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Imtiaz Jan 29, 2006 11:19 AM

Hello there,

Need help here , I got one old hand written book to scan, book is very old of abt 18th century and quite largein size to fit with portable scanner, l was wondering if l could do that by using any good digital camera, with extra lights or what ever, or is there any other device or way to do that, bugdet is quite handsome for that, any suggestion will highly appreciated,,thanks

mtclimber Jan 29, 2006 11:38 AM

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Yes, with some documents, such as the one in your proposal, it is much easier to photograph each page/document. The attached sample photo was taken with simple Fuji S-5200, using the macro mode, under existing light, which I find to be the best and easiest light source to use.

I hope this helps.


E.T Jan 29, 2006 3:49 PM

I think pretty much any good digicam can do it, it doesn't require focusing to ultra close or to tiny target.

Getting good lightning is propably harder than finding camera, using cameras internal flash tends to cause strong reflection. (light reflects away from surface in same angle as it hits it)
Moving camera so that you don't take photo exactly above helps but it also distorts.

Maybe I should try how wireless flash works if I use it to illuminate book from side...
Of course 500W halogen would surely give enough light.:G

E.T Jan 30, 2006 2:39 AM

I tried wireless flash (with diffuser) by keeping it in other hand and it works quite well in providing good lightning evenly, also there isn't such reflection problem like when using cameras own flash as light source.

Pinchas Jan 30, 2006 3:13 AM

I recently sold an antique book (1890s) on eBay, and it was too large to be scanned too. I made some pics with my FZ20, but encountered the following problems:

* My book had glossy paper - the light source reflectson the pages.
* I couldn't take the picture top down, because my head or the camera would
appearas a shade on the page(s) - I had toplace the book at an angle, almost
* I had to use my other hand to keep the page straight, and to prevent it from
moving forward.
* Using the widest angle (equiv. to approx. 35mm), to get closer to the page,
willgive it a rounded look. I needed to zoom in somewhat (1.5x), but then had
tomoveaway from the book to make the pages look straight.

Well, in the end I managed to post reasonable pics, and the book sold... for a nice price. But,withregular sized (or less) books or other flat objects, Iprefer scanning above digital imaging. Much easier, and no logistical problems as described above.

Good luck!

mtclimber Jan 30, 2006 10:04 AM


The problems that you encountered are common ones, but none the less, easily taken care of with careful shooting.

*Reflections-that is why I use natural lighting with the WB set to cloudy.

*Perspective Control-corrrect the perspective in software

*Fingers holding pages- take from overhead

The more you do this kind of work, the better the job. It does take some technique, but with patience, it can be done.


Imtiaz Jan 30, 2006 9:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I tried that with Sony f828 and resultcame very nice, just took under morning sunlight, but l think l should use a constant indoor light for consisntancy. Any waythanks all of you guys, you are real help , and thats one of the reasons l love this forum, Cheers

slipe Jan 30, 2006 9:43 PM

Get the free PT Lens and put it in Photoshop as a plug-in. It eliminates barrel distortion and makes the page look better. You can set it up as an action and bulk process all of the images at once.

mtclimber Jan 30, 2006 11:44 PM

Paint Shop Pro 9.0 will do the same thing for you.


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