In a previous post entitled Bridging the Generation Gap, I discussed my experiences with 35mm film/slide scanners, and the giant leap in quality and ease of use that has occurred over the past 15 years. Although the hardware and software that is used to accomplish this task has improved tremendously, the fact remains that the scanning process remains a tedious and time consuming task when a large quantity of images need to be digitized.
This same drawback to image scanning applies to the print world as well. While flatbed scanning hardware utilized in digitizing photographic prints has made gains in speed and quality over the past decade which parallels the progress made in the film/slide scanning arena, it is still a slow and tedious process to go through a collection of photographs and digitize them on today’s consumer flatbed scanning equipment. As a result, those of us with a large collection of photographic prints usually end up with the bulk of the images stored away in photo albums or shoeboxes, and only a few of the images actually get digitized, mostly on an as-needed basis.
One solution to this dilemma is to hire the services of a photo lab to scan our photographs for us. The problem is, the cost of having a lifetime worth of photographs digitized is very expensive, and most of us beat a hasty retreat from this option once we discover what the total cost will be to digitize our entire collection of photographs. If only someone would devise a way around this problem, we might all choose to put our entire collection of pictures on a disc. Well, someone has come up with a solution, and it is worth looking into if you have a sizable number of prints to digitize.
I am refering to the service offered through www.scanmyphotos.com. Using high-speed scanning equipment produced by Kodak and originally marketed to government entities for scanning large quantities of documents, the photo lab has cut the price of digitizing prints to a mere fraction of that offered by traditional photo labs.
To begin the process, you contact the company via their web site (www.scanmyphotos.com) and complete an order form. The company will then send you a postage pre-paid box that you fill with photographs and return to them for scanning. The company will scan your photographs and return them to you, along with the digital files on a disc. Additionally, they will upload your photo files to a web site that you can then use to share the pictures with friends and family.
So, how affordable is this service? It depends upon the quantity of photos that you want scanned. As of this writing, www.scanmyphotos.com offers two options:
A) Fill the provided shipping box with up to 1000 photographs, and the total cost of the service is $49.95.
B) Fill the provided shipping box with as many photographs as you can fit into the container, and the total cost is $99.95.
At these prices, it is now within the realm of possibility for all of us to digitize our entire collection of photographs without spending an unreasonable amount of time or money on the process.