Category Archives: scancafe

scancafe. oy.

Another from the Staten Island Ferry

I am all over the place, trying to get ready for the trip, getting photo stuff (batteries, memory cards, filter for new lens, adpaters for aussie voltage, etc), plus getting the daily nonsense done. Now, two weeks later (rather than 3-4 days), scancafe has reloaded my order.

Why did I do this?

I wonder if in the end it will all be worth it. I won’t have the images back before I go to Australia, because of their delay, which means they won’t be safe until I get back. Great. On top of that, the hassle of all of this, and the fact that many of the photos that inspired me to send the whole lot off weren’t scanned, makes me wonder if the time and money were worth it.

Reflecting, though I didn’t want the photos of college antics, there were a number of completely innocent photos that weren’t scanned because they were deemed improper. Okay, prudecafe. Some were of friends’ tatoos in Lithuania, inked by Narimantas. Furthermore, the Pakistan images aren’t there. I won’t know what’s what until I get them all back. Unacceptable. Annoying.

I’m too tired to even look through at the rescanned images. Thank heavens those I deleted are as marked.

Pleasant thought? Last week while doing laundry, there was a guy teaching his small son (about 3) how to do laundry. The kid sat on the machine and put quarters in, and helped with the clothes as well. That’s what I like to see. Cute, too.

scancafe and nudity ~ ha

So, scancafe is still finishing my order. So much for getting the images back before I go to Australia.

In case you have any nudes in your collection you want scanned, check out scancafe’s terms and conditions. I looked around for this before I sent my images but all I found on the site was that my privacy was paramount, which I (incorrectly) interpreted to mean—no problem.

When going through the scans I noticed that the negs of a series from days in the co-ops at U.C. Berkeley had been censored. When I lived at Casa Zimbabwe as a first-year, a few guys in the industrial kitchen started playing around. One unzipped (but not unbuttoned) his pants, placed a pork sausage from the freezer on the table in front of him, and starting hacking at it with a cleaver, making suitable tortured expressions. These weren’t scanned.

I told my friend Biju, more amused than anything as I don’t particularly want these pics digitized, and she said, “My god, it’s India. Have you seen their movies? Come on! It’s not like it’s Pakistan.” I agreed.

Some other nudes were missing as well, and I mentioned it to the quality control person now dealing with me on the order. He pointed me to their policy, and I replied, okay, I didn’t see that. They’d do well to include the information in their FAQ, which is where I had looked for it. Who reads all the fine points of the terms and conditions? Yes, the photos are mine to scan. No, scancafe doesn’t have rights to them. Okay, cool. I also asked why the kitchen images weren’t included as there was no nudity at all. Did they think he was castrating himself inch-by-inch as I photographed? Ha. Right.

Furthermore, on Oct 27 they said it would take 3-4 business days to complete my order (the rescanning). Today is business day 8 and they still aren’t done. Good grief.

(It also takes them about 2 business days to respond to anything.) Eeergh.

scancafe update from a quality manager


NYC is rainy today. Inspired me to buy the domain (Above pic: Brooklyn Bridge, 14 August 2008.) Here’s the scancafe update of the day:

Dear Anastasia,

I just wanted to inform you that I have found some quality issues with the images of your order which we have observed during my quality audit. I am personally involved in reprocessing the images in your order. Please allow 3-4 business days for us to complete this process. We will upload the reprocessed images online and will inform you through email once it is ready for your review. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.

Best Regards,

Quality Manager
Image processing center

This is good. I’m just hoping like mad that the 1936 images I deleted are still deleted, and I can review whatever has been corrected (yes, I requested this in an email), because I just can’t bear going through all 5783 images again. I been through them about 1.2 times. I also hope the Pakistan pics are found. Yay. (I also hope that I get the DVDs back before I leave for Australia.)

more thoughts on the scans

Picture 6

I want to clarify the last few posts on scancafe, and I’d planned to do this even before I was told I sounded whiney and was boring everyone with the scancafe stuff (probably including Kirigalpoththa. Apologies!). But I think consumer experience is important, especially when it’s something as important as preserving personal photos.  I started writing about the scancafe experience in August with the intent of sharing my experience all the way along. I don’t have the images back yet. I’m only able to see them online, in the format you see in the screenshot above (me, 1997).

As I mentioned in the comment to John, the scratches were on very old negs. I don’t think scancafe techs put them there, but they certainly didn’t clean them up, as their site says they do. Same for the thumbprint. That could easily have been cleaned. As for John’s job, if I had negs and images I couldn’t live without, I don’t think I’d send them to scancafe. And I didn’t send my medium format work. I thought I’d test them with this job first.

I’m exhausted by looking through all the pictures, which contributes to the mood. My deadline is Nov 2, next Monday, and 14 days total is not that much time to go through all 5,783 of them considering the format of the site. The pictures were numbered in order, but the folders aren’t in order. When I told customer service this, they told me I could rearrange the photos into folders. Because I can’t see what image is in what folder, this would take far too long. It’s just not worth the time. (S/he acknowledged that this would take years, and said their people are working on a better way.)

Customer service also told me I could tell them which images weren’t to my liking and they’d take them to their technicians. I might take them up on this, though it will require going through all the images again, and I really just want it well and done so I can move on to other things. I will have to send them though workflow to archive anyway.

I’m not regretting sending the images to scancafe, as it would have been about $1500 anywhere else. We’ll see how the job turns out in the end. Who knows? I might be perfectly happy. 🙂

finally done reviewing scancafe. where are years 1997-1999?

Picture 5

Exhaustion. It took seven days, but I’m through the scancafe pictures. All 5783 of them. Question: Where are years 1997-1999? Yes, I know I lost the India negatives (1998) but I didn’t think I’d lost Pakistan (1999). They pick up again in June, 1999. I read in a review on photonet that it’s not uncommon for scancafe not to do the entire job. Oh heavens.

My camera broke in Turkey, before India, and so I bought a point and shoot to get me through the trip. (This was 1998.) So I wasn’t that bummed about losing those negs. But Pakistan? And I had some great pics of NYC in that bunch, too. Hmmm. I hope they are there. I’m not careless with my negs, and I lost the India negs because they were with the albums and, I think, fell out when I moved. No reason for the others to be gone. Yes, this means there will be no comparison with the Pakistan photo below.

It’s all a bit anti-climatic, finishing. Especially when all the images aren’t there. Ah, well. As it goes.

I’ll run through them all one more time tomorrow and delete a few more. I finished with 32% deleted. Will try to edit out a few more, then be done with it. Will wait until I receive the DVDs to organize them, rather than mess with their system much longer. I’m reading The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers and just got a book on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to learn proper digital asset management. I love organizing, but I am exhausted by all these images. I’m not even through the Sri Lanka photos. And I’m soon off to Australia.

Slowly, but surely.

reviewing the scancafe scans. still. review. ing.


Okay, so I’m wading through all the scans. I’ve been through about 4500 and have about 1200 left. It least, I think I’ve done about 4500 as the images are no longer in order. They were pretty good up through the slides, but the negatives went all willy nilly. They seem to have been scanned in order, and are numbered as such, but the folders aren’t in any order at all, so I’ll look at images from Mexico, then see images of New York, and then it’s back to Mexico, which is annoying as I can’t keep fresh which images I had chosen if exposures are similar. I certainly don’t need them all. It also means I can’t keep track of the percentage I’ve deleted or even how far along I am.

So I suppose it makes sense to keep them in this order rather that reorganize & rename the folders them on their system, and do it again on my own, as I don’t trust them to get it right when burned to DVDs. Worse than the order, though, is the quality of some of the scans. I just passed one with a thumbprint on it. Huh? They claim to spend 3-4 minutes cleaning and optimizing the images. Some, maybe, others, no way. There are some scans I know can be better because I’ve scanned them myself (but didn’t go through all the negs before I sent them to take them out). They claim that they do scratch removal (they didn’t), but to not clean off a thumbprint? Hmmm.

Some of the color corrections are shockingly over-saturated and look odd. The slides looked pretty good, but now I’m at the negs, and it seems like the technician got tired of the job or something, and started zipping through them with no attention at all. I’m hoping the files will be large enough that I can correct, or re-correct, them in photoshop. There is a testimonial on their site that claims the photog’s photos came back 100% useable, whereas a competitor’s came back with 50% needing correction in Photoshop. I’d say a large number of mine, if I want to use them, will require adjusting in Photoshop. Some of the photos I scanned on an office copy machine came back with better color than the previews on scancafe. I don’t know if it’s because of overcorrection or not, but, whoa, that’s odd.

That said, I wonder if the job were smaller, a better level of quality would be maintained. I am glad I sent them off because it’s great to have the digital access. I’m not sure where I’d get better quality short of paying a few dollars a scan. I also wonder if their people are properly trained in negative scans, which are more difficult than slides. At any rate, if anyone has experience in this,let me know.

This project has me totally consumed, as I have to choose and organize them in the next few days, in addition to finishing the Sri Lanka photos and preparing for Australia! (I’m behind on email replies, I’m sorry!)

[Photo: Grandma K at the grocery store. 1995.]

scancafe: your images are online and awaiting your review



Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 1999, print-to-flatbed scan
Scancafe comparison negative scan to come

My 5783 scans are done! I received the message a week early, so now, so much for the Sri Lanka photos and trip planning. I’ve got to wade through all these images before November 2 (in 14 days) to decide which I want and don’t want.

It is amazing to see these images scanned. I’m going though the chromes (slides) first. It’s amazing to see them because many I’ve never seen larger than a 16x loupe. And, of course, to go back and see those images. Anything I haven’t digitized or printed hasn’t been seen in years. It’s like finding a stack of photo albums.

Other than being unable to sign into scancafe’s site (forgot password, and the retrieved password didn’t arrive in my inbox for >20 minutes, which was confusing as the site never verified that the password was sent), it’s fairly well organized thus far. Some of the images are much darker than the actual chrome, but only about 5% thus far, and I imagine I can fix those myself if I need to. Overall, it’s incredibly exciting.

The actual number of scans came back as 5783. My guesstimate was under by exactly 50. Wow, maybe I am neurotic. 🙂 Scancafe allows you to scan all your images, but you only have to choose and pay for half of them. I was sure I had so many duds that I might not even want half. I’ve only been through 506 of them, and I’ve only managed to delete 136, or 26%. Oh heavens. Scancafe is smart to work it this way. Guess I’m out about $400 more than I’d estimated. Very worth it, though.

scancafe: “your images are being scanned”

slides scancafe

On Friday, 18 Sept, I received an email from scancafe informing that my images have been received at their imaging center in Bangalore. They’ve sent me emails about my order along the way: when I placed it (31 Aug), when it arrived in California (8 Sept), and when it got to India. (It seems that it took one more day to go from Cali to India than it did NYC to Cali. Nice job, UPS.)

While I ate dinner last night, I thought about all of my images in India. Will one person be assigned to scan all 5000+ negatives and slides? Or do they break them up and assign them to different people? If it’s one person (which seems more romantic as well as potentially more weird)—good word they will know me well by the end of this job. I cannot imagine. I wonder who this person is, where she sits, if she likes her job, if she’s eating dosa for lunch or dal and rice. Who she is. Okay, it could well be assigned to a whole room of people. Who knows. I was given an estimated date of Oct 26 for them to be finished and online. If it’s one person not working weekends, that’s over 200 images a day. Oi.

When I checked my email a few hours later, a new update from scancafe: “A technician has been assigned to your order and the process of manually scanning & repairing each of your images is underway.” Hmm.

I reminds me a bit of a play I saw last year, “There or Here.” A subplot involved an American woman frequently calling a helpline for assistance with her computer and getting to know the woman on the other end in India who helped her out.