Black & White Negative Scanning | ScanCafe

Black & White Scanning

High-Quality & Affordable Black & White Scanning Service. Preserve Your Memories & Start Scanning Today!

Estimate the Number of B&W Negatives That You're Sending
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$4.95    FREE
USB Drive
X $9.95
X $11.95
Total: $0.00

Why Should You Digitize Black & White Negatives?

If you’re a photographer that used film cameras back in the day and processed your own negatives and or prints, you’ll probably agree nothing is quite as magical as seeing images come to life in the darkroom! Although scanning B&W negatives may not be quite as magical, it is a worthy pursuit because you may uncover long-forgotten family memories and wonderful images you shot decades ago. In addition to their historic, artistic, and nostalgic value, scanning black and white negatives is essential because they can deteriorate. These four issues are primary contributing factors:

  • Poor environmental storage conditions
  • Photographic processing chemical residue
  • Rough or inappropriate handling
  • The composition of the film negatives

Too often, old negatives are stored carelessly in less than optimal conditions. Yet even with proper storage, the following issue is a notorious culprit that frequently damages the picture quality of black and white negatives.

How Scanning Black & White Negatives Works

We have designed the whole process to be as PAIN-FREE as possible.

All you have to do is ship us your photos and we will get to work on scanning your black and white images for you

ScanCafe's Technicians
Your black & white film gets manually scanned & repaired. Your film will be transferred at our Indianapolis lab with a 3-4 week turnaround time.

Enjoy & Share
By the end of the process, you have all your negatives digitized and available for digital download, or DVD or USB drive.

Common Black & White Image Scanning Problem: Scratching

A typical amount of scratching on a black and white negative. Photo: W Bradley.

Negatives are prone to scratching, and especially black and white negatives. Color negatives have dyes that fade over time, while black and white negatives have a single layer of light sensitive silver halides converted into silver metal during processing. These grains easily scratch the surface of the negative, even when handled gently (jostling inside the negative envelope itself can often be enough to scratch the film). Most of the time, these tiny scratches are invisible to the naked eye. Unfortunately, when these negatives are scanned and enlarged, numerous larger scratches are revealed that may severely mar the picture quality or even ruin it completely. To compound this problem, dust particles on the surface of black and white negatives are much more noticeable than on color negatives.

What Sets Our B&W Scanning Services Apart

Our Proprietary Solution

The same photo as above, handled under our new process, for $0.44 an image.

We understand many serious photographers have large analog archives of negatives, however not everyone has the time, desire, or top-notch equipment to properly digitize negatives. Scanning black and white negatives the right way requires training and advanced scanning capabilities. After months of research and testing with some of our professional customers, we launched a black and white negative scanning service that reflects the top quality ScanCafe is known for, with additional benefits that yield the best digital images. With our service, you’ll no longer have to worry about how to scan black and white negatives nor shell out thousands of dollars on a professional scanner for great results.

Safety Measures

At ScanCafe, we've pioneered a number of industry best practices to guarantee the safety of your precious memories at our state-of-the-art lab and in transit, including door to door tracking and the following:

  • Installation of 60 high definition surveillance cameras covering the entire property
  • Recording and retaining video of your package being opened
  • Items weighed to the gram
  • Surveillance video recorded and retained during the entire scanning process
  • Items weighed to the gram prior to shipping back to you and compared to arrival weight
  • Recording and retaining video of packing up your materials
  • Scanned files retained on our servers for a period of time after your package has shipped

Our Cost Promise

At ScanCafe, we give you the option to discard up to 20% of your final order. This means you don't have to make a hard choice between affordability and quality when you preserve your black and white memories.

A Good Black & White Negative Scanning Service is Hard to Find

When professional scanning services digitize color negatives, many frequently rely on software alone to remove scratches. This approach is effective if scratches are relatively small and a typical color process was used to process the negatives. With black and white negatives, silver halide grains cause artifacts in the scan that don’t produce a clean image. Consequently, many services don't offer black & white negatives scanning – or, if they do, scratch removal isn’t included. The end result can be unacceptable, like the scratched image shown above.

If time hasn’t been kind to your negatives, we suggest checking out our photo restoration service that offers an array of benefits including more extensive repairs.

Check Out Our Other Services

We convert slides, negatives, APS Film, photos and more!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why scan/digitize my old photos, negatives and slides?
I have paper photo prints AND 35mm negatives, so which ones are better to scan?
How will the image files be organized once digitized and what devices are they playable on?
Can you restore images that have been torn?
What are your customer service hours?