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Advice on a camera good for "DOCUMENT CAPTURING"

by Shamimt / June 23, 2007 1:07 AM PDT

Hi there
My old Camera just died, and I'm looking to buy a digital camera along the lines of the Canon Powershot SD800 IS or the AD570 IS (i.e. my budget is up to $300)

I will use the camera for regular family and personal shots - but I also really need the camera to take good photos of old documents (archival material) - paper size varies, but is generally a regular Letter/A4 size paper.

Please can anyone advise if it's more important to have a more powerful optical zoom (e.g. 4x) or a wide angle lens (like the SD800) in order to get a better capture of the documents. - or is there other factors I need to consider? Obviously the aim would be that after picturing the documents, that I can view the text on the document clearly, with adequate contrast. I realise that lighting is a big issue, but are there any factors in the camera that I need to be looking for as well? Any specific models you can recommend?

Thanks to all you experts for your advice!!

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Let's say what DPI we need for a document?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 2:00 AM PDT

I'm picking 600 DPI since you wrote archival. It's a document and not a picture so color is unimportant.

To take a readable picture of a 8.5 x 11 inch paper that works out to be this formula.

8.5 x 11 x 600 x 600 = 33,660,000 pixels

You'll need a 34 megapixel camera to get this done.

Today I only see 10 megapixel in the consumer cameras.


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Thanks! -
by Shamimt / June 23, 2007 2:11 AM PDT

Great Bob! Sounds like I'm doomed then! Well, assuming I won't wait until 2012 for that camera, is it then just the Megapixels that is the most important factor? I will obviously just then aim for the highest available, and will not get 600DPI as you explained. Is anyone aware of any cameras that have a "document capture" mode?
Thanks a lot for your help!

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A scanner would do this better.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 2:17 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks! -

It's like they saw. Get the right tool for the job.


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If you can convince libraries!
by Shamimt / June 23, 2007 2:23 AM PDT

Hi Bob!
Yes, obviously a scanner is ideal - however most historical libraries and archives don't allow scanning (for the light) and will allow digital cameras without flash - which is why I'm on this track! But thanks a lot for your advice.

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Most research libraries offer such services.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 2:28 AM PDT

I've been to such research libraries and they have the tools to give you an image for inclusion for the usual papers.


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(NT) Oops, saw or rather say.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 2:25 AM PDT
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Document Capture
by snapshot2 Forum moderator / June 23, 2007 8:59 AM PDT

Most digital cameras can capture documents.

Some have a special "mode" setting for documents or text.

I have used the Fujifilm F30 for copying 8.5 x 11 inch pages.
It has a "text" mode.
It can handle documents much larger and much smaller too.
The F30 has 6 megapixels and that is sufficient for documents.

In text mode, you have a choice of flash or no flash,
and Macro mode is automatically selected.
If the room is well lit, you will be able to capture documents while hand holding the camera.

For better aiming accuracy, a tripod is preferred.


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