I have a number of prints from South East asia in the 1960s and 70s (the film is long gone). The prints are clearly starting to fade, and I'd like high-fidelity scans of them before it's too late.

I'm tempted to go to the FedEx Kinkos down the street (run-of-the-mill office services store with a number of printers and scanners, etc..). Assuming they have scanners of decent fidelity (lets say > 200dpi), will the scanning process leave the prints significantly damaged, due in part to the bright light? Should I try instead to find a specialty photo store that has the specific equipment and expertise with this?


2 Answers 2


The scanning process shouldn't damage your prints in any perceptible way. If you were to scan them multiple (read hundreds) of times then there might be a noticeable effect.

I'd make sure you use a flatbed style scanner- not the document feeder, which can subject prints to mechanical stress. Even a flatbed requires some care if the prints are badly curled.

Scan at the highest reasonable resolution you can (you might not get a second chance). I'd go for at least 300 dpi if you think you'll be making new prints from the scans.


Don't forget, for less than $100, you can get a decent all in one printer with scanner, that likely does as good a job as the local officemart. Plus, you can control the conditions, cleanliness of the glass, and redo any that don't meet your specs. With enough prints it might break even.

I currently have a Brother MFC-J825DW, that supports 2400 x 2400 dpi natively (Interpolated is higher, but I worry about quality). Plus it scans wirelessly, which is cool.

If you want better quality than that, spend $200 and get a flatbed scanner like the Canon CanoScan 9600 for 9600x9600 resolution.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Depending on the value of your time, of course.... \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 1, 2012 at 19:29

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