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A digital camera is an ideal alternative to a scanner — especially if you don’t want to deal with a scanner every time you need to convert an image to text, or if you don’t do this very often. Photos of documents can be easily opened with ABBYY FineReader, ready for further processing.
If you are working with books (for example, in a library), you can simply take you digital camera and capture all necessary text and images for further processing on you PC or notebook (even from those books that cannot be scanned at all).
When you are traveling out of the office (for example, on a business trip) and need to digitize some important documents for editing, archiving, creating other documents, a digital camera can be used as a portable scanner.
A digital camera can also be used to capture text outdoors from banners, posters, billboards, walls, timetables and so on.
At last, you will probably find your own way to use a digital camera and its new capabilities. But if you are going to use it like James Bond does, please don’t forget about intellectual property rights and copyright laws.
Even for skillful photographers, it is important to learn how to use a digital camera properly so that you can convert an image to text effectively and get the most accurate results. Photographed images differ from scanned images by a range of characteristics, yet ABBYY FineReader with its Camera OCR technology makes them suitable for quality OCR and conversion into text formats.
So, if you have FineReader installed on your PC and know some simple “secrets” on how to shoot documents and books, you will certainly receive perfect results. Well, the secrets are:
Your Digital Camera
Use a digital camera with 5-megapixel resolution or higher, ideally equipped with the following features:
Try to take 2-3 shots of the same document to make sure your hands are stable and an image didn’t come out blurry or a corner of the document wasn’t cut off.
Use the “close-up” or “macro” mode. In most cameras it is indicated by a flower icon.
Camera Positioning and Focus
Position the lens parallel to the plane of the document.
Fit the entire document into the frame.
Focus on the center of a page.
Use the camera’s optical zoom to zoom in on the document and frame it tightly around the document.
Lighting and Flash
Make sure there is sufficient lighting. Natural light is the best.
Disable the flash (in most point-and-shoot digital cameras, the flash is on auto mode by default).
If you have to take a picture of a document in poor lighting and need the flash, try to use the flash from 20 inches away and try to find additional light sources.
Don’t use the flash on glossy paper.
Extra Tips for Advanced Users
And finally, if you know your camera “inside out” and wish to improve your skills in photographing documents and books or wish to achieve good results in some special conditions, there are a few extra tips to follow:
Use the white balance feature. If your camera has manual white balance, use a white sheet of paper to set white balance. Otherwise, select the appropriate balance mode for your lighting conditions.
Enable the anti-shake setting: otherwise, use a tripod.
In poor lighting conditions: