Man, I was hoping it would only be my local FHC (Santa Rosa, CA) that had outdated equipment. It was not only slow to scan and to put the scan on my USB stick but I had to do one half of a page at a time (the record books go across the full open pages of the book and doing half at a time makes it impossible to read later). Also the scans weren't that good. To add insult to injury, they charged the same amount for the scans as for paper printouts (25 cents/page, though at least I convinced them to charge me half price because of the above issue). None of this is a big deal when you need a couple of pages, but I was getting most of an entire film (at first because I realized I was related to everyone in it but then for a JewishGen transcription project).
I finally gave up and a volunteer got me the scans from SLC. A couple weeks ago, I found myself in SLC visiting a friend and had the joy of 2 whole mornings in the genealogical center. Amazing. Everything is completely free (they do charge for prints) and the machines are very fast. Plus there are a lot of them so you don't get kicked off when someone else wants a turn. Of course I could do the entire double page with them too. My two mornings (about 9 hours total) got me one 1000+ scan roll, 200+ scans from another roll, and an entire rare book (hundreds of pages) photographed with my camera. At my local center, 9 hours would have gotten me about 450 scans and nothing else (corresponding to 225 pages), and would have cost me over $50 (including the film rental).
I don't mind donating some funds to this amazing body of work. I do appreciate the equipment, infrastructure, and time put in to this. But I would rather find the best resources I can.
Anyone here in the San Francisco Bay Area? Where can I find the best equipment and most reasonable costs for scans (no printing needed)? I'm willing to drive an hour to San Francisco or Oakland. Easier than driving 12 hours to Salt Lake City. :-)