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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Scanner vs Camera

    I am thinking about attempting to sell some books on one of the auction sites. Would a flat bed scanner provide adequate images? Or would a camera be a better bet? I know nothing about scanners or cameras. Went to the local Comp USA and really got confused. Some pointers on where to start would be great. Will be using it with XP and do have USB (I think that is the term I've seen bandied about) ports available.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Scanner vs Camera

    Given a choice, I like the flexibility of a camera. The "head on" view from a scanner may well not be the most attractive angle. A camera also could solve problems with shiny book jackets because it will work in indirect light. For online work, you could get a pretty inexpensive camera, or borrow an older one from a friend: you don't need super-high resolution.

    A friend of mine just sent me these links:

    PC World: How to buy a digital camera

    PC Magazine: Digital Cameras (buying guide and reviews)

    BestBuy.com has a pretty good "comparison engine" if you are trying to compare features of different cameras. Digital Photography Review offers a strong comparison feature as well as absurdly indepth reviews. Other digital camera enthusiast sites in which you could spend hours include http://www.dcresource.com and http://www.steves-digicams.com.

    Particularly if you don't have much other use for a scanner, a camera makes more sense. Maybe you can persuade someone to make it an early holiday gift? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Scanner vs Camera

    To an extent it may depend on how good you are with a camera. I assume you are only interested in showing the front cover / jacket, rather than a 3D view?

    Personally I would recommend a scanner such as the one I have, a Canon N1220U because:

    1] It has a Z cover, meaning the lid remains horizontal, applying even pressure over a thick book.
    2] You do not have to worry about focus or lighting.
    3] The image is transferred straight to your HD.
    4] I have found it almost impossible to get the perspective right when photographing something flat like a book. It ALWAYS ends up looking somewhat trapezoidal!
    5] The N1220U also draws its power from the USB port, meaning you do not need a separate power supply. Plug it into the port, press the button and go.
    6] There is a quick preview mode that allows you to crop the image size to exactly what you want. With a camera you are more likely to include some background which would/may need editing out later.

    The only possible drawback is that you need to take the book to the scanner, rather than the camera to the book.

    As for quality, unless you are intending to go for fairly large images, either should give you adequate results.

  4. #4
    3 Star Lounger
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    Tnx Re: Scanner vs Camera

    Tnx to both of you.

    Jscher2000 says the "head on shot" of a scanner may be a problem and Leif says the perspective angle of a camera may be a problem. Just love it.

    Will probably end up with both but am leaning toward a scanner to begin especially as I found a reference to one that does 3D items. Tnx for the links I felt like I was drowning in advertising and needed a place to start. These help.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Tnx Re: Scanner vs Camera

    My views might be colored by bad experiences with scanners and scanning software. I hope yours are better!

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Tnx Re: Scanner vs Camera

    Well here's a seasonal view to help cheer you up <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>.

    (BTW, scanned in from a highly glossy brochure in under 30 seconds from placing it in the scanner to getting it on the HD.)
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Tnx Re: Scanner vs Camera

    I like Leif's scanned example! Since a scanner is (potentially) a lot less money and we KNOW your first use is "pictures" of book covers, I'd go for it. I use both a scanner and digital camera and if I were gonna shoot books, I'd go for the scanner first. Besides OCR being very weak, my only trouble with scanning is photos. They always seem to scan a tad too dark, but that's probably my ignorance of good settings. I now have a USB scanner and it works like a charm.

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