Smart phone macro photography

Frequently asked questions

Smart phone macro photography

Postby droid scan dev » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:44 pm

Q:

What are some tips for capturing highest quality close up images of documents that will be processed by a document scanner app like Droid Scan?

A:

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Tip: before you begin, make sure you are using the right settings:
viewtopic.php?f=7&t=64

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Capturing photos of documents is a type of "macro photography," and learning about that technique will improve your document captures. A tricky aspect of this type of photography is that it exaggerates some problems that are less noticeable in casual photography (outdoor scenes, group portraits), especially:

- focus issues
- motion blur caused by camera shake
- lighting problems

The good news, though, is that cell phone cameras are getting better at this type of photography, and even when your camera can't capture the optimum image automatically, there are techniques you can use to greatly improve the results.

In the area of improved camera software, many camera apps now feature a macro mode that you should explore. This will help with focus issues.

In the area of improving your own technique, the two most important topics are lighting and camera motion. Lighting: Diffuse bright light works best, flash is always an option to consider in poor lighting conditions, and your camera app has exposure settings that you can experiment with to improve definition in the capture.

Camera motion: this becomes crucial in close up photography. If you need good results but not production quality results, learning how to use spot focus and how to press the shutter without shaking the camera will be enough. See the links below for more details.

If you need the very highest quality results, a tripod or a rig that supports the camera is recommended, for example a Gorilla Pod.

Links:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/236943/1 ... raphy.html
http://jeffwoodwardphotography.com/2011/02/photo-tips/
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Re: Smart phone macro photography

Postby droid scan dev » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:57 pm

Following up on the previous post, here is some information about Android-specific camera apps.

For an upcoming feature enhancement release, we are working on a camera chooser UI which will query for downloaded apps on your phone that can capture an image:

Image

If you have a favorite camera app already you will understand immediately how useful this can be.

If not, here are a couple of reasons to look into enhanced alternate camera apps:

1. There are camera apps available that feature image stabilization modes, for example using the phone's sensors to detect when the phone is not moving and capturing an image at that moment. This helps a great deal with motion blur. The camera app shown in the screenshot is one example we have tested.

2. There are camera apps available that feature High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.

The upcoming camera chooser UI will make it very convenient to use the best camera available when capturing scans, but there is no need to wait for this feature to be released. Using the current release of Droid Scan Pro, you can simply capture images with your preferred camera and then use turbo import to process them with Droid Scan.
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Re: Smart phone macro photography

Postby droid scan dev » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:47 pm

Following up on the topic of smart phone macro photography, here are some first impressions of a camera accessory we tested recently. This isn't a full review nor have we had enough time with the accessory to recommend it instead of other solutions. But based on what we have seen, it is something you definitely should consider if you need to get higher quality document scans than is possible with a hand held camera.

The accessory in question is the "Modahaus Steady Stand 200:"
http://www.modahaus.com/store/steady-stand-200/

What we like about this stand:
- It folds up flat into a light and portable package that is compatible with mobile applications
- The construction is sturdy
- It provides a solid platform for your camera phone
- The sides are constructed of an opaque material that helps diffuse light if you position it properly
- In testing, it really helped capture highly detailed text scans with less blur than handheld captures

What we missed:
- It would have been nice to be able to capture an 8.5" x 11" document, but the camera phone is not far enough from the document to do that when it is sitting on top of this stand*.

*Update: We were in touch with Modahaus recently and they pointed out that there is now a larger version of the Steady Stand that supports photographing US Letter and A4 documents. Cool! Here is a page with information about the whole range:
http://www.modahaus.com/store/steady-stands/
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Re: Smart phone macro photography

Postby droid scan dev » Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:10 pm

If you are interested in alternate camera apps, be sure to check out the preview of Droid Scan 5.1 that was released today:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=174
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Re: Smart phone macro photography

Postby droid scan dev » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:40 pm

Update: the camera chooser is now available in all versions of Droid Scan. Make sure you are running the latest release (5.1+), and please note that the camera chooser only appears if you have more than one camera app installed on your phone. Also be aware that some apps that include a camera function don't register that fact with the Android OS. These apps can't be detected and won't appear in the camera chooser.
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