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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> How to get high res images of book covers?
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02/24/2006 02:17:38 PM · #1
Hello,

I'm very new to digital photography and have a project to take good quality digital photos of book covers. I'd greatly appreciate any advice from any of you!

I have a Nikon Cool Pix 885 and have tried different settings: macro, no flash, quality: hi, sharp focus, etc. but to no avail.

The problem is mainly the text. Pictures and images come out fine and detailed but text is pixelated and fuzzy.

Is this a light problem, a camera problem, a focus problem? I've no idea. Please let me know if you have any thoughts!
-ecce
02/24/2006 02:23:38 PM · #2
Hard to say without seeing an example of what you're talking about. Post an example?
02/24/2006 02:27:21 PM · #3
What is the purpose of this project? Do you have to use a camera, or can you use a scanner? A scanner would probably work best because it would eliminate any distortion you would get with a camera.
02/24/2006 02:36:08 PM · #4
But with a scanner you will have to deal with the Morie patterns from the dots on a offset printed page.
02/24/2006 02:54:07 PM · #5
Here it is ' . substr('//www.geocities.com/myfavoritecharacter/DSCN5691.JPG', strrpos('//www.geocities.com/myfavoritecharacter/DSCN5691.JPG', '/') + 1) . '.

I just noticed that the text looks fine when the picture at its original size, before it's resized to fit the browser window. The same thing happens in iPhotos - and it's the text that suffers most in terms of quality.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to a scanner. The purpose is to create digital pics of books to be sold online, so quality is essential.

So, between the camera, lighting, and My Mac, I'm not sure where the problem is.
02/24/2006 02:56:34 PM · #6
Ooooopsss! I thought I was posting a link only! This is the full size picture in all its glory, but when viewed in iPhotos, or Photoshop, the text loses the sharp edges. That's what I meant to say.
02/24/2006 03:20:05 PM · #7
Originally posted by thegrandwazoo:

But with a scanner you will have to deal with the Morie patterns from the dots on a offset printed page.


The process to deal with that is called "de-screening" and it works really well. You don't get moire or the dots when you take a picture of a magazine or newspaper or book because a camera generally doesn't have enough resolution to pick out the individual dots from half-toning. It's really not that bad to deal with moire. I'd say it's easier then getting a good shot of a flat image with a camera anyway. There are plenty of guides on it floating around too, just search for "descreen" and "scan".

ecce: if this is something you are doing regularly you are really better off buying a scanner. Scanners are cheap these days and even a cheap one will give you a better result then taking a photo of it.

You are likely hitting a combination of factors, if your sensor and the book cover aren't perfectly parallel you could be getting distortion. You could have a slight DOF problem if you are shooting on an angle. Your camera might not be focusing exactly right.

There are special lenses made for SLR cameras to handle shooting flat scenes like art.

I still say you are better off getting a scanner.

Message edited by author 2006-02-24 15:24:00.
02/24/2006 03:30:37 PM · #8
Originally posted by colema19:

Originally posted by thegrandwazoo:

But with a scanner you will have to deal with the Morie patterns from the dots on a offset printed page.


The process to deal with that is called "de-screening" and it works really well.


Yes I know of the process. Descreening degrades or blurs the image to correct for morie.(I've been working in Pre-Press for 15 years)

Originally posted by ecce:

The purpose is to create digital pics of books to be sold online, so quality is essential


Seems to me the camera would be better and faster.
02/24/2006 03:32:17 PM · #9
I see, thanks colema19.

I have been wondering how on earth to get the shape of the book cover without distortion, just when I think it looks straight it doesn't really. Do you have any suggestions on a good scanner? If I invest in one, I'd rather buy something good.
02/24/2006 05:33:59 PM · #10
what you are noticing is called 'aliasing', and it is visiblly bad when you are zoomed to a percentage that doed not fall in 4th's from 100.

In other words, if you zoom level is 23.45%, straight lines will be aliased. If you change the zoom to 100%, 50%, 25%, 12.5% etc, the text will look fine.

This is a screen display issue that should not show up in your prints, or if you do a bicubic resize of your image in order to make it smaller to fit on a webpage or some such thing.

02/24/2006 05:46:03 PM · #11
Another option for shooting flat art is a "copy stand," which has two sets of lights, and a mount for the camera which holds it with the focal plane parallel to the base, and the lens centered over the base (where the art sits). It's the photographic equivalent of a scanner.

You might be able to rent one from a professional photo rental shop.

I'd use a scanner too, but I can't recommend any specific one right now, since most of my experience is with Agfa scanners, and they don't make them anymore.
02/24/2006 06:31:17 PM · #12
Originally posted by ecce:

I just noticed that the text looks fine when the picture at its original size, before it's resized to fit the browser window.
If this is true, and everything else is fine, why not shoot using a smaller image size? Like 800x600 instead of 3000x2000 (I'm sure those figures aren't precise, but you get the idea).
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