top of page

easy 120 Development Blog - 2

Updated: May 30

We are delighted by the positive response from our community members and want to thank everyone who subscribes to the newsletter or reads our blog updates. In this article, we're delving into the development of the easy120. We'll discuss the inspiration behind the easy120, possible challenges we might encounter, and provide an update on our current progress and future steps. Additionally, we're releasing a video discussion between Arild and Klara. As a key member of the VALOI team primarily handling customer support, Klara is well-positioned to question Arild about some of the most frequently inquired features of the easy120. Their informal chat covers lessons learned from the easy35, the format's limitations, expectations regarding film holders, build quality, materials, and other exciting details. As always, we encourage you to share your thoughts or ask questions in the comment section.


The easy120 is not as obvious as you might first think: Sure, the form factor works very well on the easy35, but we have been doubtful that this can be scaled up to a larger size. With larger film sizes comes larger tubes, adding a lot of cost and weight. We don’t just want to bring ‘a’ product to the market, but one that is as universal as possible and as accessible as possible, within the constraints of the small market. Adding to this, we have to scale up the light source and choose one that provides enough coverage for a very large negative while also being affordable with high quality LEDs and light weight.

The next problem to tackle is stability on the lens and ergonomics: We of course have to make sure the product doesn’t rip apart your lens, so we need to save weight. However, we also have to make sure the product can be used comfortably without the camera ending up at a weird angle.

Finally, holders for the easy120 are more challenging than those for smaller formats because there is variation between film widths. The specification for 120 film dictates the backing paper width, not the film width, leading to different film widths with different manufacturers. This we have to account for while avoiding adding extra cost and complexity to the product - the beauty of the VALOI easy-lineup is that they are simple to use and just works so you can get on with your scanning.

Over the next few months we will be tackling these issues with new iterations and designs. Remember, that anything you see in here might not making it to the final product - we will be showing you success and failure, and we might not even know which is which until further into the development process.

What do we have so far?

The first goal was to learn more about how the sheer size of this product influences usability - if it felt too comical, it might no be acceptable to the final user. That’s why we built a first concept, based on the easy35 design. This is mostly 3D printed parts and is primarily to get a feeling for the size and ergonomics of scaling up the easy35.

Prototype 1, the current one, then became a way to test a new body design made out of thin sheet metal instead of plastic. Counterintuitively, this was done to cut cost at scale: While MJF additive manufacturing is great for the easy35, at the scale of the easy120, it simply is too expensive. The new body is therefore made from several pieces of sheet metal, cleverly bent to shape and assembled with some screws. This cuts costs when producing it at scale while also providing a more sturdy body, if done right at the same or lower weight than a plastic body would be.

What next?

There is a large number of things that need to be fall into place before we can release this product, despite it looking 90% like its final shape. Some of the first steps are to finalise the dimensions of, for example, the holders so we have some firm dimensional constraints to work around. Therefore, a lot of the design during this stage is simply making decisions. Are we going to make it compatible with slides? Which light source we are using? How many tubes are we going to include in the kit?

Other things top look at include:

  • Fix tolerance issues of the current body, improving the final look at fit

  • Finalise the decision on a light source

  • Redesign the film holders to be closer to manufacturing ready

  • Finalise the holder insert size based on film types, requirements for slides or other holder types

  • Work on minimising the size of the box in regards to the distance tubes

The standard holder is likely going to be a 6x9 holder. Do you think we should create different holders for the different MF formats? The benefit of having a dedicated 6x6 holder, for example, is slightly improved flatness.

9 комментариев

09 июн.

I have the easy35 and the extension tubes are my least favorite feature. I would like to suggest a different design, such as the way the vintage Olympus OM Extension Tube 65-116mm is made. This is a twist-lock, push-pull adjustable extension tube.


01 июн.

6x4,5 is the format I have, and I would prefer a dedicated holder for that format, if that’s the best way to secure that the film will be held absolutely flat.


30 мая

I'd like to recommend better flocking in the extension tubes to prevent inner reflections that cause a veiling glare depending on various factors (number of tubes, which macro lens is used, ...). If you put some extension tubes on the easy35 without a lens/camera attached, and turn on the light, then look down the tubes at the light, you'll see how reflective the inner surface of those tubes really is. At a shallow angle the blackened color and ribbing really does nothing much and most of the light from the light source is reflected. Proper flocking is dramatically more effective. Adhesive telescope flocking sheet material is readily available, but your manufacturer might also be able to apply electrostatic flocking directly…


29 мая

I would suggest sending a survey to your mailing list asking questions like which formats people shoot, which holders they want, etc.


29 мая

I would prefer seperate holders for each film format for better flatness.

bottom of page