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

Camera recommandation.

Everything camera related. Includes triggers, batteries, power supplies, flatbeds and sheet-feeding scanners, too.
DSpider

Camera recommandation.

Post by DSpider » 30 Dec 2009, 15:42

Which camera do you think would be the best option within say, a 300€ budget ? I'm talking about regular books mostly. Some of them have graphs and a few photos here and there... Not necessarily high gloss magazines (tho some textbooks have a kind of gloss applied to the covers).

The cameras (or camera, depending on how expensive the model is) have to have a trigger option either by USB or by remote as long as it it's NOT wireless. I would very much prefer wired triggers. Fiddling with the insides to "extend" the capture button isn't really a problem, but not really preferred either.

I hear Canon A480 is a pretty good, cheap camera but since I have plans for some serious OCR-ing... It would probably work ok with covers too.



I was thinking instead of using two cheap cameras, use a really good one (like a D-SLR) on odd pages, flip the book upside down and do the even pages.

Would you recommend forking out some extra cash for a D-SLR ? I was thinking of Canon 450D because I hear it comes with a wired hand trigger. The camera is pretty good for photography as well with a good noise balance (or so the reviews say).

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by daniel_reetz » 30 Dec 2009, 15:58

1.Many Canon Powershot cameras can be triggered via USB using modified firmware called StereoDataMaker. See "supported cameras" at that link. Refurbished Canons are available in the US for around 129 USD, not sure elsewhere.

2. Many Canon Powershot cameras can be triggered via PTP or the Canon SDK or the Linux program Gphoto2. See the documentation for those projects to see supported cameras. This method requires some kind of computer.

3. All compact digital cameras can be triggered mechanically. Kite Aerial Photography people do that with servos. Our user Antoha-SPB suggested using a mechanical mechanism like bicycle brakes. This has become my new favorite idea because it does not involve electronics or custom firmware.

4. Upgrading to a DSLR will make your system more expensive, but will probably give you somewhat better image quality and should afford you a wired remote. Even if it doesn't have a wired remote, you can "pipe" the infrared signal to the camera with a fiber-optic cable. DSLRs also have mechanical shutters that can potentially wear out. The Archive.org people have mentioned that shutter wear is their biggest problem.

Shooting with one camera can halve the cost and speed of a scanning setup. I think our user "Ann" is using a single DSLR and getting good results. Spamsickle has used two different cameras. Wels built an expedient one-camera system.

I still think the Powershot A590 using SDM is one of the best values for the money. Problem is, it's getting harder to find them all the time.

DSpider

Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by DSpider » 30 Dec 2009, 16:08

I thought all cameras have mechanical shutters. :) Except maybe those 18th century cameras where you had to lift a veil off of it to get exposure.

Considering the average book has about 200-250 pages... Doing 100 books would mean about 25.000 snapshots. Would that kill the camera ?

Does a better, expensive camera help significantly improve OCR-ing ? Resolution probably helps. Noise levels as well. But a good lighting system could probably take care of that, right ?

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by edembowski » 30 Dec 2009, 23:26

There are 3 things in general when looking at a digital camera:

- The optics
- how many megapixels
- the size of the sensor

I'm using an 8mp camera, and I'm happy with the results. For what we're doing here, point & shoot cameras have adequate optics, so that's not an issue. For the sensor size, it's generally true (but not always) that more expensive cameras have larger sensors. That's probably not true for point & shoot, but it is for DSLRs. The reason that a larger sensor is desirable is that each sensor element catches more light, and they have less noise.

For OCR, I'd suggest processing your shots with Scan Tailor. That's going to get rid of most of the problems I've talked about, leaving it down to how many megapixels. If you're using anything over 5mp, and it's well lit you'll probably have a great page for OCR after processing.

- Ed

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by StevePoling » 31 Dec 2009, 02:42

daniel_reetz wrote:3. All compact digital cameras can be triggered mechanically. Kite Aerial Photography people do that with servos. Our user Antoha-SPB suggested using a mechanical mechanism like bicycle brakes. This has become my new favorite idea because it does not involve electronics or custom firmware.
The lasered plywood in the 3rd generation design already has a steampunk look. If you can get bicycle break levers and cabling in a brass finish, that'll double-down on it.

DSpider

Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by DSpider » 31 Dec 2009, 06:46

A cheaper camera will probably work fine for text and such, but what about graphics, covers, etc ? Would a flatbed scanner take care of those ?

Is there a model that draws power from USB and communicates with the computer in such a way that you can adjust and trigger it via software ? It doesn't have to be Canon.

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by daniel_reetz » 07 Jan 2010, 09:30

No compact camera can get enough power from USB. You should drop that from your requirements. My A590s draw over an amp when taking a picture.

They are getting closer to porting CHDK to the A480. Also, theA480 is now $89.

I really think that 8-10mpix Canon Powershots are more than good enough to do covers and images. I posted some images from my camera setup here. Aside from Misty and Ann, though, AFAIK nobody has shared any real "high quality" images from their scanners, and unfortunately I don't have the time to take a bunch of pictures for you at the moment. I will be posting a blog article about Misty's historical society soon, including some very nice sample images, as the start of a series on people who post stuff to our "book projects" section.

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by Misty » 07 Jan 2010, 10:38

8-10mp is probably perfect for the types of books that most people are doing. It just depends on how much fine-grained detail you need. As the sample images Daniel will be posting show, I'm scanning some very very physically large objects, which contain very fine-grained detail; my 14.7mp camera is only barely enough for some of those, and I could have made use of an even higher-res camera. Most people don't need that at all, and will do fine with 8-10mp.

Thanks, Daniel! :D Just a quick correction there: I don't work for a historical society, but rather a public library that's been partnering with local historical societies. We don't own most of the material I've been scanning, though the samples I sent you came from the County archives and a book in our collection.
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: Camera recommandation.

Post by daniel_reetz » 07 Jan 2010, 11:33

Ack, sorry. :\ I knew that, but I keep getting it wrong... publicly. :)

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Re: Camera recommandation.

Post by Misty » 07 Jan 2010, 12:08

That's fine. ;) I'm used enough to people being confused about my job, anyway, given that I get called a librarian all the time.
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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