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Scanning Photos

Posted: 22 Jun 2015, 22:05
by barnaclebarnes
We're looking at getting one of the DIY Book Scanners and using it for a couple of things:
  1. Scanning local books (people's recipe books, brochures and other books that won't get picked up by major scanning efforts)
  2. Scanning people's photo collections
My question is around the quality of the images that come from the scanner. If we use decent quality SLR's will the scanner take quality images of the photos? We want to be able to use the images in an archive so we want them to be of decent quality an accurate. The thinking is that somebody could come in with a shoebox full of their grandparents photos and scan them at a local library.

Are there any examples that people can point to of images that have been captured?


Re: Scanning Photos

Posted: 23 Jun 2015, 09:08
by dpc
If it were me, I'd be using a flat bed scanner for photos. Much easier to use and better lighting and resolution.

Re: Scanning Photos

Posted: 23 Jun 2015, 10:08
by cday
dpc wrote:If it were me, I'd be using a flat bed scanner for photos. Much easier to use and better lighting and resolution.
Yes, the only question is speed... But in practice using a book scanner might not be so much faster, although there might be some scope for refining the process for loose photos.

And with a flatbed, several photos can easily be scanned at once and then separated and straightened automatically in software, although the scan time would increase with the increase in the length of the scanner bed scanned. Single small photos, or photos palced side-by-side, should be scanned reasonably quickly if the scan is set up optimally.


A flatbed scanner could also scan slides and possibly negative film, depending on the model, which could be relevant to archiving, and would be relatively inexpensive compared with the book scanner if both are required.

Re: Scanning Photos

Posted: 23 Jun 2015, 11:45
by cday

If there were a need to image a large number of photos and the speed of a camera was required, a rather different design of 'book scanner' might be designed that is better suited to the purpose and possibly relatively easy to conceive and fabricate.

For loose photos a flatbed with a hinged glass platen would likely be more suitable, enabling photos to be positioned easily and flattened, as in a conventional flatbed scanner. As photos are generally quite small, a good quality camera should be able to capture enough pixels for most purposes. And if the camera were mounted directly above the centre of the platen, that and the relatively small size of the photos should minimise distortions, especially if the camera were mounted fairly high. Lighting the relatively small area evenly should similarly be relatively easy, whether with a lamp either side, or maybe a single lamp or four lamps, preferably at a distance...

If required, multiple photos could be imaged at once and later separated and straightened with standard software, although the larger area imaged would increase distortion and adversely affect the design of suitably even lighting. And slides and film could not be imaged.

An interesting project in concept, perhaps, but probably not actually relevant to the immediate need?

Re: Scanning Photos

Posted: 25 Jun 2015, 02:45
by barnaclebarnes
Thanks for the feedback. Speed is probably the biggest issue with flatbed scanners, quite frankly they are a bit of a PITA for scanning a lot of images. I do like the idea of setting a proper photo taking device that uses a camera though. You get the higher throughput and probably a better outcome than with the book scanner.

I will probably end up doing both in the long run though as there are a bunch of small books, diaries and pamphlets that we want to scan.