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Old 01-16-2008, 01:58 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by Studio717 View Post
ereszet, have you posted the plans anywhere for the hinged-side cradle? My apologies if you have and I missed the link.
Sorry for my late reply.
Unfortunately, I have made no plans of the cradle. I just told my friendly handyman what to do and I gave him approximate dimensions. You need to rely on the photos I had provided in my posts. The dimensions of my v-cradle are suited for A4 size of paper but a larger sheet of paper or book can be put in the v-cradle as well. If you are interested in exact dimensions of the cradle and its parts I can measure them and submit in a post.
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Old 03-03-2008, 07:40 AM   #122
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What about this? Costs less than £5.00 and is available in three sizes:






This one for $12:



here:
http://www.iqra.org/index/items.asp?...atus=0&Tp=&Bc=

All you need to add is a sheet of clear glass to smoothen the pages.
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:54 PM   #123
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How much does this cost and where can i buy it?
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:28 PM   #124
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I'm interested in the camera better than scanner aspects because I'm currently trying to buy an A3 scanner in order to scan a large number of magazines. I will have to buy a sheet of glass and see how well my camera works for this. If it does go well it will be cheaper to buy OCR software and build a stand than to buy a scanner, that's for sure. Even using my Canon 30D would probably be cheaper per page than a scanner with "free" software (assuming the camera only lasts 50,000 shots before the shutter needs to be replaced at ~$500, and the scanner lasts more than 10,000 pages).

Quote:
Originally Posted by ereszet View Post
I guess that a film camera (i.e. still photo film camera) can produce a better result (in terms of resolution and color) than a digital camera.
A digital camera will do substantially better than a film one for this task, largely because of the speed which which you can check and reshoot photos. Unless you work in a photo lab the time it takes to check a film exposure is at least a day.

A DSLR (the equivalent of most film cameras) will produce slightly better images than a film one for this purpose, but as your results show very clearly the problems are not with resolution or colour so much as distortion, noise and unevenness. Digital will almost certainly do better than film on all of those (there are b&w reproduction films that would probably do well but those are probably unobtainable in 35mm these days, I think you would need to use microfilm or large format cameras).
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Old 03-09-2008, 10:50 PM   #125
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Doesn't look like it would work all that well for a typical paperback book.
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Old 03-09-2008, 11:18 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
Doesn't look like it would work all that well for a typical paperback book.
I suspect that buying a sheet of slightly thicker glass the size of a trade paperback would help, if you're worried about holding the book in place and open. Or you could glue a sheet on at an angle to do the same thing. I vaguely recall that glass is pretty cheap if you just want a rectangular bit cut to size.
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:42 AM   #127
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OK I downloaded the trial version of FineReader and I'm impressed. Even with slightly uneven lighting and no sheet of glass to flatten things out it did impressively well. On the book page I tried the only "error" was font sizing on a word in italics. It even managed a page from "The Lorax" with mostly extra non-text recognised, with that removed it was fine. Magazines not so well, lots of extra spaces in the middle of words although it did pretty well on the slanted fragment of the opposing page.

Thank you so much for your extensive reports and evaluations, ereszet, this is wonderfully useful stuff.

Overall, it's enough for me to ask for a refund on my as-yet undelivered A3 scanner and start shopping for a couple of sheets of glass. I think I'll be using my camera for this stuff. camera and schoolchildren, possibly, if I can persuade a friend that her desire for money matches my low wage offer

Edit: glass is cheap... 3 sheets (paperback, trade paperback and A3) cost me ~$30 including having the edges polished so they're not sharp. Given the labour costs the actual glass has to be just about free.

Last edited by moz; 03-10-2008 at 08:42 PM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:26 PM   #128
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Ereszet.

I enjoyed your article very much. It has been a big help in converting pdf's to editable text.

You mentioned that you would do a "how to" on converting poor quality pdf's to editable text if there was enough interest.


I would be very interested in this. Hope you can find the time for this tutorial\howto

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Old 05-25-2008, 06:13 PM   #129
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I've just discovered your interesting topic about using a camera instead of a scanner just while I'm trying it. My need is to digitalize old documents in historical archives, both as single sheets and books. The main need is for books since they are forbidden to photocopy. Unfortunately it is also forbidden to make use of a tripod and people guess for various devices to hold the camera tight on the documents laying on the work table. I builded a self-made device with a heavy metal base and a metal tree holding a horizontal arm to screw the camera to. I made some satisfying tests with a Nikon Coolpix L1 for single sheets, by shooting via USB cable with Nikon's Remote Control software. As for books things were more difficult due to the need to hold the book open at an angle of about 90°, so I shooted first the pair pages and then the odd ones, the photographed page lying on the table and the previous pages with the cover being held vertically by my odd hand while with my right hand I hit the key for shooting. Now unfortunately 1) I lost my L1 camera 2) Nikon has discontinued Remote Control for all models. So I'm looking for some camera with remote control sw and as you too said the only ones are Canon's.
Now I'd like to ask you if you have thought of photographing books just lying horizontally on the table and have some suggestions to improve such procedure
TIA
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:06 PM   #130
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You can try this to steady your camera when a tripod is not available/not permitted.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2146191_make-string-tripod.html
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Old 07-15-2008, 08:39 AM   #131
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can anyone make a wiki of this vast post please ?

I mean, first what do I need, especialy what kind of lamps

second, what is the procedure to adjust my camera? no flash? what kind of white balance?

last, what is the afterwards procedure? how do I photoshop them to achieve better OCR results in finereader? or finereader will fix them all?

thank you
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Old 09-26-2008, 12:22 AM   #132
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Building instructions for cradle where ?

megalomania supposedlly has documented some building plans for a cradle.
Has anyone seen these plans and can provide the infos ?


The link quoted does not provide access and megalomania does not reply. Thus I need alternative information. Other sources and/or plans are appreciated.





Quote:
Originally Posted by megalomania View Post

........
A little over a year ago I built my own V cradle based on a picture of the Atiz BookDrive DIY. It does not look as nice as the one ereszet built, but the principle is identical. I have images of the cradle and building instructions in a thread at my website: http://roguesci.org/theforum/showthread.php?t=1232 I actually posted about my book cradle starting on page 5 of the thread.
........
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Old 11-28-2008, 07:36 AM   #133
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I've never tried with a film camera, but my experience with those is that the film grain would probably spoil OCR results.

Please watch out for high megapixel claims especially on cheap camera's
-1st: their sensor has often less Mp but the built in software interpolates
-2nd: a cheap tiny 10 Mp sensor gets hot and produces speckling noise while more expensive 5Mp camera's have a larger and better quality sensor that will produce better results. Reports that even a 2Mp phone camera might give acceptable results might for a part be explained because these sensors are probably low energy and the pixels are not as much interfering with one another. I'm still convinced that this is not my personal favourite solution but it is worth a try if you already own such a camera phone. What's perfectly acceptable for some of us is rubbish for others.

I'm studying on the possibility to make a simple portable solution for use in archives and libraries. A kind of suitcase with fold up book stand, fold up camera monopod and battery fed permanent light that is not irritating other library visitors. Flash is in 99% of the cases strictly forbidden, wall sockets are in most cases not available. I'm thinking about something like taking off the TFT from a broken laptop that has still working backlight. I already tried this once, but after taking off the TFT the backlight refused to work as well. I did convert the backlight to 220V, much lighter weight than the entire laptop, but no longer working on batteries. The light quality hovever is the best you can get for this purpose.

All suggestions are welcome.

Instead of glass I'm thinking about using clear film fixed to the back of the book stand, glue a hard plastic edge on the front side and give it some spring hooks. I own some samples of very high quality plastics that should last very long even with high spring tension.

By the way, I have lots of PDF ebooks, looking like full picture facsimile with underlaying OCR text that's so full of errors that text searches hardly give any results. Downloaded from several different libraries and Google Books. I can't find any easy way to show just the text to make corrections. Nor do I know any easy way to redo the OCR job. Advice please!

And does anyone know any software more or less comparable to OCR but for handwritten text? I'm currently doing an awful lot of manual transcription.

KonikaMinolta Dynax/Maxxum 7D is the best camera I know for this kind of work. It's a bit heavy, but it has excellent hardware anti-shake, (most camera's have much worse software shake reduction), one of the best sensors ever made, performs excellent even free hand in low light conditions, easy both manual and automatic controls, software for PC control, interchangeable lenses and the best high resolution camera LCD money can buy. KonikaMiolta no longer exists as a camera builder so if you want one you'll have to find it second hand.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:45 AM   #134
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In most archives and libraries using flash is forbidden. Of course it is annoying for other visitors and they fear damage by the bursts of light to the paper. AFAIK there is hardly any UV or IR in xenon flash so it shouldn't do much damage.
I found a better solution to the horrible lighting conditions: portable LED lights with rechargeable batteries. The ones I bought were 15 Euro's, they have 30 ultra bright white LEDs, they burn up to 4 hours per charge.
I do need a way to diffuse the light however, they throw their rectangular bundle almost straight forward. And I do need to find the ideal places to avoid shining/mirroring spots on paper or glass/plastic.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:43 PM   #135
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Maggy,

For diffusing the light -- I've got a 3-LED book light that is more like a bright searchligh! A small scrap of car-window tinting material fixed that right up, and gives it a not so "harsh" light. I had this stuff left over from a fiasco I went through trying to tint my truck windows (more like a solo Keystone Cops episode...)

I also use the stuff over my bedside digital clock, and just about anything I have with those annoying bright blue LEDs.

Simple solutions! Look for some car window tinting (or similar material)
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