Cheapest way to transfer photo negatives to CD?

hale_boppJune 1, 2010

Hi all!

I have loads and loads of photo negatives that need to be transferred to CD or something. What's the cheapest way to do it? (I don't want to purchase a little machine thingy that I do myself. I'd be here for a year, LOL!)

Who does this service?

Blessings and thank you!

Haley

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jemdandy

Since you do not wish to do this yourself, you'll have to search for a service. When you locate a service, you can query them for price. Prices vary from region to region, so your best bet is to ask for yourself. The cost at my location would not apply to your location.

You did not say what size negatives you wish to have scanned. If these are 35 mm strips, these will be the least expensive since automatic equipment exists to handle the film. Beware though, the results may be disappointing because on many of these automatic machines, the operator takes read the first good frame and that becomes the settiong for the entire strip. The settings could be far off for many of the frames.

If you negatives are larger than 35 mm, manual handling is likely required and this will increase the cost, but the results may be better.

The software that came with my older HP scanner (8 yrs old) does a credible job on negatives, both B/W and Color. To do an acceptabe job on film as samll as 35 mm, the scanner must have fine resolution. A tiny spec of dirt gets magnified.

The job gest tougher if there are finger prints on the film. Negativs should always be handled by the edges only, but if that rule has not been followed, then subsequent scans may be poor no matter show does the job.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 5:02PM
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pammyfay

I recently sent some slides to ScanDigital for scanning onto a DVD. I did a bit of research into several similar scanning services, and I came to the conclusion that they were my best bet.

Granted, it's a place in Calif., so you have to figure out whether you're OK with shipping your stuff off somewhere. If you're near their office, you could drop them off, but usually that's not the case. I was NOT happy with sending my stuff too far away: Scan Cafe ships stuff to India for scanning. (Although I guess anything can get lost anywhere). So do your research, and email places to ask them what their cleaning process and whether, as jemdandy warns, they use the first automatic setting for all the rest.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 7:38PM
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janie_ga

Jemdandy, what type of scanner and do you remember the brand name of the software?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2010 at 8:29PM
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jemdandy

My scanner is an HP Scanjet 5370Cse. I either bought the model with a top light, or purchased one as an accessory. The sensors are under the glass plate (on the moving head). Therefore, light must be passed from the top down through transparent photo media. The top light accessory provides this illumination and holds the negative masks. B/W negatives, color negatives, and color transparencies all use the top light. The bottom light is turned off when using the top light. (I had an all-in-one printer that had a top light built into the lid and that was much more convenient. Unfortunately, that printer began to fail last year and has been replaced.)

The use of the top light is a bit awkward and not conducive to high production. It is best for a session of not more than 20, maybe 50, images per sitting. The negatives must be carefully positioned in the mask. Care must be exercised to keep finger prints off the image portion of the media. Slides and negatives should be handled by the edges only. Dirt and finger prints can be a problem. A spec of dirt on a 35 mm negative will make a magnified black dot on the copy. The most difficult negative to handle is a strip of 35 mm film that has been wrapped around a cardboard oblong and stored for several years. The film will have a permanent bends and is difficult to get it to lay flat.

However, I did like the results and the degree of color balance adjustment control. The software was included with either the top light accessory or was on the printer driver disk. There is a learning curve until you understand how each feature works, and then after that, it is quite enjoyable.

There is another option for 35 mm format: Use your digital camera. Nikon and possibly other makes offer a copy accessory with illumination. Getting even illumination across the entire film, and having a proper color content, is critical for copy work. Hobbyist do make their own fixtures, but this is ok for the experimenter. If you wish to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time, stick with the manufacturers fixture.

An advantage of using your camera is that the image is already stored as a digital file. Also, the cost is very low. Blown shots cost nothing. Merely erase these, adjust, and shoot again. The camera's screen can be used to make a cursory check on the image quality captured. I have a relative who copied 3000 frames and photos using his digital camera as a copy machine. These were professional shots made in exoitic locations for magazines, ads, and catalogs.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 3:40AM
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iowagirl2006

I have an Epson flatbed scanner. The Model # is V200, but there are newer models out there that are similar. HP has some nice ones to - most are under $100.

I have used mine extensively for scanning slides. It is also a great copier.

I just tried scanning a strip of 35 mm negative.

It is very easy to do!

The scanning tray is stored inside the lid. You remove the inside cover (the top cover blocks the top light for regular scanning). The tray holds a negative strip on one side, or 4 slides on the other.

It has diagrams on the scanning tray that shows you how to put the negative or slides in correctly - and which way to position it on the scanner bed - it has spots to hold everything, so nothing is crooked.

Select "Scan Negative Film" from the scanner software.

Press the scan button and it scans each frame individually, puts it in its own file, and goes on to the next until the strip is done. My strips are only 4 frames long - but the tray will hold a longer negative strip.

It took 4 minutes to complete. But once I pressed the scan button, I went and got coffee while it worked - I can also do other things on my computer while it is scanning.

My scanner software also has some options for dust removal and color enhancement - they work great.

It wouldn't be bad to use to scan a bunch of slides/negatives if you spend much time at the computer and had some space to organize your project..but it wouldn't be a fun chore with "little ones" helping :)

I also have a new computer with lots of RAM and a fast processor. Makes ALL the difference if you are doing large amounts.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2010 at 10:01AM
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Jodi_SoCal

Hale Bopp, just in case you've changed your mind about scanning negs and photos yourself, check out this deal at Walmart.

Jodi-

Here is a link that might be useful: Pandigital Scanner/Converter

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 12:42PM
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hale_bopp

Thanks, Jodi!

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do, LOL! I did hear from one of my friends that there is a service here where I live and they do a great job, but I haven't called them yet.

Thanks for the link! I'll check it out! : D

Blessings,
Haley

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 7:18PM
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