I just realized that I never posted a final review of my ScanCafe experience. Well, after nearly three months of waiting, I received a nice little box from ScanCafe with a fancy DVD (full-size case with custom art) and my original photos in the shoddy packaging I had originally sent them in.
After dropping all the photos from the DVD into Lightroom, it’s safe to say that ScanCafe did a stellar job scanning and cleaning these 28 year old snapshots. The color restoration is better than the test scans I tried on my Epson scanner (which took nearly 20 minutes a photo) and the level of grain is as good (or bad) as one would expect from aging photos.
I printed up one of the photos as a 4″x6″ on my HP inkjet printer and it came out a touch soft, but way better than the original photo. The only problem I have is on my end. The original photographs that my mother took three decades ago were printed on what looks like 3.25″x4.25″ Kodak paper with rounded corners. Trying to crop these shots for modern paper is a bear.
Loving the results I got from this batch, I decided to take the plunge and sent a ton of negatives over for scanning. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t tell some of the black and white negatives from the color negatives. ScanCafe charges a premium for B&W scanning and I didn’t want to gyp them. I called to find out what I should do, and the customer service rep told me to just guess and that it would all be averaged out in the end.
I also mentioned some of my complaints, the biggest being the long transit time between shipping from their SF office to India. The guy on the other end explained that shipping to India includes time that the package sits at the office and is opened and inspected, which takes longer than transit. However, they have no way to note that. I understood, but mentioned that some customers (including myself) might worry that the package is lost. I mean three weeks to ship to India is crazy. He said they were working on updating the system.
This time, transit from SF to India only took a few time. The package is now sitting in queue waiting for scanning. I’m much happier knowing it’s there and hope for great results.