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

"Archival Quality" Camera

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Navter
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"Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Navter » 03 Mar 2010, 07:53

Hi Guys, I am pretty new to the site, and have been mainly lurking, looking for ideas. I will (hopefully!) begin building a scanner fairly soon, but there is one thing that is of concern for me. I am going to be scanning rare books/scriptures etc., some dating back hundreds of years possibly. I want to make sure that I scan these rare items in the highest quality possible, so that the digital copy is available, if, ever, anything were to happen to the original. Basically, I want to "archive" these items.

My question is regarding the type of camera I should use. I am leaning towards a DSLR, which I assume would give me the best quality image / highest resolution. (I am a newbie when it comes to cameras!) Would a Canon Rebel, or something such as a Nikon D90 be sufficient for me? Concerning the lenses, I am following misty's thread about zoom vs. prime lenses, and will follow the recommendations in there.

Thanks for any and all assistance!

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Misty
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Misty » 03 Mar 2010, 10:24

Archives tend to use Canon EOS cameras, partly because of their quality and partly because of their programmability - Canon has a longstanding API that allows remote firing of the cameras with advanced features, and that's often used in professional scanning systems. The model depends on the budget - professional archives with large budgets will probably tend to prefer the 1Ds Mk III, a full-frame camera with a 21.1mp sensor that retails at $7000, while smaller budgets may go for the 5D Mk II (also full-frame 21.1mp, $2500) or the 7D (18mp APS-C, $1700). You might want to keep an eye on reviews of the new Digital Rebel T2i/EOS 550D that was recently announced - it's also an 18mp APS-C camera with a similar sensor to the 7D, but retails at $900.

For large items with very fine details, the Nikon D90's 12.3mp sensor might not give you enough resolution. I'm using a 14.7mp camera, and even then there are some oversize records in which I may be missing some particularly fine details.
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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Antoha-spb
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Antoha-spb » 03 Mar 2010, 15:45

My scanner works with EOS400d that produces excellent JPEG pictures out of 300x200mm XIX century paper originals.
A3 format (400x300mm) may be captured too with satisfactory resolution.
Larger sizes require more mpixels, better optics and light.
If you don't need wide format and got a limited budget EOS 1000D would be fine. With more money available you can follow Misty's advices.

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Misty
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Misty » 03 Mar 2010, 17:08

Canon's numbering is kind of bizarre. To translate those to North American models, 400D = Rebel XTi, and 1000D = Rebel XS. Ann is using an XSi (450D), which is a 12mp camera, and having great results on A4/A3-sized items too.

What sizes are the books and scriptures you're digitizing? I know that some older ones can be quite large, but you may not need to work with anything larger than a standard-sized book in which case a camera with a lower megapixel count like the D90 could work great.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Navter
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Navter » 19 Apr 2010, 12:22

Hi guys, sorry for not following up with the post. I appreciate the feedback from everyone. Concerning the cameras, i dont want to set a budget (within reason, obviously a 12 thousand dollar camera is not going to happen, but i dont mind spending the money if i know we will get good results). No preference towards Canon/Nikon at all.

The canon 5d and 7d sound like what i would prefer.

Most of the books will be max. 8.5 x 11 inches.......but there are still a 50-100 books that are much bigger, i would say 14 x 20something inches (i dont have the exact sizes off hand)..........

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Misty
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Misty » 19 Apr 2010, 14:17

It's just as well you waited, since the reviews and analyses of the T2i/550D are in now! It looks like performance is very close to even with the more expensive 7D - while there are some minor variations, the most significant differences are in features you don't need for book scanning like burst frame rate. Given that you can get two T2is for the cost of a single 7D, it looks like it's definitely the better choice for book scanning.

Are the oversize books you will be scanning primarily text-based, or with images? That might influence your choice of camera. I use a 15mp camera, and have been able to scan books at up to 11.7x17" containing maps and line drawings; however, I had some slight moiré on a few pages which indicated that I didn't have quite high enough resolution to fully capture all details. If they contain very fine details, you might want to go for 21.1mp to be safe; 18mp seems like it should still work to me though, and would definitely be sufficient for text.

For a sample, here's that 11.7x17" atlas online: http://images.ourontario.ca/brant/details.asp?ID=69862 The pages are scaled down a bit from the full 15mp size for the web versions. Would you like to see a 100% crop from anything? If there's a particular page you would like, let me know.
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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Misty
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Misty » 20 Apr 2010, 11:05

I was just looking at the review of the Sony Alpha 850, which seems pretty solid. It's a 24mp full-frame DSLR that retails at $2000, which makes it the most affordable camera in that range. "Most affordable" is a pretty relative term when we're talking about multi-thousand dollar cameras, of course - and again, I wouldn't recommend getting something like this for book scanning unless you really, really think you'll need the high res above 12 or 18mp.

A DXOMark comparison shows that it holds up very well to the more expensive 5D and 1Ds, with the only real weaknesses being high-ISO performance and burst frame rate, neither of which matter to book scanning.
The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Pagnol
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Re: "Archival Quality" Camera

Post by Pagnol » 29 Apr 2010, 06:11

Has anyone tested whether using a DSLR significantly lowers the error rate when doing OCR with FineReader?

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