder.