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June 9th, 2008

Digitally archiving photos

As I’ve been on a bit of a family history-preservation kick over the last year or two, starting with archiving old family films and kick-starting our family tree, I’m now giving some thought to archiving pre-digital camera photos. Sure, there’s always the option of slapping photos on a flatbed scanner and going to work, but I’m not going to get archival quality scans and there are lots of pictures that may not have been printed. Plus, it’s a pain in the butt.

So I kicked around the idea of buying a negative/slide scanner. Some consumer-grade ones aren’t that expensive, but again: do I really want to take the time to go through all the family negatives? It’ll never get done. And, I don’t really need something else sitting on my desk taking up space.

At this point, I’m considering the very affordable ScanCafe, who will scan negatives for 19 cents a piece and provide them to you at 3000dpi on DVD. Not bad. You’d have to scan thousands and thousands of negatives before it even approached the cost of the scanner they use. And the time. Oh, the time.

The only thing that makes me a little nervous is the mailing of the negatives. It’s not going to cost much because, hey, negatives are light. But even a $1000 guarantee doesn’t make me worry less about these things getting lost in transit. I’ll probably spring a few extra bucks to make sure it’s shipped in a reliable and trackable (ie. NOT USPS) fashion.

Does anyone have any experience with places like ScanCafe?

Posted in Everyday Life, Technology

Maria June 9, 2008, 6:03 pm

I bought a scanner with negative/slide capabilities awhile back and hardly ever use it. One tip I would give you if you go that route is to make sure you clean off all the minuscule dust particles from the negatives prior to scanning. That was my biggest downfall. Considering the time factor, I’d probably rather pay someone to do the scanning.

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