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The ScanMyPhotos.com Online Photo Scanning Service

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The Bottom Line

The ScanMyPhotos.com service is a fast, efficient, and--depending on how many photos you have to scan--reasonably priced photo-scanning service. However, if you want to retain the rich colors of your original photos, you may not be content with the 300 dpi scans that ScanMyPhotos.com offers. In that case you'll either have to do it yourself, or use a service that can offer 600 dpi scanning.

Pros

  • Fast, pleasant service
  • The chance to empty that photo box out, finally
  • Easy to store DVD with all your photos on it
  • Photo index book

Cons

  • 300 dpi scans don't retain the rich colors or depth of original photos
  • You'll have to trust your precious photos to the mailman and a bunch of strangers

Description

  • Online photo scanning service
  • $149.95 for about 2,000 standard-sized photos
  • 300 dpi scans
  • Free delivery
  • One DVD data disc with scanned images
  • Domestic USA only

Guide Review - The ScanMyPhotos.com Online Photo Scanning Service

If you grew up before the popularization of digital cameras, there's a good chance you have a shoe box (or a box that's much bigger) in the back of the closet, stuffed with thousands of pictures that you quite frankly don't know what to do with. That situation has led to the creation of companies like ScanMyPhotos International, which will take that box of photos and turn it into a few DVDs of photo memories.

Sound too good to be true? Well, it's not--but there are some caveats. The first is that you have to entrust your precious memories to the postman and then the photo-scanning company. The second is that you need to prepare those photos before you send them. And of course you have to pay some good money to get the work done.

ScanMyPhotos made the mailing part easy. I used their "Prepaid Fill the Box Picture Scanning Service" which costs $149.95. They sent me a nice box with a postage-paid sticker. The box looked small but I'm told will hold as many as 2,000 photos (I had less than 200, so I can't tell you for sure; but there was certainly a lot of empty space in the box). And the photos were sent back quickly and well cared for. If you're using this service you'll get a photo index book with 25 thumbnails per page along with your DVD of photos.

The preparation part can take longer. The photos will be scanned in the order they are in when you send them, so if you don't want those pictures of Wildwood, NJ, circa 1969 to be mixed up with the pictures of your honeymoon 25 years later, you'll have to spend some time getting them in order. The pictures also get scanned just the way you arrange them. Got one upside down? It'll get scanned that way. And in terms of the cost, $149.95 for 2,000 photos is a pretty good deal, and this is a whole lot easier than trying to scan them all yourself.

So is it worth it? Well, that depends on what you're hoping for. The scans are done at 300 dpi, which is a fairly standard size for photo scans (for one thing, it keeps your scans from becoming gigantic files). But on the other hand, there's a clear diminution of quality in the scans as compared to the originals. In the sample photo (click here for the full-size photo, you'll get an idea of what I mean. On the left is part of the ScanMyPhotos.com scan at 300 dpi (there's a larger version here); on the right is a 600 dpi scan (see a larger version here) I did using the HP OfficeJet 4500. The 600 dpi scan looks comparable to the original photo. So if these are your most precious memories--for example, high quality and sharp wedding photos that were taken a couple of years ago--you might not be content with the end product. But for those 1969 Wildwood photos on fading Kodachrome film, you may be perfectly satisfied.

Disclosure: The company provided free access to this service for review purposes. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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