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Optimal Settings for Photographing Documents

SoonerLater

US
10 posts

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SoonerLater Registered since 16th Apr 2011
Mon 25-Apr-11 01:54 PM

My law practice requires me to examine land records in many far-flung courthouses. I take along my D7000 and often photograph records, rather than pay $1.00 per page (statutory) for copies. The photographs I take are simply as a substitute for buying xerox copies from the Clerk. The ONLY consideration is readability of the resulting image. So far my results are good, but I'd like to optimize them. Keep in mind that:

1. I are required to hand-hold the camera. The Clerk's don't mind camera use, but they won't tolerate setting up a copy stand or tripod. The shooting speed has to be fast enough that my increasingly weary hand can get a sharp image. I place the book containing the document I need on a table top and hold the camera straight out from my body over what I think is the center of the document, attempting to shoot straight down.

2. I have to use available light. They don't want a lot of flashes going off. Even if they would tolerate flash, to use one, I'd have to get a special way of holding the speedlight since I'm shooting so close to the subject.

With the above in mind, this is all I've come up with:

1. Use highest ISO that the camera will support. After all, color depth and quality are non-issues in this situation.

2. Use the smallest aperture (so depth of field will be greatest) that will let me shoot at 1/125 or faster (so my hand shake is tolerable).

3. Use manual focus, since waiting to grab autofocus slows things down (a little).

4. Check results often.

Any different or other suggestions on how to achieve good results consistently?

G