This was a popular request from many of our readers and TechGuru is on the case.
Digitizing your memories can be quite the endeavor. Deciding which memories you want to digitize and who you want to use to digitize them can leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately, I was able to research the big 3 digitizing companies and reflect on my own personal experiences using them to write this guide.
When it comes to digitizing, there are 3 main aspects most people consider when deciding which company to use. Those aspects are: price, quality, and reputation. All 3 companies make it simple to digitize your memories and all 3 follow the mail-in model, where they send you a box to fill up with your memories.
Let’s start with price, as for many of you this will be the absolute most important point when deciding on a digitizing company. In general, digitizing your memories is not cheap. However, it can be affordable if you stick with the essentials and not fall into a trap of hidden fees.
The GOOD news, all 3 major digitizing companies pretty much have the same prices. The BAD news, some of the pricing is a little complicated and messy, so I will break it down as simply as I can. All prices in this guide are taken from the date this article was written.
The Digitize Center Pricing
The Digitize Center has the most straight forward pricing. You strictly pay by the number of items you send in to be digitized. Pricing does not include the output choice (Cloud, Thumb Drive, or DVDs), but their output prices are market standard.
The prices above are with their current sale. You can also unlock a discount by entering your email address when entering their site.
Legacybox pricing is very similar to The Digitize Center where they charge by the number of items you send in. Pricing also does not include the output choice. One thing worth noting about Legacybox is they always seem to have some sort of sale going on, but the percentage off varies each day, which can make figuring out the price somewhat difficult.
It is worth noting that when you order from Legacybox with the cloud as your output, you are by default selecting their back-up service which they charge you a set amount each month depending upon how many items you send in. I am not a fan of a monthly fee just to access your memories.
iMemories pricing is different from both The Digitize Center and Legacybox. They charge you initially to order the box and send you a bill later after you have sent the box back. In other words, you are not going to know up front exactly what you are going to be charged until after you send everything in.
They also charge differently depending on the size of the item you send in. For instance, they charge by the length of the film reel, whereas both The Digitize Center and Legacybox count each film reel as 1 item, regardless of its size.
|2 Items||$29.98 + $14.99 for box|
|10 Items||$149.90 + $14.99 for box|
|20 Items||$299.80 + $14.99 for box|
|40 Items||$599.60 + $14.99 for box|
iMemories also charges $14.99 per every 50 feet of a film reel, and $0.49 per photo, not including the price of the box. Their prices also do not include the price of the output, which is difficult to determine. They do offer digital access for free, however you must use their app to access your memories and to continue using the app past a certain time frame you must pay a monthly fee.
Pricing Winner: TIE between The Digitize Center and Legacybox
The Digitize Center and Legacybox pretty much have the same pricing and it is very competitive. iMemories pricing is just too confusing for my taste and I am uneasy about the potential to rack up a huge bill without knowing up front.
It was not easy trying to determine the quality metrics each company offers. They are not plainly advertised on their websites and trying to get answers through customer service was a complete nightmare from at least one of the companies. Regardless, I was able to scrape what I could from their websites and through some digging.
The Digitize Center Quality
The Digitize Center claims to digitize everything at a very high quality and in the latest formats. From digging through their website and my own technical analysis, I was able to determine the following:
|Video Tapes||Source quality with image enhancement|
|Film Reels||1080p to 4K resolution depending on the type of film|
|Photos||300-600 DPI (restoration optional)|
|Negatives||3000 DPI (restoration optional)|
|Slides||3000 DPI (restoration optional)|
|Audio||High Bitrate MP3 with enhancement|
I would consider the quality metrics for The Digitize Center as excellent. The DPI they digitize photos, negatives, and slides is excellent and more than enough for a high quality digital image. The enhancements they apply to videos are essential for having a good quality digital file and their audio quality is also excellent.
It was a little difficult to determine Legacybox’s quality metrics on all different media types, however I could determine their DPIs for images.
|Video Tapes||Could not determine|
|Film Reels||Could not determine|
|Audio||High Bitrate WAV file|
It is unfortunate that I could not determine their video quality even after deep-diving into their website. Their photo scanning quality is excellent, and their negative and slide scanning quality is good.
iMemories quality was the most difficult to determine as I could not find information about it anywhere on their website. In fact, I could not find anything even related to their photo scanning DPI. For me personally, I do not like when a company does not disclose any of their quality metrics, or at the very least make it easy to find on their website.
|Video Tapes||Could not determine|
|Film Reels||Could not determine|
|Photos||Could not determine|
|Negatives||Could not determine|
|Slides||Could not determine|
|Audio||Could not determine|
Due to the fact that I could not determine any of the quality metrics for iMemories, they will not be considered for Quality Winner.
Quality Winner: The Digitize Center
It is clear here that given the above information, The Digitize Center has the edge when it comes to the final quality of the digitized memories. Their stated video, audio, and photo quality are all way above industry standards, and that makes them the clear winner in this comparison.
All of the big 3 digitizing companies have been around for some time so they have all developed their unique reputations. All 3 companies claim to have digitized over 1 million memories so they all earn a passing grade in experience. Legacybox has been around longer than the other two, and there is no shortage of reviews on the company from their customers. From own research, Legacybox has a good reputation for making the process of digitizing very easy to follow. iMemories has a reputation for having an easy-to-use app that you can download on your smartphone or tablet to view your memories. Lastly, The Digitize Center has a reputation for high-quality digitization and easy viewing and sharing of digitized files.
All 3 companies have thousands of reviews from their customers. When looking at reviews, I like to look at reviews posted on third-party websites to determine what their customers’ experiences were really like. Companies tend to hide the not-so-savory reviews on their main website. So when looking at the reviews of the 3 companies, I would recommend you look at these third-party review sites for each company:
The Digitize Center Reviews: https://judge.me/reviews/the-digitize-center.myshopify.com
Legacybox Reviews: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/legacybox.com
iMemories Reviews: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.imemories.com
REPUTATION WINNER: You Decide.
Check out the reviews and you can make your own determination on who’s reputation you like best.
If you are readying a digitization project, I would highly recommend going with one of the big three companies mentioned in this guide. There are smaller companies out there that do digitization, however these companies likely lag behind in the newer technologies available in digitizing. The newer technology used today makes a huge difference in the quality of digitization, which is why I highly recommend going with either The Digitize Center, Legacybox, or iMemories.
Happy digitizing and enjoy those memories!