For a limited time, the Rochester Public Library (RPL) has a scanning system that will scans your old photos and put them on a flash drive. It has been provide by Kodak and is their Picture Saver Scanning System, model 450. It is located in the Arts, Music and Recreation Division in the Bausch & Lomb Building at the Central Library, on South Ave. in downtown Rochester. I went to use the system yesterday and the first thing I found out was that it already so popular that you need to make a reservation. Call ahead at 428-8140 to make your reservation. They will give you an hour slot to scan your photos.
I did use one of these scanning systems before in a Walmart. The system that they had would let you save your scans to a Picture CD. The system at RPL only lets you save to a USB flash drive. If you don’t already have a flash drive than you can buy one at the Circulation Desk or in the Library Store.
The first thing you do to scan your photos is to pick what resolution you want to save at; 300dpi or 600dpi. If this were a commercial setting you would have to pay more for scanning at 600 dpi but seeing as this is a free service you might as well pick the 600 dpi. Next, you put in up to 25 photos in the document feeder. It can handle photos from 2 x 2.5 inches up to 8.5 x 34 inches. The photos don’t have to be in the feeder actually square as the software will automatically rotate the output scan if the photo is slightly rotated. I made a big mistake by not reading the directions (guys hate reading directions). I was supposed to put the photos in the feeder with the tops of the photos facing down. I was able to fix this later. It takes less than a minute to scan the first 25 photos than you add another 25 and click on the button to scan more. I took about 100 photos and I was done in no time.
After you are done scanning than you can go through and fix the images before you save them to the flash drive. Seeing as I had put most of my photos in the wrong way, I had to rotate the images. You can rotate left, right or 180 degrees. After that, I used the software on the system to enhance the images. I went through all the images and the software shows a before and after image. About 90% of the time I went with the enhanced image as the colors looked much better. A few of the enhanced images looked washed out so I kept the original scan. The last thing was to save to my flash drive. I only ended up with 80mb total for the 100 photos of varying sizes from wallet to 8 x 10. Total time was 40 minutes. Most of the time spent was spent in deciding if I wanted the enhanced images or not. The lady that was on the system before me had a stack of photos 7 or 8 inches tall. She scanned them all in an hour but didn’t do any enhancing.
I have a flat bed scanner. It would have taken me at least 5 hours to scan 100 photos by hand. The Kodak system is incredibly faster. I can’t stress enough that this system is free for a limited time. The library isn’t sure how long they will have it available or if it will become a paid service. So make you reservation ASAP.