Pixl-latr Sprocket Gates

This is an updated post.

I was previously sent a set of prototype gates for the Pixl-latr. If you read this post before you will have seen that I received no information in the package, but the gates were stamped with Forester, so I went to the website I found on the net to see if there was more information. I couldn’t find any, so lucky me…I really did have a prototype.

I really wanted to take new photos of something interesting rather than just rescan negs I already had. Hence it took me a while to get to the project. Finally I managed to go to a local park for my allotted exercise walk. While there I took a few photos using my Holga 120CFN loaded with Ilford HP5 which I had rolled inside 120 spool and paper. Using the 35mm film this way would mean the sprockets would be exposed and I had the numbers on the paper to act as a guide when winding on.

As I arrived at the park at 1pm, it was starting to get dark so I decided to push the film to 800asa when developing it.

Ok, all done, now to use the gates.

I used the same set up as before, with my table lamp and my Sony A37. I haven’t got a stand yet, I am interested in the one featured in this post. That is a little way off yet though as I would need a different light source too.

As you can see the side gates that kept the negative on the diffusion plate are a little skewed on my set-up. Once I finished taking photos of the negs I used Acorn to crop, invert the colours, convert to greyscale, and adjust the curves. It really didn’t take long.

When I first saw the results, and considering the skewed gates, I thought…well this is crap. The photos have an obvious issue in the middle where they are out of focus, meaning they were not flat. The gates were just not tight enough.

But look at the writing, it is sharp all the way through. That means the “bend” occurred inside the camera not on the Pixl-Latr. To test this theory I then scanned the negs with my Canoscan.

Yeap, it occurred inside the camera. So that issue aside, how was the Pixl-latr and the sprocket gates.

They were ok, but as I said they did sit a bit squiffy, the side gates needed to be a little tighter, but other than that everything went to plan. Have a look at some other examples below, along with the canoscan equivalent.

The canonscan seemed to cut a little too much off and are slightly softer. So, if you don’t have a film with the bend issue that I have, these gates would be a pretty good way to scan the film quickly and efficiently, squiffy or not.


After posting the original review I received a message asking if I would like to try the sprocket gate prototypes version two…well, yes please.

The gates arrived within a few days and I could see the difference, a rather clever adjustment to the design.

The top and the bottom gates now have an indentation which allows the side gates to be pushed into place. They actually kind of click into place a little. As you can see they do not slide down at all and sit absolutely straight. This allows them to hold the negative flatter against the diffusion plate.

So off I set, on a dull, rainy, lockdown day to try and take some photos that showed the sprockets. Unfortunately I decided to use my Diana F+ instead of my Holga. It just didn’t work as well. Even though I pushed the film from 400 to 800, they were very underexposed and blurred. I used the pixl-latr, my phone and snapseed to get something from them.

Terrible, so to give a fairer review I decided to dig out some old negatives to try.

Much better. Well, now I have a super way to scan sprockets I might have to invest in a sprocket-rocket or something. I used to have a few 127 cameras which worked really well to show sprockets, that might be a cheaper option. I should have kept at least one of those, but who knew someone would come along with such an easy way to scan the sprockets of 35mm film.

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