1) Does the service scan the types and formats of media in your collection (e.g. some services don’t convert stereo slides or large format negatives)?
DpaDave scans any slide, as long as the film is in a 2×2 inch frame.
2) Does the service provide industry-standard quality, image sizes and features needed to ensure high quality image files – such as high dpi options, digital cleaning, enhancements and a quality guarantee?
Unfortunately, there are no industry standards covering the scanning of slides. We work hard to ensure high quality slides. Our scanning is done at 6,000 DPI, and this is the maximum that we can deliver. Prior to scanning, each slide is cleaned, and after scanning each image passes through an electronic image pipeline which corrects most color fade, and digitally adjusts exposure.
We don’t repair physically damaged photographs, but we do correct for some common aging effects in cases where the age related degradation is obvious. Most of the time, we make a dramatic difference in the image. Sometimes, photos are so badly aged that the best we can do is make it better.
Some of slides or prints we see have faded completely to red, and we can’t restore the original color as the blue and yellow dyes are now transparent. The result is a picture that looks like it was taken through a red filter. The options at this point are to live with the red photo (maybe it was the intended artistic effect) or convert the photo to black and white. Most folks are pleased with the black and white version of these red faded photos, and we therefore always convert these particular photos to black and white. But, we send you both versions just in case! If we have converted a red faded photo to black and white, you’ll see we created a sub folder on the disk in the folder where the B&W conversion resides named “Red Fade Originals”. You can find the originals of the red faded photos there.
A picture with a blue tint indicates that the yellow dyes have faded, or the photographer was trying for deep blue sky or water. We have no way of knowing the original intent, so we do not correct blue tint.
Our software detects and corrects for small (less than 30 micron) scratches on all photos we process. Larger defects can be restored, but require an artist’s touch. Please contact us if you want to repair one of these images, and we can recommend a reliable artist. Typical prices are $30 each and up.
Sometimes, a few of your slides may have unusually stubborn dust or mold on the film. These slides go through our tenacious dust cleaning process. In most cases, this process has resolved the problem, but occasionally, you may see smudges or dust particles in the image which we have been unable to remove.
All slides go through a cleaning process. Two air knifes, one on each side of the slide, are used to blow dust or grime off the film. An air knife, as shown on the right, uses compressed air (1), mixed with entrained air (3) to create a sheet of fast moving air (2). Your slides passed between two of these devices, one above, and one below.
Tenacious cleaning process
Slides with dust that is tightly adhered to the film, or with mold that is growing on the film, go through an additional process to try and remove this tenacious dust or mold. First, using a clean, dry micro fiber lens cleaning cloth, both sides of the film are lightly brushed. This removes dust particles which are tightly attached to the film surface, and reduces the thickness of mold that is growing on the surface.
Mold is usually found on the emulsion side of the film, and is living on the chemicals of the emulsions. This mold cannot be removed without significantly degrading the image. For this reason, we scrub it as described above, to make the mold as thin as possible, but we leave the mold in place.
Finally, we offer a simple guarantee: If you are not satisfied, we refund your money.
3) How are your original photos and newly digital images organized upon return? What are the options for digital file delivery (CD/DVD/Drive/Online)?
We build a file structure up to two layers deep per customer instructions. Typically, customers want the top levels to be the year, with the next level being the month. We do not offer online file transfer. Images will be sent to the customer, along with the originals, on a read-only DVD optical disk.
4) How long has the photo scanning service been in business and do independent parties recommend and trust the company?
DpsDave has been in business since January 2011. Prior to that, we did business as DPS-NW.com for 9 months. The parent company is Digital Photographic Services, registered in Oregon since 2010. We are new, growing and vibrant.
DspDave.com has been awarded the highest ranking by FindTheBest, a service providing unbiased, data-driven comparisons. Here is a link to that review:
5) How will your photo collection be safeguarded from start to finish and do they outsource, off-shore operations or use subcontractors?
We use robust and redundant business processes to protect your photos while they are in our possession. We return ship via UPS, as they have a good track record, and provide a tracking service for your package. We do all the work in Philomath, Oregon. We do not outsource or use subcontractors for scanning.
6) How will the company respond to customer service inquiries, what is their standard of service?
I (David Orr, President) respond personally to customer service inquiries. I answer the phone, and respond to the emails. The customer connection is a critical part of the business, so of course I do this personally. I hold myself accountable for responding to calls within the hour, and emails within a day.
7) What is the turnaround performance promised? Have they consistently delivered to, or exceeded, customer expectations?
Our promised door to door turnaround time is 3 weeks. The time from when we receive the photos to the time we ship them back to you is usually 2 – 3 days. The majority of our turn around time is determined by how long it takes the photos to travel back and forth from the customer’s location. I you live in the West, you will get your photos back in a little over a week, and up to 3 weeks if you live in the east.
Sometimes, customers need the photos back in a hurry, and choose to pay for expedited shipping. Our record for turnaround time is 36 hours for a customer in Seattle who was prepping for a family reunion.
8)What is included in their basic service? What extras and options are available and how are they priced?
Our basic services are:
9) How is shipping handled – included?, ala cart?, prescribed shippers? real-time tracking?
Shipping and handling is $12.00 on orders of less than $100, free on orders of $100 or more. We use UPS, and will send you the tracking code when we ship.