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Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of questions we often encounter before and after jobs. If you have any other queries, do not hesitate to call us on 1300 138 970 or contact us through our web form.

Why should I scan my images with Oscans?
As a scanning and archiving specialist, Oscans handles a variety of image collections, for families, photographers and large organisations (see our News page for details). Our experience in handling different types of image media means we have a high throughput capacity, so you will receive your scanned images within a reasonable time frame.
Oscans will give you all of your image files "as scanned" as well as "optimised" with our Photoshop processing recipes, which we have refined over the last decade. We deliver high quality results at a very reasonable price per scan.
We know that your images are precious to you, so we are happy to give you a few free test scans, so you know what to expect from our service. You are also welcome to make an appointment at our Sydney CBD office, if you would like to review our processes and facilities.Back to top

Do you digitise photos or film?
Oscans produces quality digital scans of photographs in a variety of print and film formats.
We use the term "print" to refer to any printed photographic image, while "film" may refer to negatives or positives (which are often in slide form).
Once we have scanned these images, we arrange them as digital files for display on your computer, TV or other digital device.Back to top

Do you chemically process film or can you print digital images?
Oscans specialises in scanning and archiving images, meaning that you can have your negative, slide and transparency film scanned to view in digital format.
We currently do not offer any service for chemical processing or printing, but you are welcome to take our results and print them through other specialist printing services.Back to top

I already have access to a scanner, why should I use Oscans?
Digitising your photo collections can take a great deal of dedicated time over several years and your images can degrade substantially in that period.
Oscans has invested in state of the art, pro-lab equipment and we are focused on doing one thing: providing a professional, high end archiving service efficiently.
Additionally, we have developed batch post-processing recipes, which we apply to all images, improving quality substantially and often bringing worn and faded images back to life. We have been specialists in the field for over a decade, so you can expect a consistent result from our scans.Back to top

Do you scan individual images or large collections?
At Oscans, we are geared towards scanning very large commercial and private image collections. Our efficiency in setting up systems and profiles for larger collections means we can substantially reduce the price for higher volume jobs.
If you only have a few images to scan, you may consider bringing more images to get the best value for your scanning needs. Many of our smaller clients continue to work with us and eventually scan their entire photographic archive.
If you do only want a few items scanned, we are open to receiving your work. Don't hesitate to contact us so that we can discuss your requirements.Back to top

Will I get my scans supplied as TIFF or JPEG?
TIFF files are uncompressed images which are an archival file standard, containing all information extracted from a scan. JPEG files are compressed and are typically 1/20th of the TIFF file size, but are good for most general applications.
As part of our standard service, you will receive your images on a CD in TIFF format "as scanned", as well as in JPEG format which is "optimised" with our Photoshop processing recipes. As the "optimised" images are generally vastly improved in tonality and colour, our clients typically prefer to use these for their purposes.
Oscans is quite happy to produce an additional copy of the "optimised" images in TIFF format at no extra price, as long as you supply us with a FireWire or portable storage device.Back to top
As part of our standard service, you will receive your images on a CD in:
  • TIFF format "as scanned"
  • JPEG format which is "optimised" with our Photoshop processing recipes.
As the "optimised" images are generally vastly improved in tonality and colour, our clients typically prefer to use these for their purposes.
Oscans is quite happy to produce an additional copy of the "optimised" images in TIFF format at no extra price, as long as you supply us with a FireWire or portable storage device.Back to top

How can I remove dust from my pictures?
Oscans standard service for colour film-based images includes the application of a dust removal technology called Digital ICE, which physically detects the existence of dirt and scratches and compensates for these imperfections in the output image (see more in next answer).
Digital ICE is very effective with small blemishes in film images, however if the image is extremely dirty, or if it is a photographic print or other format, there are ways to physically clean the image to reduce the amount of dirt on a scan.
If you choose to do this, you must be very careful. NEVER blow on your images with your lips. Exhaled air is wet and will very likely cause long-term damage. We also recommend that you do NOT use compressed air cans, as some contain a propellant which may leave a mark on the film surface.
You may consider a blower brush from a photo supplier, as long as you do NOT touch the bristles with your fingers, as doing so may cause the bristles to acquire skin oils, which may cause marking.
Microfibre or anti-static clothes are also effective cleaning tools, if caution is applied so that any dirt moved across the image does not scratch the surface.
You can even re-wash photographic film in very clean water (CAUTION: we do not recommend this for prints.). We have experimented successfully with washing mould spots from positive strips with a mild Swipe solution (Swipe is a water-based dispersant, NOT "Spray and Wipe"), but extreme care is required when drying, so that lint from cloth or tissues does not cling to the image.Back to top

How does Digital ICE work and what types of images can it treat?
Digital ICE is proprietary technology owned by Kodak and is used on our Kodak HR 500 Plus Scanner. It removes the appearance of nearly all surface defects from colour photographic film, including dust, scratches and mould.
An infrared sensor analyses the surface of the film and detects the precise areas of imperfection so they may then be digitally removed from the image.
Digital ICE cannot be applied to print scans, nor to most black and white film. To address this issue, Oscans applies our own propriety system of digital dust-removal as part of our post-processing recipe for these types of images. With our standard service, we may occasionally include digital spot removal to some images when we feel that it is necessary. Our heirloom and premium services include spot removal and individualised enhancement across all images.
If you have any enquiries about how Digital ICE may be applied to other image formats, contact us.Back to top

I have read that Kodachrome cannot be treated with Digital ICE.
Good News: Kodachrome can be ICE'd with our systems. We use the best Kodak slide scanner ever made, the Kodak HR 500 Plus. You are welcome to send us a few to test at no charge for scanning.Back to top

I have to make an A4 print, how big does my scan have to be?
A very high quality print requires 300 dots per inch (DPI) printed onto the paper. Oscans standard service is to create a digital image of at least 2200 x 3300 pixels across the edges. We believe that this is sufficient to print onto A4 at 300DPI, but may also print to A3 at a lower resolution.
To obtain this pixel count, we adjust the pixels per inch (PPI) captured by the scanner based on the physical size of the photo.
For our standard service, a 6x4 inch print will be scanned at approximately 600PPI and a 135 film negative will be scanned at approximately 2400PPI. Higher quality scans will have greater PPI and will print at high quality to a larger print size.
All film cameras, modern and old, were capable of producing images that are at least this resolution.Back to top

How much can I expect to pay per scan?
Key factors that differentiate pricing include:
  • Scanning resolution
  • Size of the job
  • How much physical handling is required (eg. loose prints or stuck in albums?)
  • Individual image treatment/attention to detail upon image processing
  • Expected throughput rate for delivery
We believe our prices are very reasonable and we are happy to provide a quote for your scans once we have determined your specific needs and have reviewed your collection. Please contact us for more information.Back to top

I am reluctant to let my photos go to anyone. What assurances do you offer?
We understand this concern, as we would feel the same about our own images.
Oscans' staff treat all forms of client photography with the same quality and care we give to our own images. Film strips are handled with clean white gloves. All film is kept covered and in its holder until the time it enters our scanners. We minimise any contact with (or exposure to) the film surface.
Be assured that your images will NEVER leave our CBD premises, unless you have particular delivery requests.
We are located in a secure office building in the CBD that is completely locked up when we are not present.
If you have any concerns, you are welcome to arrange an appointment to visit our offices and inspect our facilities. Some prints are too important to let out of your premises - if this is the case, give us a call so that we can discuss any special arrangements.Back to top

Why do I sometimes get a black (or white) edge to the scans?
At Oscans, we make an effort to minimise cropping of your scans, to get as much information as we can from every picture. As a result, our devices may occasionally overscan the image, leaving a black (or white) edge. We apply quality control to all of your images to crop the edges out of these scans; however, it is possible that we occasionally miss a sliver across the side of your image.
This issue is easily fixable using standard image cropping tools. If you have any concerns about the way your images have been scanned, do not hesitate to give us a call.Back to top

Why do the scans from my film look different on screen compared to prints I have from the lab?
When you receive your digitised film images, you might notice a slight difference between your scans and any other printed copies that you may have.
There are many reasons why you may perceive a difference:
  • As part of our standard service, you will receive your files "as scanned", as well as in an "optimised" format, with our Photoshop processing recipe applied to each image. In most cases our processing service improves the image substantially, however if you're not happy with the optimised files, you are welcome to use the original "as scanned" files.
  • Colour and tonal information will often vary depending on how the processing lab or digital scanner interprets the information within the film image. Every interpretation is different, so it may be reasonable to say that there is no "true" print of most real-world images. At Oscans we make an effort to bring the best out of every image.
  • Other variables that may affect colour and tonal information include the calibration of your monitor, as well as the image file's colour space. We scan files into AdobeRGB 1998 colour space because we believe this provides a wider gammut of colour. We are happy to save the images into other colour spaces if required for certain purposes (such as web publishing).
Oscans is prepared to work with you in order to get consistently favourable results.Back to top