Cameras forum

General discussion

photographing documents

by amoranik / August 1, 2004 4:40 PM PDT

what should i be looking for in a camera if one of its main functions would be taking shots of printed material (from old books/manuscripts)?
does anyone have any recommendations not exceeding the 300$ barrier? Wink is the Sony SPC-93 good for that purpose?


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Re: photographing documents
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / August 1, 2004 9:41 PM PDT

You didn't give any SPECIFICATIONS of what DPI you need of what SIZE PAGE you were going to photograph. But here's how many pixels you would need for an 8x10 photo at 300 dpi.

8 x 10 = 80 square inches

300 x 300 = 90,000 pixels per square inch

80 x 90,000 = 7,200,000 pixels.

You'll be looking at the 8 to 10 megapixel cameras.


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I use a 4 megapixel camera.
by Kiddpeat / August 14, 2004 1:19 PM PDT

It does a fine job on documents, but use a tripod to hold it absolutely steady and parallel to the document. If you can't use a tripod, figure out a way to brace yourself to take the shot. For large documents, you can take shots of parts of the page and stich them together in a photo program.

Screens display about 72 dpi, and printers will do ok with 150 dpi (a bit more, say 200 dpi, is better). You DON'T need a 7-8 megapixel camera. You can't get one of those for $300 anyway.

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Re: photographing documents/my thoughts
by Steven Haninger / August 15, 2004 12:13 AM PDT

Your biggest friend or enemy here is going to be lighting. This is especially true if copying non flat surfaces such as book pages. You will need very well diffused natural color hints at all from incandescents or fluorescents. You will have a lot of size variability as well and good camera optics are a must. Only use optical zoom as digital causes considerable degradation of the image. If you really want the best image possible, I would not go digital, however. A good 35mm SLR will produce far superior images that can be scanned to CD but at much greater cost per image. As for digital, I don't own but have worked with them and like the Nikons but Canons get some of the best reviews. Again, it's going to be optics and lighting that will be critical.

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That's quite true, even better is a scanner.
by Kiddpeat / August 15, 2004 12:46 AM PDT

They will get a far better image for less money. If you are in a library or in the field, then they won't work. The drawback to film is that you don't know if you've got a good shot.

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