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DSLR for book scanning
I'm looking for a basic DSLR to use with scanning entire books, so I'm looking for something that will provide high speed macro photography. The setup should be fast enough to allow for, say, >1 fps continuously for hundreds of images, including the time used to write images to memory. I assume this requires a fast memory card like a SanDisk Extreme. Any suggestions on what camera and lens to use?..

Comments (14)

Shawn wrote:.

I'm looking for a basic DSLR to use with scanning entire books, soI'm looking for something that will provide high speed macrophotography. The setup should be fast enough to allow for, say, >1fps continuously for hundreds of images, including the time used towrite images to memory. I assume this requires a fast memory cardlike a SanDisk Extreme. Any suggestions on what camera and lens touse?.

I won't suggest a particular camera, though some are faster than others, perhaps look at the DSLR reviews on this site for the write speed you require. The card speed is often not the limiting factor, it may be the camera itself places limits on the writing speed..

Regarding the lens, a Macro lens would be particularly suitable as it will give the sharpness and low distortion necessary for such a task. Many lenses shoot good-quality macro or close-up shots, but have barrel distortion, making straight lines appear curved, which would be undesirable..

Look for a 50mm or shorter dedicated macro lens. This will require changing the camera to subject distance for different sized books, but the results will be much better quality than most ordinary zoom lenses.Regards,Peter..

Comment #1

Most quality DSLRs will save a file as fast as you can turn a page. What's the problem with that? just how fast do you want?jules.

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #2

Well, one can turn pages quickly but in some tests I see that the camera may take considerable pauses after shooting:.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJhjLLoSa1A.

Here, the camera, a D80, takes about 8 to 18 seconds to write to different SDHC memory cards after filling up the buffer with 6 RAW images, which translates to around 0.3 to 0.5 images per second continuously..

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ybwwPAMRnQ.

A D200 here takes 2-3 seconds after shooting one RAW image (15.3MB) to write to a 120x Compact Flash card (that's not quite fast enough). And after a 22 shot burst, it takes 46 seconds before becoming ready again. So that's under 0.5 images per second..

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wg3XJ3IXY.

On the other hand, here a 40D coupled with Sandisk Extreme IV only takes a few seconds (under 5) of pause before becoming ready to take another few dozen shots. I'm not sure what makes the difference (camera, memory card, or JPEG vs RAW) but this type of speed is what I am looking for...

Comment #3

Shawn wrote:.

Well, one can turn pages quickly but in some tests I see that thecamera may take considerable pauses after shooting:.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJhjLLoSa1AHere, the camera, a D80, takes about 8 to 18 seconds to write todifferent SDHC memory cards after filling up the buffer with 6 RAWimages, which translates to around 0.3 to 0.5 images per secondcontinuously..

Yes but you wont be taking 6 images machine gun style will you?.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ybwwPAMRnQA D200 here takes 2-3 seconds after shooting one RAW image (15.3MB)to write to a 120x Compact Flash card (that's not quite fast enough).And after a 22 shot burst, it takes 46 seconds before becoming readyagain. So that's under 0.5 images per second..

A D200 will do the job absolutely fine..

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3wg3XJ3IXYOn the other hand, here a 40D coupled with Sandisk Extreme IV onlytakes a few seconds (under 5) of pause before becoming ready to takeanother few dozen shots. I'm not sure what makes the difference(camera, memory card, or JPEG vs RAW) but this type of speed is whatI am looking for..

Methinks you worry too much!.

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #4

What part of the reviews usually deal with how much data per second the camera can write? Thanks...

Comment #5

Are you saying that if you don't fill up the buffer in burst mode, the recovery would be faster? Yet the D200 in the video took almost 3 seconds of break after shooting one image. If you scan a 500 page book, that may take close to a half hour as opposed to under ten minutes if the interval was only a second apart..

I think since JPEGs are generally a fraction the size of RAW images, the overall speed should more than double if JPEGs are used instead of RAW, right?..

Comment #6

Re>after filling up the buffer with 6 RAW images,<.

So?.

Makes no sense to take RAW images..

I'd be more concerend about getting the fronts and backs of pages framed properly. A little transit device could solve this..

BAK..

Comment #7

Shawn wrote:.

What part of the reviews usually deal with how much data per secondthe camera can write? Thanks..

Timings & Sizes..

Just one example - chosen at random.http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond60/page14.aspThe above example shows 3 FPS when shooting JPEG..

Shooting in RAW mode, initially the rate is also 3 FPS. But for continuous long-term shooting, it is the "Buffer full rate" that matters, in this case 1.4 or 1.2 FPS..

I would think JPEG would be fine for this purpose in any case, RAW would seem to offer little or no advantage here.Regards,Peter..

Comment #8

Shawn wrote:.

I'm looking for a basic DSLR to use with scanning entire books, soI'm looking for something that will provide high speed macrophotography. The setup should be fast enough to allow for, say, >1fps continuously for hundreds of images, including the time used towrite images to memory. I assume this requires a fast memory cardlike a SanDisk Extreme. Any suggestions on what camera and lens touse?.

As others have said, this won't be a problem with any modern DSLR..

A Canon EOS 400D with the EF-S 60 mm macro lens would be ideal. This is one application where you would benefit from using a true macro lens with it's flat field and corner to corner sharpness, as well as almost zero barrel distortion..

Another lens option is the comparably priced Sigma 18-50/2.8 which is more than sharp enough when stopped down as it would be for this job. In a straight head-to-head the 60 mm Canon would win on image quality, but the Sigma has the advantage of a shorter focal length which will allow you to work closer. It's also a more versatile lens if you want the camera for more general use..

But the camera/lens is not the whole story. My mind is turning to questions about a tripod or copy stand, and lighting.....

Comment #9

Have you ever done that before (shooting books) ? It's not just flipping pages unless you cut the book first. They need to be held sometimes, or the center is not flat at all. Plus lighting is a b*tch...

Comment #10

I agree, one would be hard pushed to shoot again in under 1.4 seconds after shooting the two facing pages, one has to turn the page and quickly arrange the device that you are using to hold the pages nice and flat..

Presumeably one cannot buy a new copy of this book, if so it might be a lot easier!Jules.

Sigezar wrote:.

Have you ever done that before (shooting books) ? It's not justflipping pages unless you cut the book first. They need to be heldsometimes, or the center is not flat at all. Plus lighting is a b*tch..

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #11

Wouldn't it be much easier to use a dedicated document scanner? Some of those can turn scanned text back into 'editable' text (depending on language and other factors). If these are text-only books this may be a far better option and will give you considerably smaller sizes to work with..

Even a good quality desktop scanner combined with software such as ABBYY Fine Reader can do this..

If they are picture-heavy books, shooting them may be better..

Depends very much on the books themselves and what you intend to use the final digital files for. As other posters have said, lighting can be tricky, especially if the pages are varnished...

Comment #12

I agree, the cursor behaviour is a pain sometimes. I imagine it was done that way to encourage us to change the subject line to reflect the content of the reply, something which is suggested, ironically in capital letters, in the posting Help/Suggestions..

It's worth knowing that if you accidentally key something into the subject line and want to undo it, you can restore the original subject with Ctrl-Z...

Comment #13

I have a question about why you want to do it this way. I don't have much experience scanning whole books, but I have made slides for teaching from text books and it was a pain in the butt to do so..

The page needs to be perfectly flat. The lighting needs no reflections at all for consistent exposure. The camera or the book must be moved every time a page is turned. It is not easy, and not fast. Camera speed will be your least worry..

As has been mentioned, a proper scanner will allow OCR for editable text. That is a powerful advantage for future use of the material..

Can you describe the set up you will use?.

Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #14

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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