Re: digital camera for genealogy work

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by WMAS 1960, Aug 16, 2003.

  1. WMAS 1960

    WMAS 1960 Guest

    I am reviving this thread in this way because my AOL Newsgroup reader isn't
    including messages as far back as the ones that I am replying to. This subject
    doesn't still exist as far as that goes. I replied to a thread back in June on
    this topic and after going out of town and getting kind of busy forgot about it
    and just remembered when I was browsing a Yahoo Group where the subject came
    up. I then went and did a GOOGLE search and read up on what I missed.

    I posted that I thought that using the Coolpix 990 or 995 and many of the small
    digital cameras was an excellent thought for gathering Genealogy documentation
    etc.

    I asked, John Morgan () if he had ever had any
    difficulties with librarians regarding the use of cameras. He said that he
    hadn't and that he tries to locate a well lit area where he can shoot and not
    need the flash. Good Idea. If not for anything other than courtesy for the
    other library patrons. There can also be the concern of concentrated light and
    the effects over time on old paper documents etc. Your flash might not harm a
    100 year old book but if everyone came in and snapped off flash pictures of it
    the paper could be damaged. Usually a bigger concern with photos and art
    printed in books where color dyes can fade under bright light. A reason that
    Art Museums rarely allow flash photography. Anyways we are usually just
    talking about documents and words. Black and White. My camera has the LCD on
    the back and I can tell if the writing is clear enough for my needs and so on.
    Is it too fuzzy, Is it properly framed with all pertinent information, Is it
    bright enough... I can usually zero in on the right aperature and shutter and
    get good shots. Then, when I get home, if I have to compromise and take a less
    than perfect image, I can put the picture in Photoshop, strip the color from
    it and make it BW and then sharpen or add contrast to it. If a document isn't
    perfectly centered that doesn't matter to me, As long as all the information I
    need is there along with identifying information of the source so that I can
    retreive it again if need be that is all that matters. With digital and the
    ability to shoot and reshoot on the spot all of what I bring home should be
    good enough to work with. I was mainly wondering though if any libraries have
    problems with it from the standpoint of copyrights or the fact that the book
    might be their property and so on, and the fact that it would eat into revenue
    that some charge for copies etc. I would imagine that courts could have a
    problem when it comes to court documents as well. I used to be a law clerk and
    noticed that some courts must make a huge amount of money at .25 or .50 a page
    to have a document copied from a file. A lot of lost revenue if everyone just
    brought in their digital cameras. I have been to a couple of genealogy and
    history libraries where they must generate a pretty penny copying documents for
    people.

    Anyways, to the next post, Alice Gless () talked about the
    simplicity involved in hand holding and shooting with out a tripod, flash etc
    as opposed to using the scanner and the speed at which documents can be copied
    and transmitted. That is a good point and why I tend to use my digital cameras
    for documents a lot myself. Like I said in my original post I have never
    thought to use the Coolpix for Genealogy though. I can use a flash and
    everything would look great but like I said above you can make quick cleanup
    adjustments in programs like photoshop and get by with much less. The speed at
    which I can photograph a document and have it uploaded to my FTP site is
    incredable compared to how slow it is for my scanner to usually scan a
    document. Then I would add that the resolution of my cameras are much better
    than that of the scanner. Of course, I am using a 6 or 7 year old scanner that
    I think has resolution of 600x600 optical, I think 1200 x 1200 digital(?) or
    something like that. With my Coolpix 990 at 3 megapixels or my Nikon D100 at
    3008x2000 that makes for some really nice and clear documents. And really big
    too. Incidentally, I usually use the coolpix at 1024x768 for the sake of
    getting more on a 64meg card. The resolution and quality as well as speed just
    blows away the scanner. The D100 at 6megapixels is definately overkill. I
    would think it would also attract much unwanted attention at a library.
    However the Coolpix 990 would fit nicely into my file folder or briefcase and
    be pretty inconspicuous and distracting.

    I would find an exterior window if you are at the library during daylight
    hours. Hopefully someplace that won't put a shadow accross your paper or book.
    Most libraries are also well lit with florescent anyways. You shouldn't have
    a lot of problems with not having enought light. Some research rooms like at
    NARA, near me, though I seem to recall might not be as good. However if you
    are shooting a projected screen from some microfilm or microfiche than you
    should have a fairly easy time of it. If you can take a small table top tripod
    and it will support the weight of your camera great.
     
    WMAS 1960, Aug 16, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. WMAS 1960

    Mark Grebner Guest

    > > I was mainly wondering though if any libraries have
    > > problems with it from the standpoint of copyrights or the fact that the
    > > book might be their property and so on, and the fact that it would eat into
    > > revenue that some charge for copies etc.


    Libraries don't care about revenues from copying, in my experience.
    They DO care about control over their materials and protecting
    themselves from accusations of allowing violations of copyrights.

    Copyright has completely expired on works that were published before
    about 1910. The actual cutoff date depends on a number of factors,
    but I'd guess the average date is something like 1930. Your mileage
    may vary.

    > > I would imagine that courts could have a
    > > problem when it comes to court documents as well. I used to be a law clerk > > and noticed that some courts must make a huge amount of money at .25 or .50
    > > a page to have a document copied from a file.


    Again, the problem isn't making money, but exercising control. They
    get all worked up when somebody tries to do something new. Quill pens
    and powdered wigs reassure them.

    > > . . . Incidentally, I usually use the coolpix at 1024x768 for the sake of
    > > getting more on a 64meg card. The resolution and quality as well as speed
    > > just blows away the scanner. The D100 at 6megapixels is definately
    > > overkill.


    You'll "blow away" the scanner on speed, but not on resolution - the
    scanner preserves vastly more detail than a camera will, although it
    may be more detail than you can use.

    Because you aren't using the camera's highest resolution mode when you
    shoot at 1024 x 768, the image will be substantially sharper than what
    you would have gotten by using an (obsolete) one megapixel camera with
    the same nominal resolution. You'll be able to resolve details that
    are about 1.4 times smaller because the image wasn't constructed from
    the averaged values that result from Bayer processing.

    Even so, 1024x768 would be marginal for recording an A4 sheet with
    typical typewritten information. Shooting at 1280x960 (or whatever
    mode the camera supports) may preserve some details you'll later want
    to see. 1600x1200, if it's not the camera's maximum resolution, will
    preserve all the detail that is easily visible to the human eye
    without magnification.

    > > If you can take a small table top tripod and it will support the weight of
    > > your camera great.


    I've found that a small floor-standing tripod works well. Position it
    just off the corner of the table, and it frees up table space and
    makes it easier to work. A matter of personal taste.

    A note about using natural light from windows - it may not work as
    well as you'd expect. If the room has fluorescent lighting, the
    camera may become confused by the rapidly varying brightness and hue
    of the lighting. Random shots may be over- or under-exposed. If you
    use natural light, you may want to turn the room lights entirely off.
     
    Mark Grebner, Aug 17, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. WMAS 1960

    Roger Donne Guest

    I've used an Oly C4000Z at the Public Record Office at Kew, London.
    Photography is permitted in a specified area provided you sign a copyright
    form and turn off the flash. In my experience, it can work very well, as
    long as you are the only photographer. Unfortunately, everyone has got the
    idea now, and the 'specified area' is a scrum of photographers jostling for
    the prime positions near the window. Use of a tripod is really out of the
    question due to the lack of space. Other Record Offices may have more
    spacious facilties for photography.

    That said, I found the Oly quite good for copying large 19th century
    handwritten ledgers which don't lie flat for conventional flat bed copying.
    I did have a problem with depth of field on the pages which curve when the
    book lies open. I found it best to set up the Oly in aperture priority
    mode, stopping down the lens to where I thought the depth of field was
    adequate, and leaving the camera to work out the rest of the settings. I
    find the LCD screen is useless for judging focus, and I can't do better than
    the auto focus system on the camera. I got reasonable hand held shots,
    capable of some enlargement, stored as a medium quality jpeg files of
    2288x1712 pixels - again, in my experience the limiting factor seemed to be
    getting all of the subject in focus when the material doesn't lie flat.

    So my priorities for a camera for genealogical work would be:
    ability to turn flash off
    aperture priority mode
    at least ISO 400 capability for low light, hand held shots
    auto focus
    3/4 megapixels to allow some enlargement of hard-to-read areas
    sufficient zoom/focussing range to allow you to fill the frame with your
    subject
    LCD screen to assist in framing up close-up shots
    as unobtrusive as possible

    Regards: Roger


    ..
    "WMAS 1960" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I am reviving this thread in this way because my AOL Newsgroup reader

    isn't
    > including messages as far back as the ones that I am replying to. This

    subject
    > doesn't still exist as far as that goes. I replied to a thread back in

    June on
    > this topic and after going out of town and getting kind of busy forgot

    about it
    > and just remembered when I was browsing a Yahoo Group where the subject

    came
    > up. I then went and did a GOOGLE search and read up on what I missed.
    >
    > I posted that I thought that using the Coolpix 990 or 995 and many of the

    small
    > digital cameras was an excellent thought for gathering Genealogy

    documentation
    > etc.
    >
    > I asked, John Morgan () if he had ever had any
    > difficulties with librarians regarding the use of cameras. He said that

    he
    > hadn't and that he tries to locate a well lit area where he can shoot and

    not
    > need the flash. Good Idea. If not for anything other than courtesy for

    the
    > other library patrons. There can also be the concern of concentrated

    light and
    > the effects over time on old paper documents etc. Your flash might not

    harm a
    > 100 year old book but if everyone came in and snapped off flash pictures

    of it
    > the paper could be damaged. Usually a bigger concern with photos and art
    > printed in books where color dyes can fade under bright light. A reason

    that
    > Art Museums rarely allow flash photography. Anyways we are usually just
    > talking about documents and words. Black and White. My camera has the

    LCD on
    > the back and I can tell if the writing is clear enough for my needs and so

    on.
    > Is it too fuzzy, Is it properly framed with all pertinent information, Is

    it
    > bright enough... I can usually zero in on the right aperature and shutter

    and
    > get good shots. Then, when I get home, if I have to compromise and take a

    less
    > than perfect image, I can put the picture in Photoshop, strip the color

    from
    > it and make it BW and then sharpen or add contrast to it. If a document

    isn't
    > perfectly centered that doesn't matter to me, As long as all the

    information I
    > need is there along with identifying information of the source so that I

    can
    > retreive it again if need be that is all that matters. With digital and

    the
    > ability to shoot and reshoot on the spot all of what I bring home should

    be
    > good enough to work with. I was mainly wondering though if any libraries

    have
    > problems with it from the standpoint of copyrights or the fact that the

    book
    > might be their property and so on, and the fact that it would eat into

    revenue
    > that some charge for copies etc. I would imagine that courts could have a
    > problem when it comes to court documents as well. I used to be a law

    clerk and
    > noticed that some courts must make a huge amount of money at .25 or .50 a

    page
    > to have a document copied from a file. A lot of lost revenue if everyone

    just
    > brought in their digital cameras. I have been to a couple of genealogy

    and
    > history libraries where they must generate a pretty penny copying

    documents for
    > people.
    >
    > Anyways, to the next post, Alice Gless () talked about

    the
    > simplicity involved in hand holding and shooting with out a tripod, flash

    etc
    > as opposed to using the scanner and the speed at which documents can be

    copied
    > and transmitted. That is a good point and why I tend to use my digital

    cameras
    > for documents a lot myself. Like I said in my original post I have never
    > thought to use the Coolpix for Genealogy though. I can use a flash and
    > everything would look great but like I said above you can make quick

    cleanup
    > adjustments in programs like photoshop and get by with much less. The

    speed at
    > which I can photograph a document and have it uploaded to my FTP site is
    > incredable compared to how slow it is for my scanner to usually scan a
    > document. Then I would add that the resolution of my cameras are much

    better
    > than that of the scanner. Of course, I am using a 6 or 7 year old scanner

    that
    > I think has resolution of 600x600 optical, I think 1200 x 1200 digital(?)

    or
    > something like that. With my Coolpix 990 at 3 megapixels or my Nikon D100

    at
    > 3008x2000 that makes for some really nice and clear documents. And really

    big
    > too. Incidentally, I usually use the coolpix at 1024x768 for the sake of
    > getting more on a 64meg card. The resolution and quality as well as speed

    just
    > blows away the scanner. The D100 at 6megapixels is definately overkill.

    I
    > would think it would also attract much unwanted attention at a library.
    > However the Coolpix 990 would fit nicely into my file folder or briefcase

    and
    > be pretty inconspicuous and distracting.
    >
    > I would find an exterior window if you are at the library during daylight
    > hours. Hopefully someplace that won't put a shadow accross your paper or

    book.
    > Most libraries are also well lit with florescent anyways. You shouldn't

    have
    > a lot of problems with not having enought light. Some research rooms like

    at
    > NARA, near me, though I seem to recall might not be as good. However if

    you
    > are shooting a projected screen from some microfilm or microfiche than you
    > should have a fairly easy time of it. If you can take a small table top

    tripod
    > and it will support the weight of your camera great.
    >
    >
    >
    >
     
    Roger Donne, Aug 17, 2003
    #3
  4. WMAS 1960

    Chris Watts Guest

    I use a Nikon Coolpix 885 (3.4Mp) to good effect. But I do find the copying
    mode to be useless and use the Customised settings (the default fo these,
    with flash off is fine) - I use the white balance setting before shooting.

    I save the images in uncompressed mode (tiff) which takes about 10MB of
    space but allows latitude
    for subsequent cropping and rotation. The end result is equivalent to a
    scan of 300dpi.

    Chris Watts



    "Roger Donne" <-online.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:IkR%a.8089$9.net...
    > I've used an Oly C4000Z at the Public Record Office at Kew, London.
    > Photography is permitted in a specified area provided you sign a copyright
    > form and turn off the flash. In my experience, it can work very well, as
    > long as you are the only photographer. Unfortunately, everyone has got

    the
    > idea now, and the 'specified area' is a scrum of photographers jostling

    for
    > the prime positions near the window. Use of a tripod is really out of the
    > question due to the lack of space. Other Record Offices may have more
    > spacious facilties for photography.
    >
    > That said, I found the Oly quite good for copying large 19th century
    > handwritten ledgers which don't lie flat for conventional flat bed

    copying.
    > I did have a problem with depth of field on the pages which curve when the
    > book lies open. I found it best to set up the Oly in aperture priority
    > mode, stopping down the lens to where I thought the depth of field was
    > adequate, and leaving the camera to work out the rest of the settings. I
    > find the LCD screen is useless for judging focus, and I can't do better

    than
    > the auto focus system on the camera. I got reasonable hand held shots,
    > capable of some enlargement, stored as a medium quality jpeg files of
    > 2288x1712 pixels - again, in my experience the limiting factor seemed to

    be
    > getting all of the subject in focus when the material doesn't lie flat.
    >
    > So my priorities for a camera for genealogical work would be:
    > ability to turn flash off
    > aperture priority mode
    > at least ISO 400 capability for low light, hand held shots
    > auto focus
    > 3/4 megapixels to allow some enlargement of hard-to-read areas
    > sufficient zoom/focussing range to allow you to fill the frame with your
    > subject
    > LCD screen to assist in framing up close-up shots
    > as unobtrusive as possible
    >
    > Regards: Roger
    >
    >
    > .
    > "WMAS 1960" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > I am reviving this thread in this way because my AOL Newsgroup reader

    > isn't
    > > including messages as far back as the ones that I am replying to. This

    > subject
    > > doesn't still exist as far as that goes. I replied to a thread back in

    > June on
    > > this topic and after going out of town and getting kind of busy forgot

    > about it
    > > and just remembered when I was browsing a Yahoo Group where the subject

    > came
    > > up. I then went and did a GOOGLE search and read up on what I missed.
    > >
    > > I posted that I thought that using the Coolpix 990 or 995 and many of

    the
    > small
    > > digital cameras was an excellent thought for gathering Genealogy

    > documentation
    > > etc.
    > >
    > > I asked, John Morgan () if he had ever had any
    > > difficulties with librarians regarding the use of cameras. He said that

    > he
    > > hadn't and that he tries to locate a well lit area where he can shoot

    and
    > not
    > > need the flash. Good Idea. If not for anything other than courtesy for

    > the
    > > other library patrons. There can also be the concern of concentrated

    > light and
    > > the effects over time on old paper documents etc. Your flash might not

    > harm a
    > > 100 year old book but if everyone came in and snapped off flash pictures

    > of it
    > > the paper could be damaged. Usually a bigger concern with photos and

    art
    > > printed in books where color dyes can fade under bright light. A reason

    > that
    > > Art Museums rarely allow flash photography. Anyways we are usually just
    > > talking about documents and words. Black and White. My camera has the

    > LCD on
    > > the back and I can tell if the writing is clear enough for my needs and

    so
    > on.
    > > Is it too fuzzy, Is it properly framed with all pertinent information,

    Is
    > it
    > > bright enough... I can usually zero in on the right aperature and

    shutter
    > and
    > > get good shots. Then, when I get home, if I have to compromise and take

    a
    > less
    > > than perfect image, I can put the picture in Photoshop, strip the color

    > from
    > > it and make it BW and then sharpen or add contrast to it. If a document

    > isn't
    > > perfectly centered that doesn't matter to me, As long as all the

    > information I
    > > need is there along with identifying information of the source so that I

    > can
    > > retreive it again if need be that is all that matters. With digital and

    > the
    > > ability to shoot and reshoot on the spot all of what I bring home should

    > be
    > > good enough to work with. I was mainly wondering though if any

    libraries
    > have
    > > problems with it from the standpoint of copyrights or the fact that the

    > book
    > > might be their property and so on, and the fact that it would eat into

    > revenue
    > > that some charge for copies etc. I would imagine that courts could have

    a
    > > problem when it comes to court documents as well. I used to be a law

    > clerk and
    > > noticed that some courts must make a huge amount of money at .25 or .50

    a
    > page
    > > to have a document copied from a file. A lot of lost revenue if

    everyone
    > just
    > > brought in their digital cameras. I have been to a couple of genealogy

    > and
    > > history libraries where they must generate a pretty penny copying

    > documents for
    > > people.
    > >
    > > Anyways, to the next post, Alice Gless () talked about

    > the
    > > simplicity involved in hand holding and shooting with out a tripod,

    flash
    > etc
    > > as opposed to using the scanner and the speed at which documents can be

    > copied
    > > and transmitted. That is a good point and why I tend to use my digital

    > cameras
    > > for documents a lot myself. Like I said in my original post I have never
    > > thought to use the Coolpix for Genealogy though. I can use a flash an

    d
    > > everything would look great but like I said above you can make quick

    > cleanup
    > > adjustments in programs like photoshop and get by with much less. The

    > speed at
    > > which I can photograph a document and have it uploaded to my FTP site is
    > > incredable compared to how slow it is for my scanner to usually scan a
    > > document. Then I would add that the resolution of my cameras are much

    > better
    > > than that of the scanner. Of course, I am using a 6 or 7 year old

    scanner
    > that
    > > I think has resolution of 600x600 optical, I think 1200 x 1200

    digital(?)
    > or
    > > something like that. With my Coolpix 990 at 3 megapixels or my Nikon

    D100
    > at
    > > 3008x2000 that makes for some really nice and clear documents. And

    really
    > big
    > > too. Incidentally, I usually use the coolpix at 1024x768 for the sake

    of
    > > getting more on a 64meg card. The resolution and quality as well as

    speed
    > just
    > > blows away the scanner. The D100 at 6megapixels is definately overkill.

    > I
    > > would think it would also attract much unwanted attention at a library.
    > > However the Coolpix 990 would fit nicely into my file folder or

    briefcase
    > and
    > > be pretty inconspicuous and distracting.
    > >
    > > I would find an exterior window if you are at the library during

    daylight
    > > hours. Hopefully someplace that won't put a shadow accross your paper

    or
    > book.
    > > Most libraries are also well lit with florescent anyways. You

    shouldn't
    > have
    > > a lot of problems with not having enought light. Some research rooms

    like
    > at
    > > NARA, near me, though I seem to recall might not be as good. However if

    > you
    > > are shooting a projected screen from some microfilm or microfiche than

    you
    > > should have a fairly easy time of it. If you can take a small table top

    > tripod
    > > and it will support the weight of your camera great.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    Chris Watts, Aug 17, 2003
    #4
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