ScanCafe TIFF offering and pricing: no hidden fees

Hi Folks,

We have had some questions recently from customers about our .TIFF offering and associated pricing, thanks in part to more misleading marketing tactics by DigMyPics. I would like to take a moment to succinctly describe how the offering works.

But first, let me state the following: TIFF is a very high end file format that the vast majority of customers will not use. The ability to store image data in a lossless format makes TIFF files a useful method for professional photographers & hobbyists to archive images. TIFF files can be ten times larger in memory usage than JPEGS and can be cumbersome to work with for the novice. Unlike standard JPEG, TIFF files use lossless compression (or no compression at all) and can be edited and resaved without suffering a compression loss. Because of this “lossless compression”, TIFF files scanned at 3000 dpi (our default setting) range in size from 60 to 120 MB per image. This is clearly quite unwieldy and requires a great deal of storage space on your hard drives, lots of RAM and siginificant processing capacity from your computer. For the vast majority of our customers there is no need for TIFF as they simply need a high quality scan of the original image. For most applications, our unmatched pricing of 19 cents for negatives, and 24 cents for slides, both at 3000 dpi, is plenty. Because TIFF is “bulky” and requires additional storage space, we have a surcharge of 9 cents per image when a customer requests TIFF format.

Now, in the past we had a process associated with TIFF in that had a customer ordered TIFF images that exceeded 60GB in size (which equates to over 800 images in TIFF), we required the customer to purchase a 120GB pocket hard drive at cost. This was in lieu of sending the customer what could amount to be 15-20 DVDs (this sort of defeats the purpose of archiving your imagery). This drive can have other images / files added to it by the customer and it literally fits into your pocket. A professional can have his or her entire archive of imagery on this drive and take it with them wherever they go. Customers are actually choosing to order the hard drive for all types of orders because they believe in the utility of such a product. When we rolled out the new website, we removed this requirement so customers are no longer required to buy the hard drive, regardless of how many images they send us or type of format. Of course, we strongly encourage customers who might place an order that would require 20 discs to place an order for the hard drive, simply because it is much easier to manage. But, this is the customer’s choice – simple as that.

But to be even more explicit, let me show you an example. Lets say a customer orders 1000 negatives in TIFF format along with an optional 120GB hard drive – the total price of the order would be $399.95 or 39.9 cents per image ([1,000 x $.28] + $119.95). Of course, this assumes the customer purchases everything they send us and I point out that ScanCafe is THE SINGLE COMPANY in this market that allows you to only pay for what you want and discard up to 50% of your order. Now – go to all the “competition” out there and do a price comparison of 1000 negatives, at 3000 dpi, TIFF format, with full post scanning services of color correction, cropping, dust/scratch removal, red eye reduction, etc, etc and see what you come up with. Even w. the hard drive option enacted, you will find that ScanCafe is significantly and materially much more affordable than the “competition” as the charts here show. But as always: I encourage you to investigate the real prices yourself – don’t just listen to me, and certainly don’t just listen to the paranoid scanning companies out theredo the due diligence yourself, your precious memories deserve it.

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For more info and background on TIFF format, check out wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiff. You can always call us or shoot us an email as well.

User Comments

  1. September 23rd, 2007 Carlos

    I know this is slightly off from your blog topic…

    I plan to keep 100% of what you scan. Why don’t you offer a discount if someone keeps 100%?

    You let people reject 50% of the scans at no cost to the customer. You already spend labor to scan them in.

    So why not offer a discount of someone keeps 100% (which I plan to do on each order).

    BTW: I just received my fist order back from you guys. I am impressed.

  2. September 26th, 2007 Sam Allen

    Hi Carlos,
    This is an interesting idea that we haven’t honestly discussed internally. The idea has merit, I will bring it up with our marketing guys – seems to me it would be a bit like the “buy it now” service on eBay where you basically get a bonus for acting quickly. This is definitely worth investigating – get back to us in a month or two and we will have a succinct answer for you. Thanks for the question – and thanks for the continued business.
    Best
    Sam

  3. October 1st, 2007 Alan

    Tiff files for me are sometimes important at the office and I’m sure (along with raw) are quite important to professional photographers. I’m just as happy with .jpg for digitizing the old family negatives I sent to you guys. I don’t plan to do any editing of them and will keep the original .jpgs on disk anyway… If I really want a tiff file I’ll scan it myself from the negative.

    On another somewhat off-topic comment, I bought a Nikon Scanner to scan all my old negatives… it was a great idea, but with not such a great result… Three days later and only 1/2 way through year 2 of 20, my wife was ready to pitch the computer, scanner and me out the door. (Probably didn’t help that it was the last week of summer and she wanted a little more help with the kids!!). So I went looking for a scanning solution online and Scan Cafe jumped out as a compelling value…

    I’m looking forward to checking out my .jpgs soon and hopefully sending along a new batch to you guys in the near future.

  4. October 30th, 2007 David

    You guys focus too much on rebutting. It creates confusion and doubt where there was none previously. Your issue is turn-around, pure and simple. Otherwise I think the service is top notch.

  5. November 1st, 2007 Sam Allen

    Hi David,
    Thanks – I think our new site does very little rebutting – it was necessary in this case because of the blatant mis-information spread by another scanning company. It’s important that people, especially pros and hobbyists, fully understand the TIFF offering. Re: turn around time, we are actually within the norms of the industry (perhaps 5 days longer in some cases). You can do some research yourself and call around and ask what the turn around time is for a given order size, I think you will find that the response is 4-6 weeks from the major players in the market. Given the high level of attention and post-scan services received by each image, we feel that our 4-6 turn around time is acceptable. What we don’t provide is any sort of expedite service, which I understand can be a problem for some potential customers. Thanks for the post and let us know if you have any other questions.
    Respectfully,
    Sam

  6. January 2nd, 2008 Alana Lerwill

    Sam,
    Thanks for taking time to clear up the negative publicity spread by digmypics. My mother & I had confidently placed two gift card orders as Christmas presents for my dad to send in all his slides to have them scanned. I was very impressed with all I had read about scan cafe. He hasn’t sent in the order yet, but I ran across digmypics websites and it scared me a bit worrying that I had done the wrong thing. It definitely made be back peddle a bit and do some more research to see if I had made a mistake. Needless to say, it did place some doubt. Its hard to know who to trust in the big world of the internet and everyone wants to run a scam. After doing much more research and reading some independent outside reviews from reputable sources, and your blog, I can now rest assured that I have done the correct thing in using your service. I know you don’t necessarily want to get into a debating war with them, but I do think you are right in taking a moment to refute what they are saying about you. Thank you for restoring my confidence and I’m looking forward to seeing all of his photos when they’re done.
    Alana

  7. January 2nd, 2008 Sam Allen

    Hi Alana,
    Thanks for the note. We would prefer not to waste time on such things as you mention. I think that the results of the Money Magazine Field Test along with what the Editor of Popular Photograpy stated pretty much speak for themselves and prove ScanCafe worthy (you can read about those in other blog posts of mine). It’s unfortunate that other companies in this industry don’t understand the basic dictum “a rising tide raises all boats” meaning that success for one is success for all. Bottom line is, we just ask people to do what you have done: do the research yourself and don’t believe the competition (or me either), but do the due diligence to find out for yourself. Kudos to you for doing the research. The web is a powerful tool and when used correctly is a great ally to consumers.

  8. January 26th, 2008 Michael Lampi

    Hi Sam,

    I noticed that the Pro options don’t specify what the bits per pixel are. The Nikons can scan at either 24 or 48 bits for color, and for truly professional scans the additional color information provided by 48 bits can be critical. The dynamic range of film is one area where film is still quite a bit superior to digital cameras.

    So, I presume that the scans are done in 24 bit color. Can I ask for (and get) 48 bit color? Adobe Photoshop can handle it.

    Lastly, are your DVD’s single or double layer?

  9. January 27th, 2008 John Dent

    I had lost over 2000 prints in a flood, but was able to run the negatives through a solution and save them. I am a computer person and have even done large scanning projects for wedding slide shows, but did not look forward to the huge amount of time and energy it would take to scan these in. THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping saving my memories and preserving them so well. I love the service. Now if you can get your web interface to allow the easy movement of pictures from one folder to another, and also once they are organized online provide the DVD’s with the same organized files, your service will be out of this world.

  10. January 29th, 2008 Sam Allen

    John,
    Thanks for the post. Our DVD burning process now captures the organization of the customer via the online tool. Also, the latest release of the tool allows for much easier image movement. Thanks for the patience, we are improving every aspect of our game over time. And thanks for your patronage. We are very excited to hear when we have helped people in a meaningful way – am glad to hear that you were able to recover your images.
    Sincerely,
    Sam

  11. January 29th, 2008 Sam Allen

    Hi Michael Lampi,
    Good questions: Our current default offering is 24 bit (8 bit per channel RGB). We will offer 48bit very soon. In the interim, when you place an order online, you can request 48bit scans by placing a note in the “Order Notes” section of the order form (which appears when you enter credit card information).

    The DMax of the Nikon scanners is highest in the industry for LED-CCD based scanners. Although, nowhere close to the drum scanners which run >$100,000 for a scanner.

    Our DVDs are single layer.

    Sincerely,
    Sam

  12. May 2nd, 2008 Paul Guttormsson

    You guys have provided great service, but I’m having some trouble with the “organize images” interface. After I drop and drag images to put them in the order I like, very often when I open that folder again later, the images are right back where they were. Is there something I need to do to “save” the order I put them in? Or is this a bug? I need to be certain that the DVD has the images burned in the order I want.

  13. May 13th, 2008 Sam Allen

    Hi Paul,

    I will have Anjuli our CS Manager contact you immediately re: your issue. You were following the correct process, not sure what the issue is in your case but we will get it fixed for you.

    Thanks for the post,
    Best
    Sam

  14. August 10th, 2009 Richard

    Do you offer a service outside the USA. I’m in UK.

  15. August 11th, 2009 Sam Allen

    Hi Richard,

    We don’t offer the service outside the US – yet. But if you have friends or family in the US you can use their shipping address for the transaction, just make sure you ship/track your photos to them before placing an order on our site.

    Best of luck,
    Sam

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