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I have a one time opportunity to make copies of my kid's childhood pictures from the negatives as part of a divorce settlement. I'm not sure how many, but I'm guessing around 100 rolls. Emotionally I want copies as good as the originals, but in reality my bank account is going to top out between $500 and $1,000.

Is there anywhere left that would make 4x6 prints at that low a cost? If not, would I be better off buying a negative scanner?

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Not sure of your location, so can't really offer any specific stores/services, but developing/printing a roll of film is typically around $10-15 USD at a typical (chain/non-specialist-photo-lab) in the US. I'll bet you could negotiate a cheaper price with the manager of a specific store for 100 rolls at once. Prices usually include developing, so it may be cheaper for simply reprinting already developed film (haven't found any specific pricing for this though; it may be much the same due to labour though).

Plenty of places will scan film as well, and this can be a lot easier than doing it yourself (especially if they're colour-negatives). But for some reason scanning often seems to cost more than developing + printing.

One place that seems to come up a lot on here is ScanCafe, which I think would fit your budget.

Various other Photo.SE questions list may be helpful for this too if you go the DIY route:

  • Where I live, developing + printing is far cheaper than printing alone. As is developing + scanning cheaper than scanning alone. The main reason seems to be that, once the film is cut in strips, both printing and scanning require significantly more labor. – Edgar Bonet Apr 5 '14 at 12:04

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