Where can I find a good slide scanning service?
July 11, 2005 12:10 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a good slide-scanning service?

I got a friend to take pictures of a recent project, and he did a great job, except he used slide film. Now I have a bunch of slides (107 to be exact) and I'd like to find a way to digitize them and share them. I'm assuming the cheapest way to do this is hire someone to scan all slides. Is there a cheaper/better way? Does anyone have any recommendations for slide scanning services? What should I be looking for when hiring a company?
posted by geryon to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It depends on the size (mm) of the slides. I'm talking out of my butt because I deal in only casual scanning, but over the years I have used a formula like this:

((# of scans) * (average cost of 3 vendors scanning)) - ($cost of buying my own scanning unit of comparable spec) = $foo

If $foo is greater than $0, it makes more sense to buy the unit. If not, makes more sense to shop it out. For the amount you are scanning, depending on the size and the quality desired, it might go both ways.

To wit, 2 times I have sent the scan jobs out, to wonderful results, the last, I bought my own drum (negatives). Let me be very clear: Try to find a photographer or otherwise passionate person for your scanning needs. I got bids from several teenagers at print houses, and ended up going with a photographer I found on a website who had bought one of the $$$ scanning drums I was after. He did the whole job for 3/5 the cost of the shops and he seemed to take a personal interest in doing it, which was a plus.

How to find such a guy? I'll admit I googled. I took the sexy machine model number that I wanted to do the scans with, and googled around for scanning and scanning services till I found a few guys who did it. They'll be proud to say "I use Canon 1.2Jigawatts for my scanning" and you'll be informed to go Ok, I want this and this and this, on CDs, how much?

posted by cavalier at 6:27 AM on July 11, 2005

I have an Epson Perfection 3170 scanner, which can scan four 35mm slides at a time. This is probably the cheapest half decent slide scanner around - I paid £120 for it from Amazon, but I'm pretty sure they're cheaper outside the UK (they're $160 from Amazon US). You're then paying $1.60 per slide, but at least you get to keep the scanner afterwards, and as well as being a good hi-res normal flat-bed A4 scanner, it can scan 35mm and medium format negatives.
posted by nylon at 6:46 AM on July 11, 2005

May I suggest you use your local high end photo lab. A lot of the professional film processing and printing labs are doing pretty poorly (financially) since the turn of the digital age. These labs take great pride in high quality work and will generally do a great job scanning your slides. Go with a pro, not some teenager at wallmart.
posted by trbrts at 7:55 AM on July 11, 2005

If you were of questionable moral fiber you could buy a $200-600 slide scanner at your local electronics store and return it when you were done. The Minolta Dimage Scan Dual IV goes for $250 at MicroCenter.

You could buy something flat out but used. Going to ebay's section for scanners and searching on 'slide' turns up a lot of stuff. Ancient items (which will likely still work fine - even the dino Nikon L1000 is a great scanner with high dpi) that you need SCSI interfaces for as well as newer items that will do USB.

Googling 'slide scan' comes up with these google sponsored ads. No idea what their quality is.

29¢ Slide/Neg Scanning
2,000 dpi and higher. Premium
Quality. Free FedEx Delivery.

Slide Scanning to CD/DVD
4000 dpi slide scans using Nikon
Scanners & Digital ICE4 enhancement

Got Slides?
Give new life to those old pictures
The Leading Slide Scanning Service

35mm Slides to Digital
Trusted Slides, Photos, etc. to
Digital Conversion Service

Slide Scanning - 29 cents
Affordable Digital Slide Scanning
35mm, 110, 126, 127 Formats

Quality, affordable film scanning
35mm & medium format film
posted by phearlez at 10:13 AM on July 11, 2005

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