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Old 09-18-2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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Form paper to Sony - part 3

Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
That's a very nice system you've got there, I suppose that if you had 2 cameras, and your software could handle it, you could shoot both pages without moving much.

This looks like a pretty viable alternative to the >$10k automatic system that someone posted about a year ago. I'm certainly a lot more likely to do something like this than shell out for the library-grade machine.

The book holder looks like it's the most complicated part of the assembly -- do you find that a particular angle is best for the shots? I'm wondering how much you'd lose by going with a fixed angle holding bed, you see.

Thanks for posting these, ereszet.
The system with 2 cameras (company name is Atiz) looks very nice and costs now much less but sitll a few thousand USD plus cameras. It is semi-automatic - you turn the pages by hand, but v-shaped glass/plexi? can be moved up and down without removing it, and the shots are taken automatically.

Apart from a v-shaped glass and a mechanism to raise it, my system does exactly the same plus a regulated angle, distance, and room for books of different thickness. Two cameras are no problem technically, they can both shoot automatically every nn seconds (at least my Canon can). The problem is quality. You should concentrate on making every shot picture perfect. Otherwise there is more manual work at the processing stage. Now I shoot all the odd pages and then all even pages just by turning pages and adjusting the distance from the tripod by a few milimeters every 20 or so pages.

The book holder is just two panels with two hinged supports plus a heavy base with a lot of grooves. This is my patent You can regulate the distance between two panels, the angle of each panel, and the distance between the cradle and the tripod. The regulated v design is crucial to ensuring the angle between the lens and the book page at 90 degrees plus avoiding any skewing. Precise correction of angle and skewing with the tripod controls is very cumbersome. Since I installed my system, I do not touch my tripod any more (I miss my 7x zoom when taking photos of my garden birds - like the barbet in my avatar - with other 3x zoom cameras).

As for cheap and dirty alternative you can make something similar from a cardboard. It was my first design. My wife used her scissors to make it in one hour or so. It worked perfectly. Remember, the devil is in the lighting and reflections, especially for color and glossy pages (or pages under glass). The disadvantages of cheap and dirty solution are: it is very light and therefore unstable, and you have to change tripod postion controls frequently to accomodate for various sizes of original pages, since moving the cradle further away creates a trapezoidal effect. You can avoid it with changing the angle in the v-cradle. The focus is quite forgiving in such a case (+/- a few milimeters difference in distance between the lens and upper and lower parts of the page do not show in repro).
The advantage of the cardboard cradle is portability.
Finally, you can always use the simplest solution: a friend or a document holder (picture attached) and soft flash plus a lot of processing to get pictures straight. You need a steady hand and a camera with a good automatic focus (out of my two Casios, ex-z850 does a better job than ex-z1000).

Thanks for asking NatCh.
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