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Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Built a scanner? Started to build a scanner? Record your progress here. Doesn't need to be a whole scanner - triggers and other parts are fine. Commercial scanners are fine too.
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MajoraZ
Posts: 3
Joined: 03 Apr 2022, 10:20
Number of books owned: 0
Country: USA

Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by MajoraZ »

Hey,

I collect out of print books and other material on on topics I'm interested in (mainly Mesoamerican archeology and history, like Aztec and Maya stuff), many of which I have purchased specifically to scan. I've amassed a good collection at this point, and would like to start to do so, since while I still don't have a ton of money to be throwing around, I have enough saved that I could maybe afford to do a setup.

However, I'm not sure how to proceed. When I started to purchase books, the store attached to this website was still up and was still selling scanning kits, which seems to no longer be the case, and I have zero skills or tools to make my own setup, nor do I know anybody who builds things.

Furthermore, my use case has special considerations most scanning kit and builds don't seem to be well suited to address, mainly that I would primarily be scanning images/pictures/photos in books, and my priority is as such is to maximize the visual fidelity and alignment of the scans I do for that, NOT to merely have legible text/for the scanning to be fast: I want the quality to be comparable (not nessacarily matching, but in the same ballbark) to as if I were using a flatbed, sans perhaps the sheer resolution (even then, I'd want even small images that don't take up the full page to be 800-1000 pixels across, larger images much moreso). I can remove the binding of books I have duplicate purchases of and scan them in a flatbed, but I am not debinding books that were very expensive or that are rare.

I actually don't think the image quality itself is a huge issue, if the setup uses a mounted DLSR I think that'd be sufficient, i'm more concerned about alignment: Making sure that the book is held at straight angle relative to how the camera is mounted, such as in a V cradle with the camera held at a 45 degree angle downwards, or the book laying flat with the cover/half the open pages held 90 degrees up and the camera facing straight down. The setup would also need to accommodate books of varying sizes: Some books I need to scan are quite large and thick, such as around a foot tall and with 600+ pages, while other books are paperbacks and thin, and I need to be able to get a perfectly aligned shot on all of these.

I do NOT need the setup to be quick to operate. I wouldn't generally be scanning full books, just select pages and images, so as long as the image quality is good and everything is perfectly aligned I don't really care too much about the rest: Even if it's not fancy, I'd be fine with just a few lights, V cradle, a glass/polymer cover to keep the book pages flat in the cradle, and a angled tripod, if the cradle and cover worked with differing book thicknesses and sizes, and I had a way to ensure the tripod wasn't slightly rotated relative to the book cradle and both the yaw, pitch, and roll of the camera is 1:1 to the book page.

My budget I imagine would have to be around $1500. Maybe a few hundred more, maybe a few hundred less. Frankly I don't even really have that much to spare but I do need a setup.
rkomar
Posts: 95
Joined: 12 May 2013, 16:36
E-book readers owned: PRS-505, PocketBook 902, PRS-T1, PocketBook 623, PocketBook 840
Number of books owned: 3000
Country: Canada

Re: Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by rkomar »

If you aren't going to use the scanner really heavily, then Plustek offers some Opticbook scanners that are designed for scanning bound books. They are designed to scan one page at a time, with the opposing page hanging off the side so that you don't have to break the binding to get a flat scan. The advantage is that the pages are flat when scanned and the lighting is uniform over the whole scan. The disadvantage is that it is slower and takes more work to scan than with something like the Archivist that used to be offered here. You can scan at 600 dpi on all models, and even at 1200 dpi on some pricier ones. I've been using one of these for over a dozen years, so I have some experience. It takes hours to scan most books, so I've always dreamed of replacing it with some home-built system with a camera to speed things up, but I guess it's good enough to keep me from really putting in the effort to build an alternative.
MajoraZ
Posts: 3
Joined: 03 Apr 2022, 10:20
Number of books owned: 0
Country: USA

Re: Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by MajoraZ »

rkomar wrote: 27 Apr 2022, 15:32 If you aren't going to use the scanner really heavily, then Plustek offers some Opticbook scanners that are designed for scanning bound books. They are designed to scan one page at a time, with the opposing page hanging off the side so that you don't have to break the binding to get a flat scan. The advantage is that the pages are flat when scanned and the lighting is uniform over the whole scan. The disadvantage is that it is slower and takes more work to scan than with something like the Archivist that used to be offered here. You can scan at 600 dpi on all models, and even at 1200 dpi on some pricier ones. I've been using one of these for over a dozen years, so I have some experience. It takes hours to scan most books, so I've always dreamed of replacing it with some home-built system with a camera to speed things up, but I guess it's good enough to keep me from really putting in the effort to build an alternative.
Do you know if there are samples of pages scanned with that series of scanners that have images or photos in them, so I can gauge if the DPI/quality will be high enough?

That truly is my primary concern.

Also, if that scanner would be able to capture bits of images that run all the way to the inner seam/binding, or if there would be a lot of missing image on the edge?
rkomar
Posts: 95
Joined: 12 May 2013, 16:36
E-book readers owned: PRS-505, PocketBook 902, PRS-T1, PocketBook 623, PocketBook 840
Number of books owned: 3000
Country: Canada

Re: Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by rkomar »

My Opticbook scanner claims it does 600dpi, and that is accurate as far as I can see. What do you think you will learn from a sample scan? Without the original that was scanned, it's hard to know how good the reproduction is. See http://komary.net/cathy.png for a scan I took of a picture in a printed newspaper. It will give you an idea of the detail you can see at 600 dpi.

The scanner does not scan all the way to the inside of the gutter. The more expensive models do scan closer than the cheaper ones. The specs for each model state how close they can scan to the side of the scanner (usually a few millimeters), so you should be able to figure that out from the webpage for each model. It also depends on how stiff the binding is on a book. Books that do not open as widely do not allow you to scan as closely to the gutter.
MajoraZ
Posts: 3
Joined: 03 Apr 2022, 10:20
Number of books owned: 0
Country: USA

Re: Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by MajoraZ »

rkomar wrote: 03 May 2022, 17:33 My Opticbook scanner claims it does 600dpi, and that is accurate as far as I can see. What do you think you will learn from a sample scan? Without the original that was scanned, it's hard to know how good the reproduction is. See http://komary.net/cathy.png for a scan I took of a picture in a printed newspaper. It will give you an idea of the detail you can see at 600 dpi.

The scanner does not scan all the way to the inside of the gutter. The more expensive models do scan closer than the cheaper ones. The specs for each model state how close they can scan to the side of the scanner (usually a few millimeters), so you should be able to figure that out from the webpage for each model. It also depends on how stiff the binding is on a book. Books that do not open as widely do not allow you to scan as closely to the gutter.
Well, I guess you're correct a sample scan without being of something I have the raw digital image of doesn't give me a true idea of how well the image is being captured, but if the sample looks bad I would know for sure it's not gonna be good enough at least.

Would you be able to scan a color photograph from a book with yours and post that? Also, is whatever postprocessing it does to the edge to remove the darkening and distortion from the gutter/spine disablable?

Looking it up, unless there's a different model that functions differently, the Opticbook is basically just a flatbed scanner, no? I'm hoping for an actual V-cradle sort of setup or something else that works to get the pages at a perfectly flat angle, with a flatbed setup like that you're not actually getting it flat without significant overhang which loses part of the page towards the "gutter", as you say (the model you mentioned seems to have a postprocessing function to stirtch it back in alignment, but doubt that would work well for images and I wouldn't want any postprocessing on images unless it does a truly excellent job) or putting a lot of pressure on the books and their spine, which I would like to avoid...

...and if I am going to go this route with a flatbed I have to imagine there are higher resolution models I could look at, no?
rkomar
Posts: 95
Joined: 12 May 2013, 16:36
E-book readers owned: PRS-505, PocketBook 902, PRS-T1, PocketBook 623, PocketBook 840
Number of books owned: 3000
Country: Canada

Re: Scanning setup/build/purchasing options for for scanning image heavy books of varying sizes/thicknesses

Post by rkomar »

I have my scanner near the edge of the cabinet it is on, so that one side of the book hangs straight down off the side of the cabinet. That way, you don't need to open the book very much to get good access into the gutter. Unless a book has a very stiff spine, I find I can get the page flat right out to the edge of the scan and remove all shadows and distortion.

In case it helps, I scanned a map of North America from an old school atlas (see http://komary.net/maps/). One scan is made in PNG (i.e. lossless) format, and the other in JPG (lossy). The PNG file is much larger, and takes longer to scan. It should give you can idea of the detail and uniformity of the colours over the scans.

One advantage of this scanner is that the light moves with the scan head and so is uniform over the whole page. There is no need to correct for uneven illumination. The scanner is also calibrated properly for the light source, so that the colours are pretty accurate. If you use a camera and fixed light source instead, you will need to do a lot of calibration and post-processing yourself to get similar results. The disadvantage is that the scans are much slower than with a camera, and you can only do one page at a time.

You cannot get right to inside of the gutter with these scanners. You can get close, but there is a limit. If you must get to the innermost part of the gutter, then these scanners will not work for you. However, I strongly suspect that no reasonably priced scanner of any design can do that.
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