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ScanCafe Review
© 2011 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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This free website is supported by you using any of these links, especially these directly to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, eBay (see How to Win at eBay), Ritz, ScanCafe, J&R and Calumet, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.


NEW DEAL: ScanCafe is offering exclusively to you, my dear readers, a $40 discount to new customers. To get your discount, use code


at ScanCafe.com.

It expires June 30th, 2011 and It's good for new customers only.

It's valid for all their regular scanning services, including their new video transfers. It is not valid for value kits, gift boxes, gift card or photo restoration services.


May 2011    More Reviews



B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

ScanCafe is a bulk scanning service which efficiently scans large collections of photos.

They can scan just about anything, prints, slides, video or negatives, do a good job, and their prices are low.

ScanCafe is a great idea if you want all your old photos scanned well at a great price, and although they'll take a while to do it, they do small jobs, too.

ScanCafe often runs specials for new customers. See my Deals page to see if they have one running today.

When I've used them, I've been impressed at how well they removed dust from my black-and-white negatives, which comes both from their custom wet-mounting process and from manual spot-by-spot correction by their technicians.

Color scans from negatives will always vary somewhat in color, since unlike slides, negatives have no standardization for color balances. ScanCafe, like other scanners and and scanning services, does a very good job of getting the colors I want, but no scanning service is perfect. Pros have always shot slides precisely because only slides offer their own reference for color (just look at the slide). No scan will ever look exactly like the original because light travels through or bounces off film differently than it radiates from a computer monitor. One's expectations need to be reasonable; no scans are ever perfect.

ScanCafe scans are better thean most also because their JPGs are all rotated for me. With other scannign services, I have to go find all the vertifcals and rotate them manually.

ScanCafe usually provides JPGs, which is what I want, and also can provide raw, uncorrected and uncompressed scans if you really need them.

ScanCafe isn't an overnight service and doesn't replace your own local lab for fast turn-around or for expensive custom repro scans. ScanCafe works in bulk to keep costs down, so ScanCafe is ideal for scanning your entire archive of back photos. I use a local service to scan each roll as I have it developed; ScanCafe doesn't develop film.

ScanCafe is ideal for libraries wanting to scan their archives, and for normal people who want to get their photos out of the shoe boxes and onto their computer so they can see them.

Since each scan is done by hand on good CCD scanners, ScanCafe has done a better job of correcting underexposed negatives than my local lab. In fact, when the scans came back from ScanCafe, I could barely tell the difference between the good negative and the 2-stop underexposed one! ScanCafe really does a great job of pulling all the details out of the shadows of negatives.

ScanCafe -2
ScanCafe N

ScanCafe scan of
2-stop-underexposed negative.

ScanCafe scan of correctly exposed negative. original scan.


Local -2
Local N

Local lab scan of
2-stop-underexposed negative.

Local lab scan of correctly exposed negative.

As you should see, ScanCafe pulled as much shadow detail (see the detail in the nearest piece of wood) from the underexposed negative as in the correctly exposed negative, while my local lab scanned the underexposed negative pretty much uncorrected.

Here's the full scan below from ScanCafe of the properly exposed negative. Click it for the full-size original scan.

Route 66,

Route 66, 12 February 2011. Shot with a 1952 LEICA IIIf, 1950s selenium LEICAMETER 2, 1957 LEICA SUMMICRON 5cm (50mm) f/2 collapsible, no filter so I could stop down two more stops, Kodak T-MAX 100, f/8 at 1/50. Original scan.


Recommendations         top

I'll continue to use my local lab for film processing and bulk scanning of every frame of each roll as I shoot it, and use my local lab for while-I-wait scanning, and certainly will consider using ScanCafe again for my larger jobs where I don't need it all back tomorrow.


More Information


How to Scan 3,000 Slides


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Thanks for reading!



Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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