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Scanning with phone camera?


foxhound4lyf
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Hey all. Really like the preservation work this site is doing. I've followed some of the listed tutorials to scan my own magazines, but I'm curious if anyone has tried using their phone camera as opposed to a flatbed scanner? I have a Pixel 3a and a tripod, so I think it could make preserving my magazines wayyyy faster than individually turning each page in a scanner, but I'm sure there are issues I'm not thinking of.

Has anyone tried this? How were the results?

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No. It would lack the quality standards we have here. We prefer that the mag is debinded and pages are scanned individually. Scanning the mag has a whole would have horrible blur down the center near the spine. Unless theres no actual text or graphic near the spine this method isn't good. This is why ADF scanners are the preferred way. You can feed the pages rather quickly and the scans are better quality.

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Ah that makes sense. I had been debinding and scanning pages one at a time in my flatbed, so I was curious if using a phone would just speed up the process. I was concerned about the quality though, so I won't go down that route.

I was wary of ADF scanners due to my all-in-one scanner gobbling up some pages. Which, it is an all-in-one, so it's not the best. And I wasn't sure how the team here felt about ADFs from reading the Scanning a Magazine tutorial, but it seems like the most active contributors here use them. 

Are there any lists/posts for ADF scanners that contributors have used? I couldn't find any in the forum search. I know they can get pretty pricey, but I'm willing to spend a bit for quicker, high quality scans. 

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  • 7 months later...

I've tried it and with the proper setup the results could be good.   The proper setup requires a very high resolution image, and a small piece of glass (from a picture frame) to hold down the pages flat so everything says in focus.  I does take some adjustment and patience to get the camera pointed completely square with the surface of the magazine so no subtle distortions based on slight angles are introduced.   Also one has to account for lighting such that your body does not shade the magazine (using flash usually eliminates this problem).   If you don't want to have to crop the final image you need a way to line everything up (a template of sorts) to quickly and consistently capture the same space for the image.    

Bottom line it can be just as good if you setup everything right.

I did this with a camera:

IMG_20210204_174040npi3cover.jpg

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  • Retromags Curator
8 minutes ago, MrX said:

I've tried it and with the proper setup the results could be good.   The proper setup requires a very high resolution image, and a small piece of glass (from a picture frame) to hold down the pages flat so everything says in focus.  I does take some adjustment and patience to get the camera pointed completely square with the surface of the magazine so no subtle distortions based on slight angles are introduced.   Also one has to account for lighting such that your body does not shade the magazine (using flash usually eliminates this problem).   If you don't want to have to crop the final image you need a way to line everything up (a template of sorts) to quickly and consistently capture the same space for the image.    

Bottom line it can be just as good if you setup everything right.

I did this with a camera:

IMG_20210204_174040npi3cover.jpg

Is the page supposed to look that blue normally? With all the fussing you described it doesn't sound like it's worth the time and effort when you can get a good flatbed scanner and a piece of black construction paper and not have to worry about everything you mentioned, plus it's probably faster.

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I was just trying to give an idea of what it would take, its up to you all if its worth it or not.   Its not impossible to do is all I was trying to say, and give an idea of what is involved; to help those making the decision.  

I don't have a flatbed scanner so I am just using what I have.   I read elsewhere many years ago that someone was adjusting the color after using a flatbed scanner which I thought was odd.  I don't understand; if the scanner works properly no after scanning color adjustment should be needed.   No, its not supposed to be that blue.  The blue in the image is due to the flash timing being off.....if the flash lags the shutter the image is blue.   Here is a better one:

 

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I guess I've been lucky, even a really old, really slow scanner I used had great color reproduction.   I have no idea if it was a consumer scanner or not.

I will say that if you have only like two magazines to scan getting your own scanner seems like overkill (ie. you never use it again ever).  Maybe someone should start a rent scanner business?   It makes sense when you have more time then you have money If you can just use something you already own like phone camera.   I think, if the results are acceptable I wouldn't sweat how it was done.       

Trying to upload non blue image of magazine taken with phone camera again:

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