digital imaging of old, faded documents

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Dr EBob

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Feb 9, 2005
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I'm trying to make old, faded genealogical documents readable using CHEAP methods. (i.e. I'm a teacher and I'm poor.) Based on my online research, IR and UV imaging might be useful depending on the type of ink used. I know that digital cameras can't see much in the UV part of the spectrum. Does the IR cutoff filter on the imaging sensor mean my EasyShare DX4900 is useless for this as well?
 

buck52

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I'll see what I can find to help you but...

Dr EBob said:
I'm trying to make old, faded genealogical documents readable using CHEAP methods. (i.e. I'm a teacher and I'm poor.)
you must not teach in my town...you would be able to by the best state of the art equipment and have only three kids/rats in your class...

buck
 
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If the filter is referred to as “cut out” in the Kodak manual it might be removable. Generally cameras either have IR filters that prevent IR photography or they don’t. Some of the upper end Sony digital cameras have a cut out that lets you bypass the internal IR filter. The V1, V3, 707, 717 and 828 have that setup and are the best cameras to capture IR without going to expensive gear. Maybe someone you know has one of those you could borrow. I would be surprised to hear a simple camera like the 4900 has an IR cut-out capability.

Maybe buck52 could give you a rundown on DSLR equipment you might borrow as it relates to IR.

I think all consumer level digital cameras have internal UV filtering and I know of none that have a way to bypass it.

Just about any scanner other than very low end Epson and HP units have an advanced user interface. You can do a lot with the histogram and/or threshold controls. This is specific to old prints but could be applied to scanning old documents: http://scantips.com/restore.html and the basic course on the histogram: http://scantips.com/simple.html If you are scanning in one bit B&W the histogram changes to a threshold control which can clean up the document.
 
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