Digitizing old photos

kim_in_cintiNovember 1, 2007

I'd like to convert my old photos to digital images for easy storage & duplication, and for protection against further fading over time.

I don't know the best way to do this. Here are options I'm considering:

1) Buy a really good scanner and scan each and every one myself

2) Have "the professionals" do it

I'd like to learn pros and cons of each. And if I do it myself, some scanner make/model recommendations would be happily received. If I send it somewhere, would you recommend a mail-away service, or is it better to find a local store that can do it?

I'd truly appreciate any suggestions or considerations!

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Buy a good scanner! The 'all in one' scanner/printers do a fine job, but there are stand alone scanners that do a much better job. check review at cnet.com for reviews.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 4:38PM
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I have a high-end Cannon scanner and it does a pretty good job. The benefits of owning a scanner are obvious, do the work at home at your convenience.

One thing you did not mention as an option--use a professional scanner and do your own.

In my experience the professional scanners give better results than home scanners. Some Targets have scanners, Kinko/FedEx and most copy shops have them. You scan the photos and choose CD's or reprints. Very reasonable prices and good results.

The photo below of the quarter horse filly was taken with a 35mm film camera and scanned to CD at Target. The second photo of my garden was scanned at home with the Cannon. Difference is obvious.


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 8:09AM
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Thank you so much for the replies I've received so far! I checked out cnet.com and found 1-2 models that I felt suited this project. But I also appreciated Marnie's posting of the two pictures. And yes, I could definitely see the difference between the two.

It is possible that, before I commit to one way or the other, I might do a test run of a dozen photos--scanning them in a borrowed home scanner AND scanning them on a professional machine AND having a 3rd party handle it. Then I can compare the outcomes & cost before embarking on the task and cost of digitizing thousands of photos.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:34AM
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Just out of curiosity, what model of Canon scanner do you have?


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 3:46PM
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Marnie, I'm curious about which Canon you have, too. The comparison would be better if we could see both results with the same picture. (No, I'm not asking you to start over.) :-)

I bought a Canon 9950 because of reviews and its ability to scan slides and various sizes of negatives. I should have waited, because room remodeling has prevented me from using it. I haven't even opened it yet! But I have big plans....


    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 7:27PM
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Mine is a CanoScan 9900 I think (I'm at work and scanner is at home.) I am scanning very old family photos and this was reviewed as an excellent scanner for that purpose. If I can remember to find the photo of the filly, I'll scan it at home on the Canon and compare.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2007 at 8:32AM
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If you go with professional services, send a few photos as a test prior to sending everything you have.

When it comes to purchasing a quality scanner to do it yourself, the decision may come down to just how many photos you want to convert. Do the math before you jump!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:06AM
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Your camera can be used to scan 35mm slides. What is needed is a frame to hold the slides at a proper, macro photo, distance from the camera lens and a light source. The light is critical for color temperature and even illumination across the slide. Some camera manufacturers offer such equipment including the light source.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 4:34AM
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Hi, I recently scanned this photo of our son, we have an HP scanner, can also do slides on it. I'm pretty happy with it. Just another bit of info for ya!!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 6:59AM
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