A reader, Casey, writes: "I just became the facilitator of five generations of family photos due to a death in the family. I need to digitize all the photos but my siblings do not want to send the pictures away to some company for fear of losing them. Can you recommend a quality high-speed scanner or another solution please?"
Scanning photos to digital has become a huge business for companies such as ScanCafe and ScanMyPhotos.com. That's because scanning hundreds of photos yourself using a flatbed or even a sheet-fed scanner can be a laborious and very time-consuming process.
If it were as simple as just putting a photo in a scanner and pressing a button, it would be an easier method to recommend, but you'll be spending most of your time adjusting the photo on screen, whether it's cleaning up marks, aligning the photo properly if it was scanned crooked or, if the photo is in bad condition, doing some digital repair work.
Sheet-fed scanners are a faster way to scan in multiple documents, but you may run into trouble if you have fragile photos that are dog-eared or are varying thickness. Sheet-fed scanners are typically made for scanning in text documents, not photos, but you may get lucky with a scanner such as the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500, which costs a little over $400 and has generally positive reviews on Amazon.com.
If all that has made you wonder if a scanning service might be better but you don't want to send your photos off in the mail, you could try a local scanning service such as Holland Photo Imaging, which offers photo and slide scanning..
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