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Manuscriptess

Archive camera recommendations

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Hi folks! I've been using my phone's camera in archives, but it hasn't been cutting it. Does anyone have recommendations of a good camera for taking pictures of documents?

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I actually switched from my camera years ago because iPhone was sooooo much better. The one I had "sony 21x optical zoom cyber-shot" (google that and you will see the results). Of course, now they are much better than my 2012 version. 

 

Have you tried CamScanner?

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10 minutes ago, AP said:

Have you tried CamScanner?

I strongly co-sign CamScanner. Apart from the ability to group images into one pdf file, I find the increase contrast feature extremely helpful when it comes to readability. 

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8 hours ago, telkanuru said:

Budget? Do you need to just read the documents or is color important?

I probably need half-way decent pics :/ Certainly not DH, digital edition quality, but decent enough.

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Smartphones have come a very, very long way with their cameras and apps for "scanning."  I'm of the mind of wanting to have all images into one PDF file so I can mark up in my Adobe Acrobat.

Otherwise, I can't help you :( 

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On 5/3/2019 at 9:11 PM, Manuscriptess said:

I probably need half-way decent pics 😕 Certainly not DH, digital edition quality, but decent enough.

The first thing I would do is look up the rules in the archives you're going to be using. For example, for my work, French libraries have very variable photography policies, while the local archives are require by the state to allow photographs and often have a photography rig for you to use if you want. Other archives allow photographs, but don't allow tripods. And a DSLR is clunky and hard to deal with if you don't have a tripod.

I work on medieval diplomatic instrumenta - 12th to 13th c. legal documents - and I have found that for 95% of what I want to do, my cell phone or tablet camera is more than sufficient. I do have a DSLR with macro lens (a substantial investment) if I really need it, but I honestly haven't even brought it on my past to archival trips.

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I have used the camera on my smartphone for most of my pictures and the photocopying service of the archive for documents that I could not get a good picture with my phone. I also second telkanuru's advice about reading up on all of the archive's rules. I misread a paragraph about the use of phone cameras for one archive and broke a German copyright law from the 1970s. I ended up apologizing and paying the fee I missed, but I could have saved myself and the archivist a headache if I read the rules a second time and then disclosed the photos on my phone.

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I bought an ipad on ebay that I've dedicated to archival research. The good thing about it is it's not cluttered with other photos/apps, and it has dated folders with my research that go directly on the cloud and eventually on my computer when I'm not too lazy to import the images. I use my phone a lot so it never has enough space, but if you're good about clearing yours out it should work fine. The main things you should consider is how much space a device has and if the photo quality is sufficient.

Random story, I was in a pinch before a trip in November and had to borrow my brother's cheap generic tablet. The picture quality wasn't as crisp as my ipad, but it was surprisingly good.

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