ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

Started 6 months ago | Questions
slidehound New Member • Posts: 2
ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

I've got about 1,000 35mm negatives I'd like to get scanned. After doing a lot of research and comparing reviews and prices, ScanCafe and DigMyPics seem like the best options to me. I'd appreciate some additional feedback if anyone has used these services and particularly if you've had negatives scanned. The reviews I've seen on "official" review sites seem old and it's hard to find any recent reviews.

ScanCafe has a 50% off sale that ends tonight. DigMyPics doesn't have any discounts, but their pricing seems to work out to not be drastically higher than the after-discount price on ScanCafe. Though, ScanCafe is still cheaper with the sale, so if they're the better option, I'd want to order today.

Both services said they could provide me with both edited JPEGs and unedited TIFFs. I figure the unedited files will be good to have in case I ever want to go back and do any edits of my own.

ScanCafe gave me a turnaround estimate of up to 6 weeks, whereas DigMyPics said up to 15 business days, but I'm not in a rush, so not a big deal if it takes a long time.

My general sense for looking at whatever user reviews I could find is that DigMyPics seems to have a somewhat better reputation overall. Some complained that ScanCafe sends materials to India to be scanned, but I confirmed with them that they no longer send anything overseas and everything is scanned in the USA.

All else being roughly equal, what I'm most concerned about is what the actual scan quality will be for negatives. I saw a few reviews mentioning ScanCafe scans weren't very sharp. Other people said the negative scan quality was good. So, not sure what to believe there. DigMyPics seems to have good reviews overall, but there don't seem to be many reviews outside of Google customer reviews.

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Overrank
Overrank Senior Member • Posts: 4,157
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

I’ve not used either of these services but I have done quite a bit of scanning and currently have my new film scanned commercially. These are things I would consider

  • Do you want to have them scanned and then “that’s it”, or will you want to go back and edit some of them? If you don’t intend to post process them then JPEG may well be sufficient, but if you’re going to post process then 48bit TIFF would be a better choice (although often more expensive)
  • Consider what the final scan size will be. As a minimum look for around 6 million pixels, so 2000 x 3000 ppi. This would print without upscaling at roughly 6” x 10”
  • If you want to post process then having the scans delivered with minimal sharpening could be an advantage.

I don’t know what the prices are for these services, but if you want to consider doing it yourself then something like an Epson V600 will scan 12 negatives at a time and deliver fully inverted 6MP scans with automatic dust removal and minimal interaction - just load the negatives, pre-scan and then let it go . A V600 is somewhere around £200 and you can sell it when you’ve finished . Alternatively there are devices like the Kodak Scanza and Wolverine Titan which are quicker to use but require more interaction.

(and then there’s a dedicated film scanner or camera + macro lens, but that might be getting more serious )

Autonerd Senior Member • Posts: 2,945
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?
1

I don't use a scan service; however for that quantity of negatives, have you considered buying a scanner and doing it yourself? A Plustek 8200i is about $400. Epson flatbeds are cheaper -- not everyone likes them for scanning but I love mine (see my Flickr page for some scans - everything in the Film Now album was done with my Epson V550).

You can also set up a digital-camera scanning rig for a couple hundred bucks -- but that might be a bit labor intensive. So is self-scanning, btw, but the machines will handle 5-10 negs at a time. And you control the quality.

Aaron

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Gesture Veteran Member • Posts: 9,675
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?
1

1.  I am on the ScanCafe mailing list.  Don't worry about a sale, there are constant promotions.

2. One of those inexpensive scanners just noted (they work by having a compact low MP camera "scan" the film") might be a good way to screen for images you want to devote more dollars or time to.

smithim Senior Member • Posts: 1,796
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

slidehound wrote:

All else being roughly equal, what I'm most concerned about is what the actual scan quality will be for negatives.

Why not send the same few slides to both of them and then check out the results against each other? That way you can assess their service as well as their output.

KrisAK Contributing Member • Posts: 834
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

I'm facing the same dilemma (with the same two candidates.)

So, can I ask what you ended up doing? Thanks.

(I've already got an Epson V500 Photo and VueScan, but my god it's labor intensive.)

CarmelSoul Regular Member • Posts: 227
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?
1

Since you are not in a hurry, why not send a strip of negatives to each and compare the results yourself.

KrisAK Contributing Member • Posts: 834
Re: ScanCafe vs DigMyPics for negative scanning?

CarmelSoul wrote:

Since you are not in a hurry, why not send a strip of negatives to each and compare the results yourself.

I'd considered that, but DigMyPics has a $30 minimum service charge. At that rate, I might as well send them a whole batch. But I figured I'd first ask for feedback here.

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