SOURCE: ScanCafe


March 03, 2009 11:00 ET

ScanCafe Perfects the Art of Black & White Negative Scanning

Hand-Crafted, Patent-Pending Approach Yields Breakthrough Scratch Removal

BURLINGAME, CA--(Marketwire - March 3, 2009) - ScanCafe, the premier online photo scanning and restoration service, introduced today its new black & white negative scanning process, aimed at professional photographers, photojournalists, and anyone with black & white 35mm negatives. Now, black & white negatives can be preserved, with dramatically reduced scratching, for just 69 cents per scan. Prices for a similar service from a local photo lab can easily reach $30 an image or more.

The Scratch Issue

Most pros and photojournalists have a substantial archive of black & white negatives that they'd like to preserve. But until now, there hasn't been a truly affordable, high-quality way to scan a large number of negatives. The problem is in the nature of black & white photography itself: the silver halide grains in the film are brittle and induce scratches very easily. Plus, those same silver halide grains are incompatible with the infrared light used in software-based dust and scratch removal tools such as Kodak Digital ICE. Thus scanning services that depend on automated processing either don't offer black & white negative scanning, or if they do offer the service, they fail to remove the extremely large number of scratches commonly found.

The ScanCafe Solution

ScanCafe's world-class technical and operations team, led by materials science Ph.D. and COO Naren Dubey, has developed a two-step process. The first step is a new twist on traditional wet mount scanning, in which the negative is suspended in a solution prior to scanning. The details of how the negative is suspended are a patent-pending innovation of ScanCafe. The resulting 3000 dpi scans eliminate some scratches and display a substantial increase in tonal depth, effective dynamic range, and sharpness. In the second step, each scan -- like all scans at ScanCafe -- is hand-finished by one of ScanCafe's skilled imaging technicians. Scratches visible at a set resolution level are removed, and any necessary cropping, re-orientation, and moderate damage are addressed by hand.

"Many of our customers are professional photographers, and they've asked us to offer black & white negative scanning," said Sam Allen, CEO of ScanCafe. "Before today, we haven't been able to produce ScanCafe-quality work for black & white media at a price that would allow a pro to scan his entire archive. But with this new cutting-edge process, a pro can both preserve and breathe new life into his portfolio, since each digital image can now be made available -- and marketable -- with just a few key strokes. The results of this process are truly extraordinary and deliver the image quality that professionals need for many applications."

About ScanCafe

Founded in 2006, ScanCafe is an award-winning scanning service, serving photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts alike, that is dedicated to preserving America's memories. ScanCafe scans and digitally repairs old photos, slides and negatives by hand, creating digital files that can be safely stored and shared forever. ScanCafe has successfully scanned and repaired more than 21 million images to date and was selected as best scanning service by Money Magazine in 2008. ScanCafe is based in Burlingame, Calif. For more information on ScanCafe, please visit

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Tami Casey
    Kulesa Public Relations/ScanCafe
    (650) 340-1984
    Email Contact