HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPTS

Now, everybody can use photography with existence of digital technology photography. So, the photographed of manuscripts is easy with digital camera. But not all know how to make a picture better.

What camera should I use?
Better for the photograph manuscript use digital camera (the best choice is digital SLR), because easier its use than using camera film. For good quality, use big resolution without compression that is RAW/TIFF/NEF. I use digital camera EOS CANON 350D DIGITAL with resolution 8 mp.
The photograph manuscripts don't be direct use hand, because hand very easy shake. I use facility of cable connection (USB) of digital camera to notebook. Constructively special software to photograph it, so that enough with click of mouse in your notebook. Use copystand to put camera and put manuscript under the camera and shot sheet by sheet.

How do I physically do the photographing?
Put the book under the camera, holding one page horizontal and the other out of camera-shot upright (so we don't strain the spine), click the mouse, turn the page, click the mouse, turn the page... Then turn the book around and come back through the reverse of all the pages. Then, the pics to your notebook rename like 001a, 001b, 002a, 002b, etch. - you may find one or two images are duff, and should be reshot.
You'll want to focus the camera yourself, so make sure you can. You need to be able to decide for yourself how long the shutter remains open. The reason for this is simply that if the light is poor (under expose), the camera shutter must remain open longer to collect the same amount of light. If you don't have this option, invest in some lighting and hope you'll be allowed to use it. The image must be light enough to read!
You want to decide for yourself how wide the shutter opens. The size of the hole affects how much is in focus. The jargon phrase is 'depth of focus'. When we photograph manuscript, by and large we would like all of the page to be in focus, even if the spine bits are further away from the camera than the bit in the middle we focused on. If the hole is large, the bit we focused on will be in focus, but something half-an-inch further away (or nearer) will be blurred. So we want a small hole, to give us maximum depth in focus. We'll talk a bit more about this in a bit. But notice that small hole means less light - so we have to either provide external lighting or keep the shutter open longer.
Remember you can get around all the above. If you can't control the lighting, you must control the operation of the camera. If you have a camera like our one-shot with all the options preset, then you must control the lighting. If you can't control either, ask if you can take the blessed thing outdoors or somewhere (which is a final attempt to control the lighting)! So, check and recheck. Make sure you note down what the condition was - #1 outdoors, #2 indoors near the window, #3 in the darkest corner, etc. This will build confidence as you see what works and what doesn't.

What lens should I use?
It doesn't matter. Camera shops will try to sell you zoom lenses, and macro lenses (with edge correction). Ignore them. But, you can tried using standard 50mm lens.

What lighting should I use?
You may not get given a choice. Some libraries don't like the idea of you illuminating their babies, or taking them anywhere near daylight. Luckily if you're using a digital camera you can just use available light. If you do get a choice, then you want daylight. That's most natural and normal, and gives the best looking results. I use additional flash to get lighting flatten.

How do I position the book?
Any which way you can. I haven't come to any very firm conclusions on this yet. Do make sure that the camera is pointing at the centre of the page, and at right-angles to it. Otherwise all your pictures will have a 'sloping' look to them! But look out for the shadow of the camera/tripod.

How do I take the pictures?
OK, let's assume you have your kit in position. How do you use the camera? It's a bit fiddly the first time, but thereafter you don't worry.

1. FOCUS
Focus the camera on the centre of the image. You'll have to twist a ring on the lens to do this, but it's usually obvious how that works. On my camera the ring has numbers on it which indicate how far away the focused object is, in feet and meters, from the shutter. I'm usually use autofocus, because easily my work.

2. DEPTH OF FIELD
Now you need to set the 'depth of field', ensure that the whole page is in focus. If you take a photograph of a room, you may well find that some objects which are very near to the camera are out of focus. Likewise some that are far away will be out of focus. Only the object you focused on, and a few nearer/further away from the camera, are in focus. The distance between the nearest item in focus and the furthest item in focus is called the 'depth of field' (in focus).
The reason you may care about this, is that pages are rarely flat. Consequently you don't just want the letter you focused on, but also those which are closer to the spine, and so further away. Usually you want the whole page in focus - which means you need a 'depth of field' of at least an inch or two.
Now this detail on what is in focus is done by adjusting the size of the hole through which light passes into the camera - a smaller hole gives deeper focus, a bigger hole gives less in focus. One of the rings on the lens will set the hole size, known as the 'F-stop' (aperture). There are various selectable hole sizes (F-stops): mine range from F/1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16 to F/22. F/22 is the smallest hole, and the greatest depth of focus.

There is a further 'feature' to this setup. You may feel that you would go for F22 and leave the shutter open a long time. However the result may well be quite 'grainy'. The definition is better with a wider hole - although that means less depth of field. Decisions decisions!
Actually, as ever, it only really matters to professionals. By and large something in the middle will do. Try F8, which gives a couple of inches either way on the focus spot. I did a whole lot on F16 by accident, and it was fine.

3. SHUTTER SPEED
How long should we leave the shutter open? This is actually fairly easy. It's going to be very hard to overexpose - get too much light in - and much easier to underexpose - too dull or dark. So if in doubt, leave it open longer. You'd probably get quite decent results just leaving it always open for a second. But you can improve on that rule of thumb by using the light meter. In my camera, I have a builtin light meter with an LED which flashes up a little red number indicating how long the shutter needs to be open for, when I tap the release (rather than press it firmly). The number is the fraction of a second - the darker it is, the smaller the number gets. I know that 125 (=1/125 second) or 60 (1/60 sec) are fine for hand held. Indoors with the settings I did above, I found 4 (1/4 sec) and even 2 (1/2 sec) were coming up.
So here's a table of what settings affect what:

F-stop Depth of field All in focus Light reaching
F2 Minimum Most light - shutter needn't be open very long More blurry/grainy
F32 Maximum Least light - need shutter open longer Sharpest


Oke, you're now ready to go! Stop reading and start to photograph manuscripts. And then, burn all the image in DVD, because the image size largest. For more digital photography, click here

2 comments:

herry said...

nice post, thx.

Groupdmt said...

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