A free iPhone app released today from memory-sharing site 1000memories makes your phone work like a scanner.
The Shoebox scanning app helps you digitize, organize and share collections of photos from the past.
You use the camera on your iPhone to snap a picture of a photo. Shoebox auto-detects the edges of the photo, then crops and straightens it. You can add information such as dates, names, and locations, then upload the photo as a JPG to 1000memories.com. There, you can be organize and share your pictures.
Of course, the quality of Shoebox “scans” depends on the phone’s camera. If you have the latest iPhone, the 4S, your digitized Shoebox photos will be on par with what you’d produce with a typical desktop scanner, 1000memories cofounder Jonathan Good told me. The 4S has an 8.0 MP sensor for high-resolution mobile scans, as well as an improved f2.4 lens for quality lower-light scans.
Good says he also gets excellent results using his iPhone 4. The app is compatible with all previous iPhone models, as well as the iPad.
An Android version is coming soon, Good added (to the delight of this Android user).
The popularity of the iPhone camera has proven that people want something thats quick, accessible, and easy to share, says 1000memories’ other cofounder, Rudy Adler. “For us, thats what providing a social mobile scanner is about – making it as easy as possible for people to get their photo collections digitized and shared with the people they care about.
It’ll certainly make scanning a box of photos quicker, and it’ll be easier to digitize photos in your relatives’ possessionno need to persuade Aunt Bertha to let you cart her precious album home.
Note that the app outputs a JPG file, but the TIF format, which creates uncompressed files, is the most widely used type of file for digital master photos. That lack of compression is also why TIF files are large and impractical for electronic sharing. So you may want to create TIF backups of important pictures.