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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bigger=Better and Cheap Negative Scanning

This entry’s purpose is two-fold. First, good news to those who’ve followed fairly closely what I’ve done in my photo albums. Two of my old albums (a northwest US trip in 1999 and a New England trip in 1997) will get updated soon with larger resolution photos.

I’ve been fully aware for quite some time that both these albums contained photos that were only a few hundred pixels wide. They harken from the days when people still used 640x480 and 800x600 monitors and, at their current size, were large enough for most people on their screens. This was also a time when hard drive space was at a significantly higher premium than it is today.

So, combine cheaper and bigger hard drives with typical monitor resolutions pushing 2,000 pixels of width, and it suddenly becomes time to think about offering bigger versions of the photos in those albums.

Luckily, I will be able to pull it off. When I had the photos from the northwest trip processed, I also had Kodak Picture CDs made. The limited space on my old web service had prompted me to upload the small versions that have since been moved to my current photo albums, but I know I have at least 1024x768 size because of the few I had submitted to ATPM some years ago. I’m fairly sure the originals on those CDs are even larger (and yes, I know exactly where those CDs are located).

As for the New England photos, turns out the negatives were in the same box as the CDs from the northwest trip. I decided to get them converted to CD as well. And this brings me to the second purpose of this blog entry—a suggestion for having this type of service done.

There are more than 150 shots and I had absolutely no desire to scan them all myself. So I called up the photo lab at CVS and asked how much I’d be looking at. I was told $2.99 for the first 10 and 29¢ a piece after that. In other words, under $50 total. Sounded like a good deal to me.

Since a place like Ritz/Wolf Camera charge a lot more, this is where the suggestion would’ve ended, except that CVS may become an even better bargain. I’ll have to revisit this tidbit on December 26 when I return home and pick up the CDs, but it seems as though I’m only going to pay about six bucks for two CDs (they didn’t think they’d all fit on one, but it’d only be the $2.99 if they did)!

When I brought in my negatives, I started talking about what I was told on the phone to confirm the cost of this task. The best I can figure is that the person on the phone thought I needed to get the negatives processed as well as put on CD, hence the 29¢ each. But the employee in the store (not the same person as the phone) said I’d only be charged $2.99 for each CD. I asked point blank, “so you’re saying I’m going to get about 170 negative scans made for just six bucks?” and she responded in the affirmative!

We’ll see when I get home if this is true. If it is, and you have a pile of negatives laying around, I’d strongly advise you to take them down to CVS and get them put on CD. You could then duplicate the CD every 5-10 years for preservation. There’s no way anyone else is going to beat this deal.

Hopefully, I won’t have to retract this $2.99 per CD discovery. Even if I do, the 29¢ per scan price is really not bad, either. But six dollars for more than 150 scans just means that if you have negatives for pictures you cherish, you can’t afford to not get them digitized!

» Posted by ALBj at 10:18 AM (ET)
Category: Housekeeping, Journal


My only suggestion would be to immediately make a backup of these CDs and store them either in a fire proof safe or even off location. CDs scratch easily, especially when you have curious kids who like to explore.

» Posted by Queue
December 23, 2006 11:23 AM

I thought I had implied that—but I suppose spelling it out is a good thing.

Of course, this suggestion applies more to other people than me coz I don’t have gobs of negative sets. Pretty much only two—the New England trip and San Francisco. San Francisco I had already put on CD a year or so back (though paid a lot more for it) and my negatives from our NorthWest trip also came with Kodak Picture CDs. So New England is the last batch to get done.

Now then, I don’t have kids running around, so my discs are generally safer than yours ever will be. But you’re right—I should make copies and put them somewhere. I just don’t know where—yet.

» Posted by Lee Bennett
December 23, 2006 11:31 AM

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