Renting a scanner?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by janicem, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. HI! I need to scan old family photos.
    I also want to scan 110 and/or 35MM negatives to about 2005 when I went digital.
    I stopped at a local camera shop today and they charge $.50 PER PICTURE to scan it to a CD.
    We have other local shops and I know there are lots of national companies that will scan
    SHOEBOX photos for a much more affordable fee.
    What about RENTING an excellent quality scanner for the photos and the negatives?
    I would hope that I would only need it for a few days to a week.
    They are just too expensive to purchase.
    Any suggestions before my photos fade, get lost or get ruined by natural disasters, etc...???
    THANKS in advance for your time and help!
  2. I doubt you'll find anywhere that would rent out a high end scanner. They don't like being transported and require a decent amount of knowledge to operate to a high standard.
    Your best bet would be to buy one on your credit card, scan your negs and then sell it. You'll get back 90% of what you paid for it and won't need to shell out any of your own money to buy it. It will work out cheaper than renting.
    By the way, I woudn't worry about the lifespan of your negatives, they will outlast ANY digital storage method.
  3. If you have never a lot of photos or negatives before, I would imagine that you are in for more than a few days to a week in terms of time commitment. It can be a time consuming process if you want to get good results. There's also a learning curve, in terms of time spent actually learning the scanner software. Just offering that to keep in mind.
    That said, you might be able to find a place that will rent time on scanner or rent an actual scanner, but if you're serious about it, I would suggest buying an Epson V700 and then selling it when you are done. In the end it'll cost you a couple of hundred bucks, and you won't be under a time crunch.
    One other food for thought item, and Carrots above touched on it, you mention natural disaster wiping away all your photos. Do you also have redundant, off-site storage for all your digital photos? They are just as susceptible, if not more, than hard copies.
  4. I would suggest buying an Epson V700​
    For scanning 110 (and, in my opinion, 35mm) negatives I wouldn't waste your time with the V700 unless you just want a visual record of your negatives. The scans will not be good enough to ever make decent sized prints from the files.
    Do you also have redundant, off-site storage for all your digital photos? They are just as susceptible, if not more, than hard copies.​
    I agree. Even the best and most reliable digital storage will give you corrupt files after just 20 years unless it is constantly monitored and managed properly. 20 years after you're dead your photos will die too unless someone is prepared to keep paying the storage fees on your behalf.
  5. An epson 4490 will run you $120 and you will get more than 1/2 of that back on resale. A 110 holder for it is about $75. So, your "rental" will cost you less than $100. Scanning is time consuming, and home scanning in "auto mode" just plain sucks. Custom scanning a 35mm roll takes me a about 2 hours. Also, add in the extra time you will spend on the steep side of the scanning learning curve. That $.50 a frame is no longer looking like such a bad deal. Also, properly stored negatives may last for centuries. CD-Rs start to degrade in 5-10 years. Be happy that your images from the 80s are recorded on negatives and not an 8 inch floppy.
  6. Frankly, when you have that many to scan, the most sensible option from a cost and time / effort standpoint is to use Scan Cafe. I have used them in the past, and the work is excellent. They use Nikon scanners for 35mm and 120 format. I am not sure though if they do 110, but you can check the website to see. Prices are very reasonable. The one catch is that they are located in India, however, they have as "safe" a Fed Ex and UPS tracking and delivery service as is possible. They even have a $1000 compensation if anything happens to your order, though I know a price can't be put on memories. However, they have done thousands and thousands of scans and have been in business for many years and have never lost any order. Check out the website and make you own decision, but it would save you a ton of money and time.
    I just went to the site, and yes, they do scan 110.
  7. What's your budget?
    What quality are you after?
    Where are you?
  8. One person suggested "scancafe" and they are a reputable company. I've seen their small format scans and they're fine other than they were balanced rather cold but I think that's because they aren't charging enough to get in to the individual channels and do a true and proper color balance. It is possible for you to do the final tweak yourself but it does take a certain amount of skill to know what needs adjustment and to do it well. My company offered oddball scans and we weren't happy doing it for less then 2.50 per if you're paying 50 cents per scan and getting ok quality you're doing well. You really do pay for what you get.
    If you have the time by all means do it yourself. If you can afford an Epson v750 than it is a good scanner that will have a great resale value. It's also a lot faster than most scanners out there and that will become important if you have a lot of scans to do. One person mentioned that it will not do a good job with the 110. I can understand why someone would have had this experience but that's likely because they didn't have a proper carrier for 110 film. Dead critical with these scanners is the distance from the film to the glass of the scanner. We have a laser cut custom made 110 carrier which holds the film flat and at a precise distance from the glass. The scans are very good. As long as your film is not significantly cupping you should be able to put together your own temporary film carrier. You can experiment with shims to get your critical focus. One thing I will mention though is that on small format scans, leave the digital ice off. It creates artifacting where highlights meet shadows.
    Ultimately though, if your time has value - that 50 cents per scan isn't bad at all.
    Also check out and use "filmrescue" in the coupon code area.
    Scan digital is in California and Digmypics in Arizona. As I understand it scans at "scancafe" were shipped overseas and that's likely why they are giving the 1000 dollar compensation if anything is lost because they'd received criticism about that. I have no idea if them being off shore is a real issue or not.
  9. "For scanning 110 (and, in my opinion, 35mm) negatives I wouldn't waste your time with the V700 unless you just want a visual record of your negatives. The scans will not be good enough to ever make decent sized prints from the files."​
    This might be a bit misleading... I think you can get very good quality up to 5x7 with the V700, beyond that you can really see the difference between the V700 and the dedicated negative scanners. No one shot consumer grade 110 to get great quality images anyway, it was a format designed mainly for snapshots in small cameras. She also wants to "photos," which I would take to mean prints... you can't do that with a dedicated negative scanner.
  10. I seriously suggest you rent a scanner and try it yourself. You will quickly find out that you *really* have to want to do this. 50c per photo will not seam so bad.
  11. I considered renting before I bought my Canonscan FS4000U a few years ago, but I'm glad I didn't rent. I agree with those above who point out that scanning is time consuming at best, and that good scanning takes some learning and experience. If you think you're going to rent a scanner and run through all your negs and slides in a weekend or even a week, it isn't going to happen. You'll spend a weekend just learning the basics. As for buying, a lot of people are satisified that the low cost flatbed scanners are "good enough." But if you search out the hundreds of scanning threads on this forum you'll find that it takes a dedicated film scanner -- usually at several hundred dollars -- to do the best quality job. If you want to send them out, one place I can highly recommend is They do very good work at very affordable prices. One last thing -- however you go about scanning, be sure to keep your negatives and prints. The jpg on a CD or DVD you end up with can be read on just about any computer in the world today. But your grandchildren won't have any idea what those little silver discs are let alone that they have pictures on them, and certainly won't have any equipment or software that can read them.
  12. -- however you go about scanning, be sure to keep your negatives and prints.​
    Good advice Craig.
    I have a friend who, after scanning all his old negatives and slides, threw them out.
    Then a few months later, the external drive he had stored them on crapped out. He sent it to a professional disk recovery service who charged like $1200. Even at that they were only able to get back about 1/2 of his pictures.
  13. I've had a Canon FS4000US dedicated 35mm film scanner for almost 10 years now. I scanned ALL my decent negatives and slides years ago and it took me weeks. 10 years later and after a lot of experience using it I am scanning ALL of my negatives and slides again. Why? Because I have learned so much about scanning now and realise how bad my scans from years ago actually were. Blown highlights, noise in the shadows, dodgy colour balance etc. Learning to operate a film scanner correctly takes a lot of time and experience. The scanner is running as I type this. It's an EXTREMELY slow process, probably around 2 hours to properly scan a roll of 36 exposures to a high standard.
    If you're still shooting film today then I recommend buying a decent dedicated film scanner and learning how to use it. Forget all flatbeds if you're serious about your work. If you are now shooting digitally and simply want to scan your negatives and slides from years gone by then I would strongly recommend paying someone else to do them. Once it's done, it's done and you can forget about it.
  14. OK! OK! - UNCLE! I give up! ;)
    I sincerely appreciate each and every person who responded - although I DO have more time than money, you answered my question and I have decided to do what most of you suggested - FORGET IT!
    The reason I wanted to scan the negatives in the first place is because I have them. I have kept them since AT LEAST since my first baby was born - they may go back farther (further?) that that!
    My original nuclear family negatives (when I was a child), as well as my parents are gone now. I have magnetic albums with fading photos. I think the only option for this segment of the job is professional scanning. I will have to remove the photos from the albums and somehow make them NO LONGER STICKY!
    I had saved the negatives from my early adult days, hoping to be able to someday preserve / scan them with the best possible quality. Now I see that just having the 4x6" photos scanned by any company is the way to go for this segment of the job. IF I want to duplicate or enlarge any of this segment, I will do it individually with the negative. I have the photos and negatives for this segment.
    I will begin to store my negatives in a safe deposit box. Is this the safest possible method? I live in tornado country and flooding also has happened nearby.
    I have all digital photos since 2005 on Snapfish. Should I use another service also?
    In addition, I have all digital photos on a hard drive and/or my current computer.
    Again, I'm extremely grateful for every response. THANK YOU very much! Janice
  15. I will begin to store my negatives in a safe deposit box. Is this the safest possible method? I live in tornado country and flooding also has happened nearby.
    A good quality waterproof box would be good. Throw in a few of those silica gel packets and you're all set. Keep high and dry.
    If you have now decided just to scan in your 4x6" photos then you may just as well buy yourself a cheap flatbed scanner. Scanning prints is a lot easier and quicker than scanning negatives and doesn't require a high resolution. Just scan them at 300dpi... it's quick and easy.
  16. Janice M. Don't give up.
    You can get an Epson 4490 or V500 for $100-$150. You can do a great job just on that alone plus it can scan prints when you don't have a negative or if the negative is damaged.
    I have scanned 110 negatives with my 4490 and they came out great (well, considering the limitation of 110 in the first place)
  17. Glazer's here in Seattle rents Nikon film scanners. I used to rent from them before I got a Nikon Coolscan V in 2005.
  18. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    Interesting... My experience is similar to Smooth Carrot's. I bought a HP Photosmart scanner in 1999, and used it to scan my library of negatives and slides for my Web site. I replaced it with a Canon FS4000US in 2004, before switching to a DSLR in 2005. But I have been gradually replacing the scans I did with the Photosmart with new ones using the 4000US. In fact, I just finished redoing the last of the images I scanned in 1999. And I'm also redoing some of the scans I did with the 4000US, as I've learned a lot since 2004. One advantage of film is that it can be rescanned for better results when technology and expertise improves. Raw files from digital cameras offer a similar advantage, but they're far less permanent.
    The problem is that dedicated film scanners are now practically extinct. The major camera manufacturers have discontinued all their film scanners, presumably when their executives decided that everyone who has film to scan has already bought a scanner. Pacific Image and PlusTek have filled the vacant market niche, but I have no idea how good their scanners are. Flatbeds are supposed to be able to make acceptable scans from film, but I haven't seen one that comes close to a dedicated film scanner. And I'm not aware of any scanner that has ever had a holder for 110 film.

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