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scanning negatives:

Scanning 35mm negatives, whether colour or black and white, is essentially the same process as scanning slides and what follows is a broadly similar commentary.

Some home/office scanners claim to have the ability to scan slides and negatives but in our experience they are not really up to the job. Unlike a print, a 35mm negative has only a small area within which to hold all that precious information. To get good results when scanning negatives it's best to use a dedicated film scanner with a resolution of up to at least 4000 dpi. Most home/office scanners are not really capable of this. Our scanner is specifically designed to scan 35mm film and transparencies. That's its job. It is also equipped with digital ICE4  technology which can enhance images by, for example, automatically removing dust and scratches, bringing colour out of darker areas and smoothing the effects of grainy film - if you want the best, then this is it! You're probably only going to do this once so our advice is not to cut any corners.

If you have both prints and negatives, then which would give the best results when scanned? The tendency is to suggest that the original negative would come out on top provided, of course, that it hasn't suffered any damage. If you have a reasonably sized, good quality print, however, then that should produce good results as well. Cost may be a consideration for you. The reason that the costs vary is primarily because the equipment that we use to scan film and slides is more sophisticated than that used for prints and it also requires more manual intervention from us as we need to review each scan on an individual basis.

Please note that we can also scan 120 format negatives - 2¼ inch (6cm) square. These are larger negatives and scanning at 2000dpi gives perfectly good results, though we can scan at 3000dpi or even 4000dpi if you wish.

care and maintenance:

Having taken the step to convert your negatives to digital format, you'll want to make sure that your collection will stand the test of time. Digital media are not infallible and they will degrade over time. We only use reputable makes of disk but nevetheless, we can never rule out the occasional failure. So how long will a CD or DVD last? The safe answer is that nobody knows. They may claim to last for tens of years but anyone who relies on this is taking a big risk in our view. The good news is that it's a fairly inexpensive job to make backup copies of your disks so that if disaster strikes you'll still have spare ones.

We can't really emphasise this too much. If your pictures are precious then please do make backup copies, and if they're really important to you then one backup may not be enough - keep another copy off-site to be doubly sure! Just like your hard disk drive, it's a truism that one day it will fail. And it won't give you any warning whatsoever! The same applies to digital storage media such as CDs and DVDs

We will keep a backup copy of your images for four weeks from the date of dispatch so if there's a problem during that time then simply contact us and we can arrange to make another copy for you.

We also offer the option of having your images put onto a separate DVD in the form of a video slide show which can be viewed on a TV monitor using an ordinary DVD player. Details of costs and other options are on the pricing page.

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