Scanners for Naturalists
by Chris Fitzjohn
of us have flatbed scanners, but nowhere has it been
written that these are great for naturalists. Your
photocopier is simply a camera, located at the base,
so you can scan almost anything that fits. Get 3D
images of shells, cones, plants, by - - just doing
it. Simply place an object in the scanner. You may
have to put a sheet of paper on top of the object,
otherwise the camera will photograph the cover as
well, but that is all.
we have judged pictures and objects from a scanner,
and both times the verdict was 100% from everyone
present; the best results were obtained from - - -
low resolution settings! So forget all the
sales talk, as a rule you do not need high definition,
unless you are to crop objects, or really blow them
are some more useful tips obtained from Chris.
you can use your Scanner for:
potential of scanners is often underestimated and
as a result they are often under used in fact used
only for one thing - to scan photos. But they can
be used for so much more, just look at the list below
to see what you can do with your scanner.
and Preserve Photographs – your scanner can
preserve photographs and protect them from further
Capture moments in time – you can scan newspaper
articles, kids drawings, concert tickets.
Make the pictures better – you can remove unwanted
objects, repair and restore damaged photos.
images larger and smaller – enlarging or reducing
an image on a scanner always produces superior results
to doing the same thing with a software application.
Convert printed text into electronic text (OCR) –
by using optical character recognition (OCR) software,
your scanner can scan almost any printed document
and convert it into text, such as ‘Word’.
Manage your documents once they are scanned –
using your scanner you can store such things as receipts/bills
and store them as electronic files.
Photocopy your documents and images – most scanners
sold today offer the ability to directly scan and
print an image placed on the scanner glass.
Fax your documents – most computers include
fax capable modems. Nearly every scanner sold today
offers the ability to fax.
Scan 3-D objects – a flatbed scanner is essentially
a digital camera without a zoom lens. Almost anything
you place on a scanner can be successfully scanned
and made into a graphic file.
much resolution do you need?
scanning photos and other images, you need a lot less
resolution than you might imagine. Most images only
need to be scanned at 200 or 300dpi. It is commonly
believed that increasing the scanning resolution increases
the sharpness and clarity of the scanned image, but
for most types of scanning it is not true. Increasing
the resolution makes the scans take longer and creates
huge image files without any visible improvements
out of your printer.
when do you need to scan at a higher resolution? Only
scan at a higher resolution if you want to enlarge
the photo (double it for instance) or if you are scanning
negatives or slides. As a general guide follows these
tips - If you want to scan a photo and keep it at
its original size then a resolution of 300dpi is more
than adequate. If you wish to double the size of the
photo then you need to scan at a higher resolution,
such as 600dpi.
as an experiment, place your glasses in the scanner,
place a sheet of paper over the top, gently close
the lid, and you will see an image with 3D effects.
Naturalists should have all types of fun and benefits.