Meet Susan Petersen, a genealogist and creator of the Long Lost Relatives Blog. She recently wrote about her experiences with the flip-pal mobile scanner. Read below!
“The next project was to see just how this works on oversize images. After all, isn’t that the reason that a lot of we genealogists are interested in this product?
I went straight for my grandfather’s childhood scrapbook of magazine photos of horses, cows and pigs. It’s about 12″ x 14″ – maybe even larger. But it’s too big to get a full page on my flatbed scanner. It took me a couple tries to get the auto-stitching software to work, but that was my own fault since I seldom read an instruction manual unless absolutely necessary. Since the software was not recognizing any stitchable regions, I realized that my scans had to overlap with one another. I made 11 scans of the page and here are four of them, just to demonstrate what the individual scanned images look like. Image size is reduced for the blog post.”
Read more….. of Susan’s blog entry on her Long Lost Relatives website! You can also find Susan on Twitter @sooznebr
p.s. there is a part two to her blog entry …. click here to read more
While exhibiting and presenting a session on Dating 19th Century Photographs at the August 2010 Family History Expo in Sandy, Utah, I had the opportunity to take a first-hand look at the Flip-Pal mobile scanner and give it good test. I was very interested in the capabilities of the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, especially for archival-quality scans while traveling.
A little background first. As the founder of PhotoTree.com, I have digitized over 3,000 19th century photographs, using a variety of techniques and products, and have developed some expectations of scanning and copying technologies.
PhotoTree.com publishes an online database of 19th century photographs and has developed processes to date them, both online and using printed publications. Additionally, we perform photo restoration on heirloom photographs, requiring high resolution digital copies of the original image.
We digitize photographs either with high-end flatbed scanners or by copying the image with a high resolution digital camera using a copy stand and custom lights. A 12 mega pixel Nikon D300 camera with a 60mm macro lens is use. All of this is more than a $2,500 setup – and very bulky. And of course the flatbed scanner requires an attached PC, cable, power, etc. Not real nimble.
When traveling, I usually don’t have the luxury of bringing my scanner or all the photography equipment along, but still need to frequently create high-quality scans of newly discovered photographs. So I have been seeking a high resolution, portable scanning solution.
Back to Flip-Pal test. The second day of the expo during a lull I introduced myself to Ben Kimbell in the Flip-Pal booth, and explained my activities and scanning needs. Despite my skepticism, the size, easy of use, and price seemed very intriguing – if too good to be true. And you know what they say about things being too good to be true. So, I gave Ben a challenge and had him scan a really nice 120 year-old cabinet card that was very crisp and had great tonal range.
Ben scanned the picture at 600 DPI, and I took it back to my PC to open with PhotoShop. Voila! To most people, you wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the Flip-Pal scan and the master copy I made with my Nikon camera which was approximately 600 DPI also. When we zoomed in as much as 300%, both images exhibited nearly identical sharpness, with differences being mostly matter of opinion at that point. The scanned image did have some detectable noise and some JPG compression loss. But to be honest, you really had to look for them, and both of those were in acceptable ranges, especially when you compare the JPG file size of 1.8MB for the Flip-Scan versus 24MB for the original Photoshop file. The Flip-Pal can scan at 300 DPI also, which we did. The results were very good and ideal for most user applications.
This is my original image (Gary from Photo Tree)
Flip-Pal scan from Sandy – 600DPI
The Flip-Pal is certainly up to all the scanning tasks that a genealogist has – and even more. I will use it as an archival tool when I don’t have access to my studio or can’t bring all my equipment with me. The small size is a great benefit to the traveler, it’s half the size of my iPad. And the image quality is superb.
Gary Clark, Founder, PhotoTree.com Contact: gary[@]phototree.com
PhotoTree.com provides numerous services and tools to genealogists of all levels, collectors, and historians that guide them through the process of dating 19th century photographs, and helps them preserve their valuable photographs through restoration, reproduction, and archiving techniques.
Tools include an online gallery of more than 1,000 dated images in over 50 categories to compare with undated family photos. Viewing documented examples similar to family photos can help establish the probable date of a photograph. This web site, including an extensive history and description of 19th century photographs is freely available to the public.
A series of easy-to-use, unique publications for the genealogist and other 19th century photograph enthusiasts are forthcoming from PhotoTree.com. Available in e-book and print, these highly illustrated, sample-based guides provide the most in-depth explanation of photograph dating techniques ever published.
In addition, PhotoTree.com offers expert photograph restoration and enhancement services; ensuring that damaged photos will not be lost forever, but can be restored and recreated as beautiful artwork. For a comprehensive source of 19th century photographic information visit www.phototree.com
I’ve recently started a company, Family Plots, that does family history publishing for clients. One of the first hurdles we’ve encountered is that potential clients don’t want their photographs, pictures, and scrapbooks to leave their homes. With Flip-Pal, I can scan on location without having to lug around a laptop and a scanner or set up a full digital photographic studio. I am also looking at the Flip-Pal for doing genealogical research; that is, I can take Flip-Pal into research libraries, for instance, and scan pages for my use later. I can see historic societies, family history libraries, and government agencies, such as courts, making use of Flip-Pal, too.
Family Plots, Founder
Jon Baker, founder of Family Plots, a family history publishing company
Jon Baker has been writing, editing, and publishing a variety of content since he was a boy. Early career work included magazine and textbook publishing for companies such as John Wiley and Sons. Later, Jon moved into high tech at Digital Equipment Corporation as an editor for Digital Press and later as a technical communicator. Jon worked in the technical communication field for more than 20 years at companies such as EMC, Inc. and Metavante Technologies, Inc. Now reinventing himself, Jon is turning his attentions and publishing skills to the fields of genealogy and family history. Jon holds a B.S. in Journalism, an M.S. in Leadership and Organizational Development, and a Webmaster Certificate from Northeastern University. In addition, Jon is a past Board member of the Society for Technical Communication and is an Associate Fellow in the society.
When my mom passed away, I realized that I was the history keeper of my entire family. As my sister and brother and I collected pictures and stories for her eulogy, I not only had the the most stories, but also the most pictures. At that point, I knew I was on a quest for more family information.
Through a geneology website and program, I found mom’s side of the family from the 1600′s on the Isle of Man. What a find! Suddenly all the names she had spoken over the years were placed in their proper families.
Then I started to look for dad’s side. Not much. Maybe a ship manifest when he came to this country. No pictures. So I wrote to my cousins, asking if they had any pictures of dad when he was a little boy. Low and behold, they had bunches. Since they were so precious to all of us, I would not think of allowing them to pass through anyone else’s hands, the mail, or have the possibility of being lost or misplaced… so I arranged a date, to drive all the way to my cousin’s ranch in Montana with a full-sized computer and flatbed scanner in tow to capture these precious slices of light.
I drove more than 800 miles, many, many on gravel country roads to reach my cousin’s place. What an adventure! I hit pay dirt!!! Not only did they have pictures of grand dad when he was a teen, but elegant pictures of my young grandmother, my grandfather as a child, and even the house where he was born in Germany! The bonus of the trip, was discovering how my cousins and I share so many similarities. It was a treat to find those things to share.
Soon I will start using the Flip-Pal™ Mobile Scanner for more projects like this… not only is it easy to use, it is compact, VERY portable (especially considering the alternative I had to use), and has high enough resolution to get great enlargeable copies of my family’s pictures.
… and the search continues for more good family stories.
Meet Diane ……
I “grew up” in the coulees of Montana, with two older brothers, one sister, breaking horses and riding Hell-bent-for-leather. I was born an artist. Received a B.A. in art then a M.S. in Computer Science. For more than 20 years did graphics software development, technical liaison, database design & maintenance, scientific computing, marketing, technical training and writing… some in the 16 years I was at a Fortune 100 Company and other at a small data analysis office in Bozeman, Montana.
The eight years since corporate life? Co-created two corporations, plus started a “New Paradigm” company that serves the employees; taught IT and computer security classes, facilitated authentic intimacy with couples, art and graphic design plus Reiki healing. My passion remains in the arts: digital creation through design and photography, stained glass, oil painting, CAD/CAM jewelry design, drawing, sculpture, website and CD cover and insert design for musicians.
Now you could say I am Electron Cowgirl!