ScanCafe: Scanning is complete!

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Ready to review emailThe negatives I sent to ScanCafe have been scanned! For those of you who haven’t been following along, ScanCafe is a negative scanning service I am testing anonymously with a shoebox of wedding negatives I’ve had lying around since 1997. I sent my negatives to them on November 9th, scanning in their India facility began on November 30th, and the scans were ready for review on December 14th.

Last week I received an email from ScanCafe letting me know that my scans were ready. But when I went to the site, only about half of the negatives I sent in were scanned! That was scary. My initial reaction was that they’d lost half of my negatives. Unfortunately, I can’t give high marks for customer service since it took about 4 days before I could get an explanation. This may have something to do with communication between ScanCafe headquarters and their scanning facility in Bangalore, but I’m just speculating. Ultimately, the missing negatives were scanned. Here’s the explanation I received from ScanCafe:

First of all we apologize for the delay in responding to your issue. We just receive a confirmation from our Imaging center that all your images (189) are now uploaded to your account.

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ScanCafe negative scanning progress (Nov 30)

Scanning progress continues. The process may be going slowly—although, I personally don’t care… these negatives have been in storage for 12 years—but ScanCafe does an excellent job of keeping you in the loop. They let me know that a technician had opened my box and was actually starting to scan my negatives.

ScanCafe progress

I got this email today:

We have assigned a technician to digitize your images and in the process we found that you have sent in negatives to us that needs to be cut into strips of 1 to 2 images in order to process them. Kindly confirm if you are fine with cutting the negative strips so that we can process your media. However, if you do not wish to cut them, we will not be able to scan them and therefore will ship them back to you as is.

I sent them medium format negatives in strips of 4 frames. I told them to cut them—carefully—as needed for the scanning process. I really appreciate that they asked first although it would have been nice if they’d also mentioned it on the ordering page.

Continue reading ScanCafe negative scanning progress (Nov 30)

ScanCafe negative scanning progress

ScanCafe logoFollowing up on my previous post about scanning some old negatives with ScanCafe. I dragged my feet and didn’t send them in until this past Monday. I was able to snag a 20% discount though so my total estimate for scanning 200 medium format negs came to $204.20 ($0.99 ea + $0.19 ea for TIFF format + shipping, etc.).

Before I sent my scans to ScanCafe, I also sent several of them to Brian Auer at Epic Edits. Brian, film scanning expert extraordinaire, scanned them using his CanoScan so that we could compare ScanCafe vs doing it yourself.

ScanCafe charges you half  up front, ships your negatives to their overseas scanning facility, lets you pick the ones you want online, then sends it all back to you. Just got an email today saying they’ve received my negatives—the process has begun. They estimate they’ll have my scans ready to view by December 27th (yes, it takes a while).

ScanCafe Order Status

I didn’t tell them I was a writer for a photography blog and I’m getting my own negatives scanned at my expense so that I can provide you with a realistic and objective view of how their service works.

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Negative scanning with ScanCafe

After a bunch of failed attempts with my ancient el cheapo scanner, I’ve decided to have a bunch of old medium format negatives (120/220) scanned professionally. I’ve all but decided on ScanCafe—haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Great prices… $0.99 each for medium format negatives. But even better, they’ll scan all 200 negatives, let me review them, and then I only have to pay for the ones I actually want—with the caveat that I have to buy at least half.

Interesting twist: they send the photos to a facility they’ve built in India. That’s how they can get a technician to scan and personally inspect/retouch each negative at such low prices. Downside: looks like it might be around 8 weeks before I see my scans (and get back my originals). But, these negatives have been sitting around since 97 so it’s not like I’m in a hurry.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Have you used ScanCafe or any other professional negative/print scanning service?

ScanCafe – Photo Scanning, Negative Scanning,

Continue reading Negative scanning with ScanCafe

Converting Film Negatives to Digital with ScanDigital.com

NegativesIf you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a shoebox (or maybe even a slightly more elaborate storage system) full of old negatives from your film days. I’ve been casually thinking about scanning some of my old negatives and especially the negatives from my wedding to preserve them. Negatives can be stored for decades but I don’t store mine in anything near ideal conditions. In theory, digital images can be stored forever (assuming you’ve got a good backup process in place… you do backup your files, don’t you?)

The trouble with scanning negatives is that it’s cumbersome and, if you care about the quality, the equipment can be quite expensive. Your average consumer-grade desktop scanner with negative scanning unit will do in a pinch but it won’t match anything near the quality or speed of a dedicated negative scanning machine. And you’ve still got to deal with dust and scratches on the negatives which must be cleaned and inspected and… well, you get the idea. It’s a pain.

So I was pleased to hear about a service called ScanDigital.com (www.scandigital.com) which aims to takes all of the hassle and pain out negative scanning.

Continue reading Converting Film Negatives to Digital with ScanDigital.com