View Full Version : Professional scanning service?
Iím thinking of offering a professional negative/transparency scanning service to bring in some extra money.
Images would be scanned at 4000dpi and then cleaned in Photoshop (I donít use ICE as it degrades the image). The images would be saved as 16 bit TIFFís and burnt on to a DVD. I can scan 35mm, 120 and LF.
Would a service like this be of any interest to anyone (just trying to figure out if it is worth doing!). I suppose that price would vary depending on the negative size - how much would people be willing to pay for a service like this?
Iím based in the UK.
How much you could charge would depend on what type of scanner you're scanning with I would imagine.
It'll be a Nikon 9000 ED.
I think the last roll of 35mm scanned to hi res Tifs with a Nikon CS 5000 was $10, and the roll of MF slide was a couple dollars a frame because of the time.
Images would be scanned at 4000dpi and then cleaned in Photoshop (I don’t use ICE as it degrades the image).And that is the $64 question: who "cleans" in Photoshop, and how? If it is you, and you exercise your judgement then that's possibly a Thing Of Goodness.
But it is also time-consuming and about as boring as bat excrement. Do you want to do this? For how long? And if you employ someone else to do this, "cheaply", how committed will they be and how well might they judge?
Inquiring minds, and all...
The issue is that you are going to be bumping against the price of professional drum scans which range in the area of $30~60 USD. So how much can you charge for a non-drum scan? $20 USD, not much more.That is an entirely location-dependent thing. Here in Oz the price of a "professional drum scan" woud make your eyes water. I'm talking plural hundreds of dollars. Not cheap.
I am using one of the scan services in Germany and it costs around 2 euro for 4000 dpi scan in TIFF format (48bit possible too) from MF film per scan. The guy is using ICE (though he would turn it off if requested) and I have never had an issue on that. I find more of a problem that the scanner often does not hold the film flat so the edges tend not to be as sharp. He claims that using AN glass deteriorates the sharpness of the scans. So I am not sure I would want to pay premium for hand spotting in Photoshop - and I know how enjoyfull :cool: such a work is - I do that with my 4x5 scans (Imacon X5). Spotting the sky is easy - but if there is a hair to be removed from a part that has important structure - it is quite some work and if there is no other way round - I prefer to do this myself.
A 50mb drum scan will usually far surpass most home scanners in quality, but not always.I looked into a drum scan of a single negative over here, just the once. I bought a Nikon 5000ED (2nd hand) from Tony Rose for less. The scan from a single 35mm negative might have been brilliant. I'll never know. The Nikon scanner produced an "adequate" scan from that negative.
And will produce many more adequate scans.
For comparison purposes, here's the pricing for ScanCafe, which does all of their scanning in Bangalore, India:
If your purpose is the web or proofing, or personal portfolio/display, then a 5000ED is more than adequate. If you sell some work, or have a chance to show, then you can have some drum scans and prints made on someone else's dime.
Certainly what I do, and most everyone does, except apparently Annie Leibovitz. :DFair point. All my photos are for my personal preference and enjoyment. Occasionally (very) I'm asked for something more - but certainly not gallery or any other kind of major-league display (which is something I'm perfectly happy about).
I guess my point (of jealousy) was that you can get serious scans, should you need them, at pretty damned affordable prices. Here in Oz, that doesn't seem to be so. We seem to have a national prediliction for gouging per-transaction profit at the expense of establishing a sustainable market (and now I'm drifting way off the topic of anything photography-related: we do that for everything).
But back to the OP's point: if you can offer a decent service and product (your scan output) for either a quality gain or a price advantage over similar services in your area then, well, go for it.
I would have paid for that, and might not have bought my own scanner. (When a single scan costs more than a scanner, then your pricing policy might be somewhat askew.)
But I would be awfully cautious about establishing a price for anything other than more-or-less mechanical scanning. Any hand-adjusted service is something (IMHO) you're likely to under-price, misunderstand the time-consuming and boring nature of, and find that "hiring it done" (once you're done with it) costs more than your available profit margin.
I may be wrong about the business prospects, but you'd better be sure I'm wrong before you embark on that path (again, IMHO).
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