I have a few decades of photos, slides and negatives stored around my house. That's what we did in the olden days, but it's not very practical for the digital age. I need better access in general, and it's not easy to get anything other than digital printed these days.
This really present three dilemmas:
- It would cost me many thousands of dollars to get all of my images professionally scanned.
- It would likely take a very, very long time for me to scan everything in on a decent quality flatbed scanner.
- Not all of my photos are worthy of being professionally scanned in. Many are quick snapshots of dubious quality or of unappealing composition.
What eventually decided to do was to get an inexpensive slide / negative scanner and an inexpensive print scanner. Each cost about $100. They quality isn't that great, but the scan time is manageable. Both units can scan stand-alone and don't require a lot of fiddling to get the slides, prints or negatives ready to go.
The quality ends up at around the level of an old instamatic camera, so nothing more than 4x6 print will come out of these scans. But, the thing is, I now have all of my images stored digitally.
After doing that monumental task I started going through and picking out images worthy of a dollar per scan. Those I send off to a company called Pixmonix. As of this writing, 35mm scans cost $0.43 for 2,000 dpi and $0.53 for 4,000 dpi. That's very manageable for a thousand or so images. When I'm through with the project, I'll have all of my images in the computer at snapshot quality and all of my best at 4,000 dpi.
Duane F Benson