You know, I'm kind of in the same boat right now too. After 5 years of faithful service that my HP
PhotoSmart S20 gave me, it went tits up a couple of weeks ago. Now I'm faced with the same dilemma...buy a new slide scanner or have someone else do it?
The slide scanner I want is around $1000, but with only 30 boxes of slides waiting to be scanned I can't justify buying it at the moment. I went to the "dark side" (went digital) earlier this year, so after these 30 boxes are scanned I see myself as only needing a slide scanner rarely to occasionally.
The way I see it there are three options:
(1) Suck it up and spend some big dough on a new slide scanner.
(2) Pay a commercial service to do the scanning for me.
(3) Pay a friend to scan them for me which should be cheaper than #2 above.
Buying a new slide scanner would solve pretty much all of my issues, but that would wipe out a very large chunk of my 2005-2006 winter photography season budget. I wouldn't be able to travel at all outside Colorado for the next year if I did this.
There are services that will scan your slides and film starting around $0.29 per slide. It looks like everyone is using a Nikon Super CoolScan 5000 ED
to do this. Just Google for "film scanning" or "slide scanning" to find these businesses on the web. Many offer to do some free, sample scans. I plan on sending 2 slides each to 2 different companies today and see how they do (I'll make sure they are slides that I won't cry over if they get lost or not returned). For me this would be the cheapest option though I hate not being able to control the scanning process.
I haven't found anyone I know that has anything above the HP
PhotoSmart S20. There is a guy in Denver that buys a lot of slides from me and I think he's got a high-end Nikon slide scanning. I've been trying to get a hold of him today to see if he'll cut me a deal on scanning services.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...