August 23, 2011
Although there are technically several ways to convert microfiche to PDF, TIFF, or JPEG, only one of them will deliver to you a high quality product, in a fast amount of time, at a low price. That method, of course, would be to send your microfiche to Generation Imaging in Florida via USPS, Fed-Ex, UPS, DHL, or via courier. But let us quickly go through the other methods to convert microfiche and see why they aren’t truly options:
- Buy your own scanner. Sure you can get a ScanPro 2000 for a few thousand dollars. We have one of those- but we wouldn’t dare use them to convert microfiche for you. The reason why the ScanPro is inexpensive compared to the high production microfiche scanners is because the optics are poor for scanning microfiche; the high reduction ratio of microfiche (24x to 48x), lack of advanced quality filters, and rudimentary camera optics are all factors that are obstacles for creating a quality image. I didn’t even mention that you have to load one card at a time for the ScanPro. Although the ScanPro has its uses for other media, and it does come in handy for us for odd microform we may come across (it’s our business to receive all types of weird film) it’s not suitable for producing an acceptable quality to convert microfiche.
- Buy high-end scanners. High production/high optics microfiche scanners (what Generation Imaging uses) can run you anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 each depending on make and model. In addition to maintenance costs, you must consider training, managing labor, workflow, and technical support.
- Flat-bed scanner. PC scanners are unable to convert microfiche (the magnification is too low).
- Reader printer. Reader printers cost around $3000 to $8000. The manual labor is very time consuming to convert microfiche to digital image (one frame at a time).
- Used scanners, used reader printers, etc. Although used scanning equipment sounds good on paper because the prices are cut by thousands of dollars, they don’t come with any warranties. When you consider that reader printers are known to break down and parts are needed, and the same can be said of microfiche scanners.
Ultimately, it is more cost effective and safer to allow Generation Imaging to convert microfiche for your project. You can plug the numbers yourself and weight the risk factors. If you have a small volume project which requires you to convert microfiche, it’s a no-brainer to use Generation Imaging.