Monday, October 04, 2010

Slide Scanning

You may have noticed that I occasionally post scans of slides here. I buy some on eBay and I bought a collection several years ago. The problem with slides is scanning them!

I have taken them to Wal-Mart for scans, and the results are OK but it is fairly expensive and the results are... disappointing. Right now you can have slides scanned to CD for 50 cents/slide (minimum 20) or have prints made at 97 cents/slide.

I tried a few slide adapters for my scanner but they don't work well. I had resigned myself to the occasional Wal-Mart trip until I heard of ScanCafe.

ScanCafe offers a by-mail service where you ship them your slides, they scan them (by hand), provide the scans online for review, then ship the original slides back with a CD or DVD containing the full-size images at 3000 dpi. "Interesting," thought I, and signed up.

Within a few days they sent me a coupon code, good for scanning about 150 slides for free... provided I pay the cost of shipping (via UPS). I decided to give it a shot.

I went through my collection and picked out about 150 slides (CN, CP and VIA with a smattering of American slides), boxed them up and sent them off via UPS. Since they are sent by UPS, you can track them to the destination in Burlingame, California. From there they are sent to their imaging center in Bangalore to be hand-scanned.

They have a handy status screen on their web site so you can track the progress of your order. I sent the slides on September 12 and they arrived on September 20 via UPS Ground. They are currently in the queue to be scanned and they are forecasting that I can review them online on November 12. Once I review them and pick the ones I like (you can discard up to 20%), they will burn them to DVD and ship the DVD and the original slides back to me. You are charged for the slides you choose.

It's not a speedy process but I think it is good for bulk scanning like I am doing. The price is good at 29 cents/slide (plus shipping). I look forward to the results, and of course you will see the results here on my web site.

Incidentally, they scan negatives and printed photos as well.

Check them out and see if you like them.

No comments: