Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

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I have a low cost USB negatives scanner that is operated manually by passing the negatives in a tray through it and scanning one by one. The quality looks good enough - for old everyday leisure photos mostly taken on compacts, nothing of precision here. The sensor is 5M pixel and colour depth per channel (RGB) is 10 bits.

Spending money to save time (scarce)

The alternative option for me is to get the negatives digitized by a service, and Boots and Jessops in the UK offer such a service at a price point that I'm happy to use: between 5-8 pounds per 24 or 36 frames. I have many packs of frames, multiples of 10.

My spare time is very limited. So I am seriously considering a service, to spend money to save time as I am able and willing to afford this.

Care of developer handling negatives

Regarding concerns one might have over loss of precious memories at a developer: 1) I have the best shows from the negatives in print form and 2) Both services offer 1 hour turnaround service which makes it unlikely that they would get "lost in the post", for example.


Once the process is done and I am happy with the results, I will discard the negatives and any prints. I am currently in the advanced stages of digitizing all my documents if their paper form is not mandatory, or simply discarding non-essential material without digitizing. My place is increasingly minimalist by the week :)

My question is: do you think the results of the service would be at least as good as doing it manually at home? Regarding quality?

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Why don't you try it? Scan one of your negatives yourself and get the same negative scanned by the service. After that you can compare. –  asalamon74 Feb 24 '12 at 9:10
+1 @salamon makes sense. I will do that. –  robservodavista Feb 24 '12 at 9:21
I have heard good reports about scancafe.com from some colleagues of mine who've used them. –  James Youngman Feb 25 '12 at 1:02
+1 Thanks but this is U.S. based - useful for US readership though :) –  robservodavista Mar 7 '12 at 12:27
I used Boots in the UK - Southampton City Centre branch. I am very happy with the results. In summary the quality level, service and price were good enough. (I don't work for them). I will add more detail here a little later. –  robservodavista Mar 7 '12 at 12:31
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2 Answers

I worked in a professional lab for 15 years. With a modern high quality scanner (like the Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner) there will be very little difference between what you get at home and what you get from the lab. The real area where the difference exists is the final product. At Miller's (the lab I worked at), we had every scan cleaned up by a professional Photoshop artist. Any scratches or dust spots were removed and the color was corrected by quality control before the file was finished. If there was a problem, such as damage or severe degradation, they would contact the customer and ask if the customer would like more extensive clean up and restoration. Those are things you just won't get with a home scanner. Additionally, check with your lab to see what level of service they provide when they scan. If there's no clean up or color corrections, then don't waste your money on them when you could do it yourself.

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It seems like you didn't read the question and you are only answering based on the title: 1. The home option is a cheap "toy" negative scanner not an high end Epson scanner. 2. The lab has a 1 hour turnaround time so (unless they are really quick with Photoshop) there's no retouching 3. the asker want to this because he doesn't have time to home-scan not because of the quality so "don't waste your money on them when you could do it yourself" is, well, just not an appropriate answer. –  Nir May 5 '13 at 8:08
I upvoted your comment as I think it was helpful for me. When someone is looking for an answer, they might not have the specific details of this question. I found this question while looking for a link for a friend. I tried to make my answer general to fit a broader scope. You do have a good point though. I should have added this in my original answer. Thanks! –  B-Rell May 5 '13 at 15:02
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I would stay away from using the word "always" as exceptions certainly exist. I would assume that the quality of scanners in most shops is much higher quality then your basic negative scanner, but why don't you just ask them what quality the scans are? Most shops that are legitimate have different levels of scans depending all on what you want(and price of course).

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+1 Good point about the quality level of scans, I hadn't thought about that. However, this was not discussed when I made enquiries in the shop so wouldn't think that there are any options regarding that. But thankyou. –  robservodavista Feb 24 '12 at 9:20
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