Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Built a scanner? Started to build a scanner? Record your progress here. Doesn't need to be a whole scanner - triggers and other parts are fine. Commercial scanners are fine too.
daddyE
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Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by daddyE » 10 Mar 2010, 18:28

I'm new to the scanning area... so please forgive my ignorance. Can someone describe the reasons for creating a camera based book scanning system versus just removing the binding from a book and feeding the pages through a flatbed scanner with a document feeder?

I realize that for historical texts, destruction of the binding is non-optimal. But for a lot of people that are embracing the e-book era and discarding or boxing up their mass-market physical books after scanning, wouldn't it make sense to just destroy the binding and more easily scan the pages?

Is there a quality difference? (i.e. does the camera-method offer a higher quality and therefore higher OCR accuracy?)

In my opinion it seems like a lot of work to sit around and flip every page of every one of my 500 books. Ripping off the binding and sitting a stack of paper on a flatbed scanner sounds easy in comparison.

What am I missing?

E

spamsickle
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by spamsickle » 10 Mar 2010, 19:13

I think most of the reason is to enable scanning books that shouldn't be destroyed for one reason or another. You're right, it is a lot of work, and for many of my books I am cutting off the spine and feeding the pages through a scanner. That's a bit of work too (I'm using a box cutter rather than a table saw -- what are you using?), but not nearly so much as turning the pages and snapping pictures and doing a lot of post-processing.

I'm convinced that there are steps I could take in post processing the camera-based images that would result in a smaller PDF file when I'm done, but I haven't taken the time to nail down what those steps are. For the size of the file, byte-for-byte, I currently prefer the results I get from the destructive scanner.

BTW, I'm not using a flatbed scanner; I'm using ScanSnap, which scans two sides of each page at once, and has options to ignore blank pages.

jonwilliamson
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by jonwilliamson » 10 Mar 2010, 19:16

Depends on your situation. There are several situations where a camera based system is advantageous:
  • Non-destructive scanning of old, rare, or valuable items.
    Scanning of large or oversize items.
    Scanning of items in poor condition, unusual thickness or paper type, brittle, etc.
    High throughput vs. price, particularly on the aforementioned items where a document feeder won't work
    Portability/flexibility for multiple sizes/media types
Just for grins, go price a tabloid/A3 size flatbed scanner with a document feeder. That isn't a particularly large size and won't work for maps, blueprints, or other large media types. The price of flatbeds doesn't drop particularly fast either, at least not as compared to the consumer camera where new models with more megapixels are released every few months. Now consider that you can build a camera based system for a fraction of the price of the flatbed and have lots of flexibility and scalability to upgrade the optics in the future and you see why this project is so popular.

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Misty
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by Misty » 11 Mar 2010, 10:53

Non-destructive and oversize item scanning is certainly a major reason for me. However, speed is also a major element - operating a camera is much faster than operating a flatbed scanner, and a lot of my post-processing can be automated. At this point, I prefer scanning even many flat items that would fit in a scanner using my book scanner setup because it provides a much more time-efficient solution without sacrificing any quality.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by Antoha-spb » 12 Mar 2010, 06:12

i am scanning mostly historic books. Even those which pages are falling apart because of completely dead binding still cannot be loaded into scanner's ADF as these pages are thin and will not survive an occasional jamming.

modern books that i happened to scan were just not mine, so removing binding were kinda impolite towards their owners ))

possum
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by possum » 12 Mar 2010, 17:14

You're not missing anything. It's just a matter of destroying the book or not. The desirable part of the flatbed approach for me is that the software provided with the scanner handles all the post-processing automatically and the output is a tidy sequential pdf, with no further manipulation required. For that reason I considered munging my scanner to make it more book-friendly but it didn't really seem worth it considering the photographic setup is so much easier to construct and the exposures are instantaneous, as opposed to 30-odd seconds for the scanner.

re quality, scanners and cameras are currently similar. My dad is a photographer and recently scanned all his negatives and prints with good quality consumer gear. He reports being entirely happy with the results. The scanner has sufficient resolution to capture the grain of the film, which I personally found somewhat surprising.

Best of all worlds would be a purpose built commercial book scanner, but they are presently exorbitant. That's why us poor folk diy. I wouldn't be surprised if a consumer product appeared before long, given the popularity of this forum.

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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by Misty » 12 Mar 2010, 17:31

I know there's been at least one attempt at making a book scanner for this kind of market - Atiz briefly sold something called the BookSnap, which was simpler compared to their professional offerings and supported a few non-DSLRs. It doesn't seem to have been very profitable for them, though, and they discontinued it.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

dtic
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by dtic » 13 Mar 2010, 14:01

You've so far mentioned (1) the DIY dual camera scanner setup and (2) document feeder scanner for de-spined books. A third option: (3) using a high speed flatbed scanner and manually turn the pages. I have access to such a scanner and I suspect many people have without knowing about it. Many corporate level copiers of today actually have excellent (in quality and speed) scanning capabilities and they're available at many offices, libraries, universities and so on. (3) can be problematic when scanning texts of a personal nature or if scanning copyrighted material (compared to (1) or (2) at home). But it needn't always be a problem.

That being said I still aim to build my own camera based DIY scanner. But I think (1)-(3) complement each other.

Regarding flatbed scanners: I would love to hear if there are some projects on hacking low end flatbed scanners (without document feeders) to speed up book scanning. (I can't find any in the forum here or when googling but I may lack the right keywords.) All low end flatbeds scanners I've used are painfully slow. Two causes for that: very slow moving "sensor arm" (don't know the tech term for it) and only one sensor arm. I don't get the latter design. Why not 2 or more parallel sensor arms, taking care of a part of the sheet and decreasing scan time? They can't be that expensive, right? Has anyone seen any attempts to hack/mod in extra sensor arms? It sounds really hard of course. But hey that was my first (incorrect) thought concerning DIY camera book scanner setups before finding this site so... :)

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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by rob » 13 Mar 2010, 17:41

I think if you're going to hack a flatbed scanner, then you may as well try to build something like the Treventus ScanRobot...
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Re: Book (camera-based) Scanner versus Flatbed Scanner

Post by possum » 13 Mar 2010, 19:46

That's crazy. I love the way it sucks the page onto the sensor. Making something like that would keep you busy for a loong time.

I suspect the constraint with scanner speed would be the bandwidth of the data channel. You'll notice they scan at different rates depending on the settings - at 2-bit b&w 200dpi, they're pretty fast but slow right down for hi-res colour. Big expensive scanners are pretty fast, presumably because they have higher-bandwidth, more expensive electronics. 2 or more arms would have to hit each other at some point, wouldn't they? That's if you could work out the data interfacing.

Slow, I could live with but the thing that deterred me was that it looks like it would be tricky if not impossible to get the edge of the sensor right into the spine of the book (talking non-destructive here). I prised the frame off my canon in a frantic endeavour to get it book-friendly, and found the edge of the unit is about 2cm from the page-edge mark. About 1cm of that seems to be just frame and could be eliminated with a bit of effort, but then you hit the edge of the scan arm hardware. Whether that space could be reduced depends on the particular hardware and more pullling-apart. One good aspect is that the guide rail looks to be just a central polished ss rod so there's no fiddly guide rail to be dealt with at the page edge.

There's at least 1 commercial unit that does it - http://www.plustek.com/product/book3600_plus.asp, but it just says 'close to' the spine. It's also a bit pricey, limited to A4, and generally a bit of an unknown. The diy photo rig works, scales to any size and is cheap so, for me, it seemed the better way to go.

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