Scanning images vs. Photos


#1

I’ll incorporate this in the photography FAQ, but wanted to have it on the GD forum for a bit to catch eyeballs which don’t visit the Tech Forum.

Using a flatbed scanner is one good way to substitute for a digital camera, but . . . .

(1) Use the bundled software or another application to crop, lighten, orient or otherwise enhance the image for posting.

(2) Draping neutral colored cloth over boxes or rounds in profile goes a long way to helping the color saturation and brightness of the images and block ambient light whether the scanner cover is up or down. This is particularly useful when one is trying to capture a headstamp and profile in the same pass.

(3) To capture good detail in a headstamp, cut an “X” in some cloth or even a piece of paper and use this to block ambient light and fit this over the base of the cartridge, leaving the base the only structured part of the image.

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#2

I often use a small, inverted cardboard box over the cartridges being scanned to block out the ambient light when the scanner cover is up. This eliminates the shadows caused by a draped piece of cloth or paper. I usually scan headstamps with the cover up. The result with my setup is a dark, almost black background with little need to edit the image. I find using a scanner to be 100% better than my digital camera.

AKMS


#3

A scanner is a good substitute, no question but with proper camera equipment and a bit of experience you will outrun any scanner except for scanning real documents (what a scanner is made for).


#4

I have to agree with EOD - scanners are useful - but can’t beat a digital camera - especially with a macro lens. The trick though to good ctg photos whether scanner or camera - is the quantity & direction of the light source - and that’s a matter of individual experiment and circustance. The problem with scanners is they light directly and evenly across the subject so there is no shading to provide that ‘3 - dimensional’ quality that makes ctg profiles & headstamps stand out.


#5

To increase the readability of scanned headstamps, dip the head into powdered chalk. This is sold in hardware stores as chalk to powder carpenter and mason chalk lines for building. It comes in white or blue. I have found that the blue gives a better image, at least in B&W. The chalk is easily removed with an old toothbrush.


#6

Actually, you need to compare equipment of the same vintage. It is no good comparing an old scanner with your latest digital camera. Some of you are using all-in-one printer-scanner-copiers too, which have sub-optimal quality. Others don’t know how to change the dpi settings on the scanner in order to get high resolution scans.
A flatbed scanner can easily beat a digital camera. My digital camera is a Canon G6 with a macro and a super macro setting. It takes very nice close-ups but it is difficult to get the lighting right for something like a headstamp.
My flatbed scanner is an Epson 4870 photo and it has no problem scanning headstamps. There is no problem seeing the relief of the stamping. Scanners are not just for paper. Many scanners these days are made for 3D applications (they can focus several millimetres off the glass). These tests are often included in reviews of these scanners.
Here is a headstamp I scanned on my Epson. I have had this scanner for more than two years, but it is a reasonable spec scanner:


#7

I should add that when comparing home equipment, I can make consistent scans of the same high quality in a much quicker time than almost anybody can make with a digital camera. If you have a home-made jig and a macro-box with a ring light, and remote trigger you can also achieve consistency and quality, but you are still going to be slower and have to pay more for the equipment than if you use a scanner such as my Epson.
I must concede one point though: if the cartridge has been discharged and has a pronounced firing pin impression, then the case may not sit flat on the glass and may need to be supported. If you have many of these, the camera may be quicker.


#8

Odd

Thanks for that informative post.

I just barely have learned how to work my camera and I’m already a dinosauer.

Let me ask this question. Do you think that one of the combo printer/ scanners such as are sold at places like K Mart for approx $50 are adequate for scanning cartridges and headstamps? I have found it cheaper to buy a new printer rather than buying new ink cartridges and since I’m almost in need of $40 worth of ink . . . .

Ray


#9

Dear Ray

My experience has been that when somebody makes a device that is jack-of-all-trades it is usually master of none. If I was in your shoes I would get a dedicated flatbed scanner. These are my reasons:

  1. The scanner will be of a better quality because no compromises will have been made in the design of the scanner, in an attempt to incorporate all the other hardware.

  2. Should one device fail, you lose all three while the whole unit goes in for repairs. This is similar to the TV/VCR combos you used to get a few years ago.

  3. An upgrade to one unit forces an upgrade to all. You are either compelled to get another all-in-one unit, or you will find yourself buying separate units which is what I advocate in the first place. I have a photo printer here that is pretty average by today’s standards, but it is likely to be all I ever need as long as it continues to work. The scanner on the other hand will probably be upgraded because I scan small X-ray films and slides too, and advances are being made in scanner technology which will allow me to scan bigger films.

  4. Wear and tear: I can’t believe that vibration, manual handling and general usage of an all-in-one unit does not have a greater effect in terms of wear and tear on all the components of that system, compared to units that are separate.

  5. The manufacturer of the all-in-one unit will be providing you the software for all components of said unit. Some manufacturers produce better software for certain modalities. If the software for the scanner is not up to par, then you will end up paying for a third party package to get the equivalent features on another model.

My conclusion, sir, is to buy separate units. In the long term you will be better served by doing this.


#10

Ray,

While it’s easy for me to spend your money… get a deciated flat bed scanner. Probably the cheapest flatbed scanner (shop around, well under a $100) will do a great job of scanning cartridges. You do get what you pay for… a middle of the road scanner (around a $100) will do a better great job! Scanners don’t last forever, their scanning tubes get weak, go out, etc. But generally the newer technology is better, cheaper.

Jones


#11

Job & Joe

Thanks for the advice. It’s always best to listen to those who know, as compared to me who knows nothing, as Sgt Schultz would say.

Ray


#12
  • I do believe in taking headstamp pictures using a good quality camera and I agree 100% with EOD and JohnP-C. When taking pictures to cartridges, it’s not only about headstamps. Liviu 02/07/07

#13
  • In my opinion a headstamp picture which was realized using a scanner looks in a way artificial and simulated, even if it is of very good quality. I would like to see a headstamp picture [obtained by scanner] showing a headstamp for a cartridge having a green lacquered steel case. Anyone who can post it here??? Liviu 02/07/07

#14

Liviu,

Just wanted to clairfy a point. A photograph, by it’s nature, is more realistic that a scanned object. I wasn’t saying scanners were better, they’re cheaper, easy to lean to use and satisfactory in many instances.

Cameras are designed to render three demenisionl images of good quality, by design, scanners are to copy documents.

If you want the best, have the time and money and inclination, get a camera setup. If you want down and dirty, cheap and fast, but reasonable, get a quality scanner.

Jones


#15
  • Yes Jones, I do agree with you. Scanners can do a much faster job. I have 37 years experience in photography and I take headstamp pictures using my 35mm German “Pentacon” camera using extension aluminum tubes between camera and lenses for a very close work and using so called “filtrated sunlight” which is the best. Liviu 02/07/07

#16

Ok here goes. I’ve never been on a fourm before so I guess this prctice place is the best place to start. I’ve been out of the collector scene for a long time. I started back in the 70s when this club was ICCA. My entire collection has been in storage for the last 12 years(built a new house etc-Granddaughter came down with lukimia and lost the battle a year ago) Now thinking of selling it all, or setting upa display in the den.
As to the question of scanning vs pics-Pics win hands down. I have also been in photography starting in 1974. Even the new scanners can’t compete with the new digital cameras. I’ll even volunteer to shoot members items if they want to come to the shop, or give them a short "How To"
OK- Did this thing work?

[quote=“Iconoclast”]I’ll incorporate this in the photography FAQ, but wanted to have it on the GD forum for a bit to catch eyeballs which don’t visit the Tech Forum.

Using a flatbed scanner is one good way to substitute for a digital camera, but . . . .

(1) Use the bundled software or another application to crop, lighten, orient or otherwise enhance the image for posting.

(2) Draping neutral colored cloth over boxes or rounds in profile goes a long way to helping the color saturation and brightness of the images and block ambient light whether the scanner cover is up or down. This is particularly useful when one is trying to capture a headstamp and profile in the same pass.

(3) To capture good detail in a headstamp, cut an “X” in some cloth or even a piece of paper and use this to block ambient light and fit this over the base of the cartridge, leaving the base the only structured part of the image.

.[/quote]