1. the photo lab misses a few frames. I don't know why, but maybe it has something to do with the scanning mask they use.
2. non standard sized negatives from cameras such as Sprocketrocket, DianaF+ 35mm back square w/ sprockets and panorama w/sprockets and Diana mini tipster (get around 50 shots on a reg 36 exp roll).
3. save money
4. save time (with some labs you get the negatives after a few hours but if you want the scans, I'll take a week)
5. more control (adjust exposure, color levels, contrast etc.)
Initially, I was pining for Lomography's smartphone film scanner since it can scan 'everything' (yup, it can even scan 120mm) but the cost is prohibitive (about $80 if I get it from a local authorized seller), so I ended up buying a non-lomography one and I'm glad I did. Then I fell in love with sprockets, unfortunately my trusty non-branded scanner couldn't handle that.
So, I ended up obsessing over Lomography's Smartphone Scanner again. (Got it discounted for about $45, tax included) To give you the low down, it does what it's supposed to do but not in an 'instant'. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, bear in mind that I used an android phone with a 13MP front camera. The 'quality' of the scans may depend on the dynamic range, MP size, brand of the phone camera and software used.
The Smartphone Scanner is quick! Just attach your phone and 'feed' the film and you're all set, unlike with the unbranded scanner wherein you have to attach it to the laptop, make sure there are no artifacts (dust) on your scanning field and then cut negatives or find a creative way to mount a uncut roll of film.
Both are the same, you get an 'image' with a click of a button.
Negative to Positive:
Ayayay! This is where it makes a whole world of difference. With the unbranded one, once the image is on the scanning field it's already 'inverted' when you see it on the screen. There are no color casts!
With the LomoScanner App, you only see the 'negative' on the screen and after the image is captured you see an inverted image with a very heavy blue color cast.
I used my android phones camera software and the color cast was lessened.
Using Helmut App, there was a barely there or absent blue color cast.
Among the 3 apps I've used Helmut App produced the best images. It's not that 'instant' since you'd have to adjust the dimensions of the negative to scan and wait for the image to be inverted, which will take a few seconds. If you are scanning several rolls of film that might make it cumbersome. If you are just scanning a few negatives and planning to post it on Instagram then I guess it serves it's purpose, just make sure you are using the Helmut App.
The biggest problem is the Lomoscanner App for Android!!! I hope they fix it soon.
Tried it several times, I couldn't get it to work with the Lomoscanner App. I just scanned the negatives from the SprocketRocket as a regular frame by removing the part where you attach the smartphone, placing the phone directly on the three plastic stacks and using a tablet as a lightbox, then inverted using Helmut.
Yay! I got my sprockets.
In a nutshell:
'good hardware, horrible software'
Get it or Forget it?
Depends on what you'll use it for...
As a back up scanner for when the lab missed a few frames? Get it!
To scan sprockets on a regular 35mm frame? Get it!
To scan panoramas? Maybe...
As a your one and only, primary film scanner? Forget it.