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 for scanning LP record jackets

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ThrillaMozilla
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Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by ThrillaMozilla » 23 Oct 2012, 13:42

I have probably a few hundred LPs to digitize, and I don't know whether to laugh or cry about the expense of scanning jackets.* Fortunately, this is right in you guys' bailiwick. Think of a record jacket as an oversized book. It's about 12 1/4" square.

So, what kind of camera to get? Price is an object, as is quality. Apparently, many of you have had experience with the Canon A2200. The A810, A3200 IS, maybe the A2300, and the Coolpix L24 are also mentioned. Are these likely to give pretty nice quality? I tried half a cover with a 4MP camera, so I think 14-16MP should be adequate for the whole cover. That would give up to 270 pixels/inch. But there are other aspects to consider, such as lens quality and even brightness across the field. I know these small zoom lenses also tend to give a lot of barrel distortion. That could be a problem. I have done some homework on these cameras and done some searching on this forum, but it's hard to get solid information. I am interested in what you guys know or think about this.

Ha! I just noticed that there is a thread that was right beside this one, by someone looking to scan A3 size. It's a different problem, though. Those Plustek scanners are either (1) wimpy in width or (2) over my budget.

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* Ok, here's the sad news if you want the details. If you've ever tried to scan something like that, you probably know that a scanner that's big enough costs thousands. Almost all scanners have raised frames around the glass, so even with a semi-affordable, large, A3 scanner, you still have to scan it in pieces and bend it in the middle. Kinko's wants over $1 /square foot, for a start, but since it's slightly more than a foot in two directions, they want to charge me for 4 sq. feet. That's right, $8.64 for both sides! Then there's whatever oversized booklet there might be inside, that needs to be scanned. It would be cheaper to buy Kinko's outright, but FedEx beat me to it. (By the way, Kinko's would probably hassle me about copyright, too. Fortunately, this is legal, since it's all for my own use, for stuff that I bought and paid for. Or if it isn't legal, I don't care.)

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daniel_reetz
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by daniel_reetz » 25 Oct 2012, 11:40

For only a few hundred LPs, let me suggest some alternative plans.

1. Find a friend with a new-ish DSLR and borrow it for two days of shooting.
2. Buy a DSLR at a place with a liberal return policy, scan your books and return it.
3. Buy a DSLR kit, shoot the things, and re-sell the DSLR as "almost new" - eating the $100-$300 loss.
4. Rent a DSLR for a day.
5. If you're a student, universities often have programs where you can loan out gear for things like this. Even my old crappy uni had nice DVCams on loan, I used them a lot just for screwing around and testing out ideas.

ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by ThrillaMozilla » 25 Oct 2012, 14:36

Thanks for the reply. Are you suggesting that the DSLRs will have much better image quality with the kit zoom lens?

You do have a point that the SLRs do have much bigger sensors and lenses than the cheap ones. I suppose buying or renting is not really out of the question.

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daniel_reetz
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by daniel_reetz » 27 Oct 2012, 11:23

No, I am not suggesting that... only that the kit lens is probably the cheapest you can get.

ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by ThrillaMozilla » 29 Oct 2012, 00:10

Let me try this again. Are you recommending an SLR over the smaller, cheaper cameras because you think the smaller cameras will not have as good quality?

ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by ThrillaMozilla » 02 Nov 2012, 14:51

Oh, wait. There's the PlusTek A330 scanner for under $500. It supposedly will do a full 12" wide, and it looks like the glass is flush. That should do it. Either that or one of the cheap Canons for $60 to $100. For a solution in the middle there's the PlusTeck A3800 ro $250, with flush glass, but I would have to join two halves. Thanks for the reply. Solved, I think.

ThrillaMozilla
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Re: Camera for scanning LP record jackets

Post by ThrillaMozilla » 26 Nov 2012, 12:07

I borrowed a Canon ELPH 300HS (12 M pixels) to try it. It's not great, but pretty good. The pixel count is adequate. There's very little barrel distortion (it might even be perfect if I wanted to play with the focal length and distance).

The image is noticeably noisy, and a bit soft, especially off axis. I can't detect the softness on axis unless I enlarge it a bit. Applying a median filter and sharpening the image helps, but there's a noticeable increase in noise. This camera offers only the jpeg format, and that's a little problem around edges.

Overall, a scanner beats it easily for image quality.

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