Friday, August 15, 2008

Scanning prints - inexpensively

I have negatives for the thousands of prints sitting in a waterproof box in a protected closet in an upstairs bedroom.

At the current rate of scanning we'll scan them all by 2140.

I think I'm going to use this service Pogue reviewed (he warns of a hideous web site) ...
State of the Art - Your Photos, Off the Shelf at Last -

... ... says it will professionally scan 1,000 photos for you, the same day it receives them, and put them on a DVD for $50.

So what’s the catch?

Actually, no catch, but lots of fine print.

ScanMyPhotos relies on a certain commercial Kodak scanning machine, which processes hundreds of photos a minute. There’s no reason other companies couldn’t buy the same machine and set up similar services. Indeed, some have, although most charge 12 to 16 cents a photo, compared with the 5-cent ScanMyPhotos rate.

Because it must feed your photos through this machine, ScanMyPhotos has set some rules. Photo sizes can range from 3 by 3 inches (Polaroids) to 11 by 14.

The photos must be put into similar-size bundles (4-by-6 prints together, for example) with rubber bands. The only way to label the batches is to write on [same sized - jf] index cards, which are scanned along with the photos like title cards. If you want the bundles scanned in a certain sequence, you can number the index cards...

There is also, however, the terror of sending away your valuable photographs. ScanMyPhotos asserts that it has scanned more than eight million customer photos, and has never lost or damaged a single one. But there’s always a first time; consider the fate of, a rival company. In May, a fire burned its headquarters to the ground, destroying almost everything inside — including some customers’ original photos.

Yet there’s a risk of doing nothing, too. Photos kept in a dry, cool and dark place don’t deteriorate nearly as quickly as audiotape, videotape and film reels. In fact, properly stored, they can last a century or more. But because photos are still susceptible to a wide variety of destructive or negligent forces, the ScanMyPhotos service could turn out to be the best $50, plus shipping and optional services, you’ll ever spend...
If my prints are lost, I can scan the negs.

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