I have a wicked flatbed scanner. The thing is amazing. It scans everything. However, when it comes to scanning old film negatives, as you can imagine, it's incredibly time-consuming. A colleague of mine put me on to a company called ScanCafe - one of an increasing number of companies who will do the donkey-work for you. There's a few others, but ScanCafe is massively undercutting them all right now, with discounted rates and Christmas sales. They're a full 15c per negative cheaper than their nearest competition, and that includes shipping and tracking. You send your stuff to an amalgamation centre in California, and from there, palettes are UPS'd to their scanning facility in India. Get this - everything is hand-scanned, and they're still cheaper than the US competition. I think the difference is that the guys in India are probably pleased to be providing a service whereas their US counterparts probably see it as one step up from flipping burgers. ScanCafe ask you to estimate the number of negatives up front, and charge you 50% when you order. When your scanning is complete, they publish albums in your account online so you can accept / reject each image. In the end you only pay for the ones you keep as long as it's 80% of the order or more. In my case, if I take every scan, the total cost to me is $257. Sounds a lot, right? Lets see you sit at home and hand scan 1000 negatives (the size of my first order). For me, $257 is the cost of no hassle.
I'll let you know how it goes, but right now, there's a sturdy box UPS-ing its way to their amalgamation centre with my first batch of negatives in it.
Their site : ScanCafe. If you sign up and order before November 8th, there's also a 20% discount coupon : LAST4XMAS.