Scanning old negatives (DIY VS Professional Services – Mr Scan)

June 30, 2013 by Andrew Seymour

Everyone’s got some old negatives laid around somewhere and unfortunately like every physical medium they eventually degrade and no longer contain those memories you once had, instead a slow chemical reaction and degrading of the material.

A few years back I went through all my negatives and scanned them in with a Veho VFS-004 5MP 35mm Negative & Slide Scanner – results were “ok” – they weren’t great and required a lot of modifications including some cropping as it seems the edge of the frame included the edge of the film.

Recently, I decided maybe it was time to have them professionally scanned in as the scans I’d done just didn’t really seem up to scratch. Sending all your negatives which are your old personal and family memories to a company you’ve never heard of isn’t something that can quickly or easily be decided. You want to know that your photos are safe in the hands of the people they’re going to and they’ll treat them with the same respect and delicacy as you do.

I came across a lot of sites then one in particular stood out – Mr Scan – from the huge amount of reviews and excellent reviews at that, I decided to package all my photos up in a large white padded jiffy bag, put the invoice in (I stated that I didn’t know how many there were and just to bill me at the end) – I included a lot of negative slides and 3 APS films – I sent them through a courier like Yodel to make sure they got there and were safe, I requested that a courier also send them back. I did put a special request in that they could hopefully match the sets I’d enveloped to the same disc structure (e.g. so set1 is /set1/ on the disc).

About a month later (I wasn’t in a hurry for them anyway and there some holidays during that period) I got an invoice request for £148 (600 or so photo’s and 3 APS’s) – very reasonable pricing (oh and a £10 fee for the courier I’d request which I didn’t mind as I knew they’d be safe with a courier). I’ve provided some samples below so you can see exactly how they compare picture for picture.

Veho Mr Scan
 4-9-2010_028  AM347
 4-9-2010_018  AJ279
 4-9-2010_016  AA015
 4-9-2010_017  AA016
 4-9-2010_055  AL341

You can see a pretty good difference between the Veho self scanning kit and the ones done by a professional scanner, the first thing to notice is the colour difference – the professional photo’s are a lot more vibrant and are framed correctly, a lot of Veho ones seem to have some of the holder on one side (something you can’t avoid as the frame clicks into place within the device).

It’s absolutely well worth the money for the quality of the copies, you wouldn’t think they came from an old analogue camera and have a very nice vintage feel to them while still remaining very professional. Something I’m very pleased with.

So I absolutely recommend Mr. Scan for the quality and professionalism of the service and for also fulfilling my request of a structure to the photo’s on the disc. However, they did charge me £10 to send them back to me via a courier – the courier they chose is Hermes which is about £2.75 and they don’t have the best of reputations. It literally took 5 days to arrive;

Timestamp Description
17/06/2013 22:08:00 Collection Requested
18/06/2013 05:47:00 Collection Scheduled
18/06/2013 13:19:00 Collected
19/06/2013 12:47:00 In Transit
20/06/2013 10:28:00 In Transit
20/06/2013 10:29:00 In Transit
21/06/2013 01:11:00 At Depot
21/06/2013 01:52:00 At Depot
21/06/2013 03:57:00 In Transit
21/06/2013 04:03:00 Delivery Scheduled
21/06/2013 08:44:00 In Transit
21/06/2013 12:39:00 Delivered

I understand it could take a little longer to arrive but what was surprising was the state in which the packet was in after I received it;

WP_000011 WP_000012 (1)

Those tears especially the one on the left is quite substantial – I can’t place any blame here as I don’t know when or where the package got damaged like this but I definitely more care needs to be taken to on the end of Mr Scan to ensure an appropriate courier is used and for the photo’s to be packaged correctly.

Would I recommend Mr Scan? I’d say definitely but make sure you package them very securely with multiple layers as somewhere along the line, mine did get damaged fortunately from what I can tell, all of my contents is still there.


Categories: Negatives, Photograhpy, Reviews

Tags: mr scan, negatives, photography, professional negative scanner, reviews, scanning, veho negative scanner