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Old Nov 19, 2011, 9:25 AM   #1
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Default Fuzzy Zoom-in

I hope someone will take the time to read all this but I must give all the info for proper diagnosis of my problem. I am taking pictures of documents to be uploaded to a web site. My camera takes at a resolution of 2816X2112. I can look at the picture on my camera and zoom all the way and I have a clear picture. I then go directly to a flash drive from my camera. Then I open all and resize to 640X480 to shorten uploading time. When downloaded to view sometimes the image can be zoomed in on and be clear as a bell and sometimes it is fuzzy. I do not think I am doing anything different. I was first thinking it was the camera. My cohorts on the other end think it is something with my computer or the program I use to resize. I use the microsoft program in the OS. This is not a hobby but part of my job and I need to get this figured out. Thanks for any help.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 9:55 AM   #2
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If you downsize an image of an 8.5x11 document to 640x480, it's going to be fuzzy.

That's 56 pixels per inch. At 12 characters per inch and 10 lines per inch, that's less than 5x6 pixels per character. That's going to be fuzzy.

If you want readable images, you shouldn't downsize them. And better yet, you should use a scanner. For what you're doing, a cheap scanner will do a better job than an expensive camera.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 9:59 AM   #3
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Tell me about the scanners available but first let me tell you the documents I photo are sometimes 14X17-24" and in bound books. Courthouse docs.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 10:21 AM   #4
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Well, first, anything except a flat-bed scanner won't work, and you don't need an automatic document feeder (ADF).

The good news is that scanned documents are easy to stitch together, so you can use a legal size flat-bed scanner to scan different portions of the same large page, and piece them all together later.

Also, if you've got a workgroup or enterprise copier available, it may already have the capability to scan. Canon's imageRUNNER series, as an example, can scan a document and store the image on a network computer or server. You might check with your IT department on that.

Canon, Epson and Hewlett-Packard are probably the most popular flat-bed scanners, but Fujitsu is also a good choice. Anything with a legal size scan surface should do what you need.

But check with your IT department to see if you already have a copier that can scan, before you commit to anything else.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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It has to be portable, going from courthouse to courthouse. In my business photo images are the norm. I just need to find out why sometimes I get good clear zoomable pics and sometimes I don't.
Thanks
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 12:15 PM   #6
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I suspect that you're never getting sharp, 640x480 images of 14X17-24" documents.

Can you provide links to some of your documents?
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 12:38 PM   #7
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The current web pics have all been removed. I am taking these pictures @ 2816 X 2112 and they are good clear shots. I can view them in the camera and zoom right down on a word and it is very readable. I have been told that when I re-size (in some work done 2 weeks ago) were also clear. I just need to find out what variable is messing up my work.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 1:34 PM   #8
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A 14X17-24" document at a resolution of 2816 X 2112 will be ok. that's about 150 dots per inch. So, in the camera, they'll be great. When you downsize them to 640 X 480, they'll get fuzzy. That's 34 dpi, or 3 x 3.5 pixels per character!

Faxes are 100 dpi, so the image in your camera is better than a fax, but when you downsize them to 640x480, they'll be 3 times worse than a fax.

If you want the downloaded images to be legible, you need to upload the originals without downsizing them.
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 2:14 PM   #9
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G'day Dave

Interesting project mate - and an interesting set of "problems"
TC has given you some good info ... may I offer some more

2 things mainly
> as original documents vary so much in size, [if I were doing this project] I would suggest you obtain a copy stand and use your camera / zoom lens combo to capture each document 'as-is'
> forget about downsizing pixels to shorten uploading time ... the image quality is too important to lose major amounts of image quality.

I have an old photo-enlarger with a sloping vertical column - the sort of unit you can pick up from the Sunday Trash 'n Treasure markets for $20 - removed the old film-enlarger bit and attached the camera instead. Thus the camera winds up & down and the zoom lens can 'see' all the document regardless of the size of the page. [nb- if there is paper curling, maybe a sheet of glass or perspex will be needed to hold it flat]

I would be using window light for illumination of the original documents
I would also be exposing all documents as "EV+1, maybe EV+1,5" as white paper often confuses a light meter causing the image to go darker than it should be

Very few things these days are down sized to 640 x 480 ... even the most basic computer screen is double these pixels, and therefore any image at 640px will be fuzzy to view

As this is part of your job, you need to get it right pretty quicky - and I suspect that doing the above will solve most of your problems

Regards, Phil
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Old Nov 19, 2011, 3:38 PM   #10
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Bound books would be difficult at best for a flatbed scanner, though there are specialized scanners made for just this purpose.
As you are getting the results you want from the full size photos, it seems the difficulty is in the software used for resizing, and possibly somewhat in your technique. If your camera isn't aligned very exactly with the page, the resizing software is going to be dealing with diagonal lines, which will show up less clearly when re-sized.
If the documents are typed or printed, I would recommend taking your pictures in .TIFF format, which can be used with OCR software. This would give you the ability to save them in document formats, which are much smaller in file size, editable, and reproducible. If the docs are handwritten, of course, it gets more difficult, as OCR software will usually have more errors, and require a lot more editing.

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