35mm DigitaLIZA – special but not so special (as the 120)

On Sunday I had the opportunity to see my 13 year old nephew play football, against my local village (Menston) team, so abandoned the rangefinders and went to an SLR – my Contax AX – with a long lens. However, I’ll have to wait a while to finish the roll of Rollei (Agfa) Retro 400S I loaded because after a few shots I was told I couldn’t take photographs. I’ll say no more here but I’ll probably have a rant on my other blog – grumpytyke – about how ridiculous the UK has become – unchallenged paedophilia close to bringing the BBC down while keen photographer relatives cannot take photos of fully-dressed (in football strip) boys.

As a result of not having the ‘football’ film to develop, I managed to spend a little time on Sunday with the 35mm DigitaLIZA and, as I suspected, unlike the 120 version which I concluded to be an excellent general purpose flat-bed scanner mask for this size of film and especially for 6×9 exposures, the 35mm is in my opinion a special purpose item. What is more, I can see why it’s come out of the lomography stable.

York market, exposure scanned in DigitaLIZA without end gripped

York market, exposure scanned in DigitaLIZA with end of the exposure gripped

It has been widely promoted as producing scans which include the sprocket holes (I’ve cropped them out in the scans above). There are, of course, other ways to do this and unless you’re doing it frequently I don’t think it’s worth buying a special piece of kit for it. I can’t think why you’d want to do it frequently; there are sometimes good creative reasons for including sprocket holes, but it’s been done to death.

A much better reason for using the 35mm DigitaLIZA is for the kind of use which Marie (LightHouseBlues) pointed out in a comment on my post of Saturday 10 November – ie, when there are overlapping exposures or, of course, any shot which spans more than 36mm wide.

Like the 120 version, the 35mm DigitaLIZA works best when the strip is longer than the open part of the frame – ie longer than 6 ‘normal’ 36mm exposures. In order to show the sprocket holes, the width of film clamped at the sides is pretty slim so ideally the strip should have plenty of film to grip at each end.

The two scans above are from a strip of 3 exposures at the end of the roll (for the record, York market, Kodak 400TMax in an Olympus XA). In the first, the end opposite the exposure was gripped by the DigitaLIZA but the end of the exposure in question was free. Being unclamped across the end, the film bowed down across the width, resulting in the dark stripes. In the second scan the strip was moved to the other end of the DigitaLIZA frame, and so was gripped across the width at the end. Now the film is flat and scans perfectly.

As I concluded with the 120 version, generally I’d scan a film before cutting it into 6 exposure equivalent lengths for storage.

So, for strips of of 36×24 exposures the DigitaLIZA doesn’t seem to me to have any advantage as a general scanning mask, perhaps a disadvantage, compared to the Epson mask and as it can only handle 6 conventionally sized exposures at a time is much more time consuming to use. A dedicated 35mm scanner is even easier and faster, of course, even an old one like my Minolta Dimage Dual Scan II, and its resolution is absolutely sufficient for pictures published on a blog, or elsewhere on the internet and more is surely needed only if someone wanted to make very large prints.

Having said all that, I do have a vague project to make a panoramic 35mm camera producing exposures 18cm wide. If it ever comes to fruition the 35mm DigitaLIZA will come into its own.