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Home /Science / How much does it cost to Scan Negatives?

How much does it cost to Scan Negatives?

By Christian Roemer

If you’re sitting on a treasure trove of negatives and you’re not sure what to do with them, the answer is easy: digitize them! Negatives are actually amazing little pieces of film, and they have tons of uses that you might not know about. For example, you can take them to the pharmacy and get copies of your favorite pictures, blow them up to make posters of your face like this guy, and even turn them into a cool hair bow (We don’t recommend the last one unless you don’t plan to ever use your negatives again).

We’re not going to tell you how to use your negatives. It’s your life to live, and you’ve gotta make your own decisions about what to do with your film stuff.


You should absolutely get your negatives digitized. It’s a great way to preserve the content on them before they get ruined by age, light, or dust. You took the pictures for a reason, and digitizing them is a great way to save them for future generations to enjoy.

Some of those pictures are also a potential cornucopia of likes on Instagram if you share them--like this picture of me as a kid wearing an army hat with a cigarette in my mouth. Man, I was so cute.

Now that I’ve convinced you how important it is to get your memories digitized, the next question that you probably have is, “Ok, I get it, but how much does it cost?” It’s a great question that I’m going to answer, but only after I show you a picture of me getting my favorite bike ever when I was six years old. Look how happy I was! Also, those bangs, wallpaper, and jeans are something else. That’s what I call invaluable, myself.

Option 1 (>$150 + Time)

Buy some fancy equipment. Amazon has a bunch of different things that you can purchase to digitize your negatives, and the prices are all over the place. Starting at $150 and up, you can get a little machine that can process your negatives and turn them into digital photos.

While Option 1 seems cool, and who doesn’t like neat equipment, that minimum $150 cost doesn’t even come close to measuring the time cost that you’ll spend processing all of your negatives. I don’t want to get into a whole bunch of math, but if you’re digitizing hundreds of photos, that’s a lot of time you could spend doing something different. Sure, $150 might not be much to some people (I’m not one of those people; I’m a writer, after all), the time cost is where this method really gets you.

Option 2 ($0.25 per slide)

Let Southtree Digitize the negatives for you. Our list price is about $.25 per negative to digitize. That means you’d have to digitize 187 negatives before you break even on the out of pocket costs. Except that’s not exactly right, because you get price breaks per negative the more that you digitize. Even more, we have specials sometimes that can drop the per-negative cost even more.

What I’m trying to say is, unless you’re a technology buff who loves buying single-use machines that are bad for the environment, then by all means, digitize your negatives yourself. It’s not really cost-effective, time-efficient, or particularly fun, but you do you.

But if you’re into saving money and taking the easier path to success, let Southtree digitize your negatives. You’ll be happy that you did!

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