Comparison | Quality Scanning | ScanCafe

Our quality vs. the competition

We've already shown you many of our quality features in detail (like color correction, scratch removal, and safety). But below we'd like to show you how we compare to typical competitors, scan vs. scan.

Photo Scanning

Nikon 9000 Nikon 9000larger view »                                                                                                                               Photo: M Longstreth, Oakland CA

Compare the two photo scans above. Here is quick list of how ours is superior:

  • Sharper. Compare the two images. See how hard it is to read the street sign in the background of the competitor scan, but how much easier it is in ours?

  • Better highlights. The competitor at left, like most of our commpetitors, uses a combination of inferior optics and automated brightness/contrast routines. That washes out details, like for example the leaves on the trees in the background.

  • Truer colors. Because competitors tend to use automated routines, they don't know if your photos actually look color balanced or not. Compare the flesh tones above, or the color of the leather eyeglass holder in the plaid-shirted man's pocket. Which looks real to you?

  • Scratch & dust removal. Our technicians spend 3-4 minutes on each photo to manually remove scratches and dust that remain even after typical scratch removal software (like Kodak Digital ICE) has run. Competitors run their software in batch mode and call it a day.

Movie Film Scanning

Consider the two movie excerpts above, captured from the same 1976 Super 8mm film. Each excerpt is a smaller version of exactly the same quality you would see on a standard DVD order. (Mouse over each to control the playback). Our movie scanning is superior for many reasons illutrated here:

  • Scratch & Dust Reduction. The competitor movie has so many dust and scratch marks that it looks...infested. Compare ours, frame by frame. See the difference?

  • Truer Colors. Most competitors, if they do any color adjustments at all, set the color at the start of a reel and walk away. But we color correct each scene individually, since different scenes can need different treatments. In the movies above, note how much more realistic the sky color is in the ScanCafe version.

  • Sharpness. There's a general sharpness improvement in our scan. If you play the movies, look closely at the man in the yellow shirt on the left hand sidewalk. In our movie, you can see the details on his shirt.

  • Timing. Even though these are the exact same number of frames, the competitor movie is 2 seconds shorter. Why? Because of a retiming error. Movie film has to be adjusted--retimed--to play correctly on tv's and computers. The competitor's video was retimed automatically, assuming a certain original speed. But movie film reels were shot at so many different speeds that assuming anything is a dangerous practice. By contrast, we manually retime--that is, by looking at the movie--and adjust so that it looks natural.

  • True Frame Size. At the end of the competitor video, the man in the yellow shirt on the left sidewalk is awfully wide. Now watch ours. The reason why the man looks wide in the competitor video is because the frame has been stretched! We don't do that--we give you the complete frame, in its original proportions.

  • Manual cropping. Note the top of the competitor movie frame showing part of a previous frame. This is likely the result of an automated process gone wrong. By contrast, our HD scans are overscanned--that is, they show the full frame, with a margin around the edges, and then we crop your frames manually to get rid of sprocket hole areas and the edges of previous frames.

  • No interlacing. If you pause the competitor's playback, you'll see some dramatic fuzziness due to interlacing, a technique that works better for televisions than it does for computers. Ours, by contrast, looks completely sharp wherever you stop it, whether you're viewing it on a TV or a computer. This is easier to see in large view.

Video Scanning

Nikon 9000 Nikon 9000 video: W Lagrone, 1990 (VHS-C))

This is a screen grab from the DVD produced by a competitor and ScanCafe for the same VHS-C video tape. Note just part of what makes our video scanning superior:

  • Sharper. In the ScanCafe video, you can make out the lines on the tile floor and even the pinstripes on the musician's shirt. Even on the man wearing jeans and sunglasses in the background, you can see more detail in the ScanCafe shot.

  • Truer Color. Note the greenish tint to the competitor video, which is easy to see by looking at flesh tones. The musician's thumb on the guitar is nearly completely green in the competitor video.

  • Better Picture. In the competitor video, note the static in the bottom left-hand corner near the musician's hand. Our picture, by contrast, is completely clean.

  • Value kit as low as $0.21 Per Scan

    ScanCafe Value kit
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    "Not in a hurry? Have only standard media? Don't need our Pay for What You Want feature? Our Value Kit, starting with 500 scans, is
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  • Quick Facts

    2Number of services besides us that offer scratch & dust reduction for movie film scanning. One charges almost 3X what we charge, and the other charges 4X. compare movie prices »

  • Resources

  • Experts Agree

    pop photography
    “The attention to detail was impressive. And so were the scans... pro-caliber work…”

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    “Best quality and cheapest…The best scanning service.”

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    “Bottom line? Good quality and, at $0.24 per slide and $0.27 per print, the price is hard to beat.”

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  • Quick Facts

    500We have over 250 workstations and 500 employees across our facilities in the US, EU and Asia — to our knowledge, the world's largest scanning company.

  • Testimonials

    "When I reviewed my scanned slides, I began crying! Tears of joy! There was my childhood and memories of my deceased relatives right before my eyes! I could not believe the clarity, color and crispness of the photos. My precious memories preserved forever! This was the best money I've ever spent, and ScanCafe did a job better than I could ever have imagined." "

    - Wendi H, Ashland NE (March 2010)

    "Scanning is the right approach for sharing family photo memories, but this takes time and skill. I have turned to ScanCafe, an inexpensive commercial scanning service. One album at a time, they have expertly digitized 15,000 of my family photos, and I can send complete sets to whoever wants them. I urge other family historians to get this done themselves, rather than leaving their family with this emotionally daunting task." "

    - Gary Johnson, President, Chicago History Museum (March 2010)

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