For all you kids out there, gather round: history time. We once used to buy things called "rolls of film". We then had to put these rolls in our cameras. These rolls had finite space for photos, and when they were full, we'd take them and get them developed into tangible photographs (usually on glossy photo paper). I know. Whoa.
If you have a ton of old photos lying around that you want to keep forever, it's a great idea to digitize them. These are the best online services to help you do just that!
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DigMyPics provides a wide array of scanning services and has one of the best selections of resolutions of any of the services listed here. It'll scan photos, negatives, slides, APS, and you can even get 8mm film turned into DVDs and VHS tapes turned into DVDs as well.
Pricing starts at 39 cents per photo, for printed photos up to 8x10 in size. Ordering from DigMyPics is also quite easy; all you have to do is estimate the number of photos you want digitized, complete DigMyPics' online order form, and send them away using DigMyPics' FedEx label.
One cool feature is "Real Time Scanning", where you can actually watch your photos being digitized one by one. DigMyPics will even manually color and exposure correct your photos one by one.
ScanCafe is another service that help preserve just about all of your older home media, from photo and slide scanning and restoration to VHS tape conversion and HD scans of 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm film. ScanCafe offers 3000 dpi for scanned slides and slide negatives and 600 dpi for scanned printed photos.
Pricing starts at 33 cents per printed photo (up to 8x10 in size), but if you choose ScanCafe's "Value Kit" option, you can pay as little as 21 cents per photo. ScanCafe sends you the kit, you fill it with your photos, and send it back. This is a great option for bulk photo digitization, since pricing starts at 29 cents/photo for 500 scans. You can go all the way up to 10,000 scans for 21 cents/photo. ScanCafe will then send you back your photos, a DVD of your scans, and an online gallery is created for you, so you can share it all via social media.
Memories Renewed is the Wirecutter's top pick for best digitization service because of the excellent resolution of its scans, quick turnaround time, and near-perfect photo restoration services.
Memories Renewed also offers audio transfer from cassette, mini- and microcassette, reel to reel, and vinyl. If you need a total solution for digitizing your physical memories, Memories Renewed has you covered all the way around. Pricing starts at 60 cents per photo for photos up to 8.5x11. It's pricier than other options, but very high-quality.
GoPhoto offers the standard fair of photo scanning services, including printed photos, negatives, slides, full albums, and VHS to DVD. The service offers 600 dpi resolution for printed photos and 2000 dpi for slides and negatives. Pricing starts at 44 cents apiece for photos up to 8x10, and where GoPhoto really shines is its turnaround time. Photos are usually scanned within two weeks, and GoPhoto uploads everything to an online album where you can view and share your photos. You can also delete as many scans as you like if there are those you don't want, and you only pay for the scans you keep.
For 25 cents extra per scan, you can get 1200 dpi scans for printed photos, and for 50 cents extra per scan, you can get them in TIFF format. If you need things quickly and don't need the absolute best quality available, then GoPhoto is a great options.
ScanDigital does it all, from printed photo scanning to VHS, 8mm, Super 8, and 16mm to DVD, as well as slides and negatives. ScanDigital has one of the widest selections of options, though things are a bit pricey, starting at 68 cents per printed photo at 600 dpi. You can also pay 88 cents/photo for 1200 dpi.
If you have video digitization needs, then ScanDigital might just be the best option for you, offering Betamax, VHS, Hi8, VHS-C, and MiniDV to DVD services starting at $23 per cassette. If you don't want DVD or want to edit your footage, you can pay $29/cassette and get MPEG-4 files with a hard drive.
ScanDigital has three technicians review each photo before it's finalized, so you can count on the quality of each scan, and its satisfaction guarantee means if you're not happy with a scan, ScanDigital will rescan the image(s) for free.
Have you gone digital?
Have you ever used a photo scanning service? Which one's your favorite? Sound off in the comments below!
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Mick is a staff writer who's as frugal as they come, so he always does extensive research (much to the exhaustion of his wife) before making a purchase. If it's not worth the price, Mick ain't buying.