Saturday, November 8, 2008

Preserving and Sharing the Memories: Transferring Old Photos to Digital Formats

slide converted to digital, showing on a PC

Consider the family in which the children decided to surprise their parents with a video of the family slides. Imagine the mother's reaction when her 30 year old self in her negligee appeared on the screen - multiple times, because no one had sorted the slides! (And to get the biggest bang for their buck, the kids had had multiple copies made so everyone could have one).

Yes, my mother now wishes she had taken the project on herself (or destroyed certain shots) - and my brother will never live it down that he didn't sort before dropping the slides off to be converted.

Converting old photos to a digital format can be a good idea - but do pay attention to organizer Connie Johnson's tale (shared by permission).

I've copied some old photos to a digital format to load onto a digital photo frame, just using an simple flatbed scanner. But there are tools and services around to make the conversion easier - and to handle things like slides and old home movies, not just snapshots. And here's some more good reading: Things to consider when you decide to go digital.

Photo Conversion Services

ScanMyPhotos logo got a big write-up in the New York Times. [via Unclutter] The company says that "the average order is about 2,500 images scanned."

DigMyPics logo

DigMyPics provides a handy list of questions to ask when shopping around for a scanning service.

DigMyPics is a come-back-from-the-ashes story. The New York Times notes: "In May, a fire burned its headquarters to the ground, destroying almost everything inside - including some customers’ original photos." (More about the fire on the company's web site - the operation had no special factors that would increase fire risk; it appears to have been an electrical fire caused by the malfunction and explosion of a battery. DigMyPics made a huge effort to rescue the photos, and was indeed able to save a great many. And of course the company has reviewed what happened, and made some changes.)

ScanCafe logo

ScanCafe has its graphics and imaging center just outside Bangalore, India. [via]

iMemories logo
I've been told that iMemories "is now the only company that both digitally converts and hosts home movies online so they can be easily shared." (Like the other companies, iMemories also handles slides, photos, and negatives.)

Some other options: People commenting on Unclutterer spoke well of ScanDigital and Life Preserver.

Do It Yourself Options, Besides Regular Scanners

CVS/pharmacy and Kodak logos

CVS has partnered with Kodak to provide in-store services where you can take digital photos and create a 60-photo KODAK Picture Movie DVD, which includes music. You can also scan the photos to be used for this DVD. Both the Kodak and the CVS web sites lack information as to how the scanning is done, or what songs are on the song list - but if you live near a CVS pharmacy, it would be easy enough to go in and find out. The 60-photo DVD slideshow is not a real digital archiving solution, but rather a way to share a few special photos. But it seems there is also the option to store more photos, without all the special effects.

Note: will also provide a Kodak Picture Movie DVD, if you wish. The site provides a song list, complete the funny misspelling of "Dancing In the Street – Martha Reeves and the Vadellous."

slide converter

An option that has gotten a lot of attention is the Slide And Negative To Digital Picture Converter sold by Hammacher Schlemmer. Hammacher Schlemmer never seems to indicate the company behind the product they are selling, but this looks an awful lot like one of the converters made by VuPoint Solutions. Both Hammacher Schlmmer and VuPoint also provide a photo converter.

[first photo from DigMyPics]


. said...

I made a list of all the professional slide scanning options

Jeri Dansky said...

Lars, thank you for providing information about a number of other services - including your own.

However, a spot check shows that the prices you list are not always up to date.

And the chart might mislead some people; not everyone will want 4000 dpi, and at a lower resolution the price difference is not so great.

. said...


If you could point me to the prices that are not up to date I would like to update them. It is a constant struggle to keep them up to date.

I agree that everyone does not always want the same options, such as 4000 dpi. But for the purposes of a comparison chart it is the only way to keep it an apples to apples comparison.

Jeri Dansky said...

Lars, DigMyPics was one where the prices didn't match.

. said...

Thanks. Updated it.

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