My recent experience: Camera People vs. Scanner People

Genea-Blogger, Marian Pierre-Louis of Roots and Rambles, posted this on her Blog:

Camera People vs. Scanner People

and it got me thinking. Which am I, a Scanner person or a Camera person.

I have now had two experiences, that related directly to this subject. The answer, for me, is “It Depends”.

My first experience was having a Camera and not help, and not the usual little ‘sand bags’ or weights to hold the paper down. The paper had been folded for years, and it was a letter written in 1916. The paper was folded, and I could not make out all of the text from the picture. I now have that resolved with a FlipPal.

This past week was a day at the National Archives and Records Administration, in Washington, D.C., Which do it take, Camera or FlipPal? Remembering my earlier experience, I took my camera anyway.

What I didn’t know was, what I was going to be looking at. A Pension file and some Land Grant Records. (first visit to NARA). I had no idea how many pages this would be. I expected a slim packet for my Civil War records, wrong, wasn’t sure about the Land Grant documents. I was not as concerned about these, it was that I wanted to see what was in them.

So, where do I stand. (and why).

I am a “both”, if you an be a “both”. I have both and will use both, and take both with me when I “might” find some family history information, even without a firm plan on seeing such information. I just through (gently place) my G-Bag in the back of the car, ‘just in case’. I normally have two cameras with me anyway, but  the FlipPal is in the Genealogy Bag.

For me, it’s a matter of “how much time to I have”. I would have not gotten though the Civil War file, if I had just tried the FlipPal. The pages were in all sizes, shapes, and forms, and I wanted both sides where applicable.

What I didn’t know, what in the Archives, they had a camera stand, WITH a pair of lights, just for this purpose. It was a matter of centering the page, making sure the page was within the screen, check for shadows, click, turn page over, repeat, next page.

Of course, my “wisdom” came from our tour guide, friend AND cousin Dear MYRTLE. She took two cameras. Since her “pull” of records came before mine, I helped her “turn the pages”. Here first batch, was done on the Camera Stand.

My second camera is a DSLR, and I didn’t want, nor see the need to take that with me. My small camera has done “good by me” in that past, so it was my choice.

Lesson Learned: Extra SD card, Extra Batteries. (I always have that, in the same camera bag) and used my “back Ups”.

My Land Records, were not done on the Camera Stand, but hand held at the workspace. Briefly looking at the pictures on the camera, both came out so that I can work with them.

I continue to be a Both person (camera or scanner), they both have a purpose for me, both are with me in the car.

But the FlipPal DOES have a feature that the camera doesn’t have. That is the ability to place the plexiglass sketch up over a photo and to be able to write on the plexiglass with names of the people in the photograph. This came in handy when visiting my Aunt with some old photographs, where I wanted her to identify the people in the photo.

Marian closed her Blog Post with this:

“Clearly I think the wand scanner has its time and place. What about you?  Which camp do you fall into and why?”

She mentioned a wand scanner, and with the work that she does, makes total sense. Change Wand Scanner with FlipPal, and I have the same comment. Each has its time and place.

Which camp do you fall into and why?

Both … and … it depends

Nice to have options.


2 Responses to My recent experience: Camera People vs. Scanner People

  1. Dear Russ,
    I apparently neglected to mention that there are indeed sand bags and lucite tablets at NARA behind that main reference desk on the second floor. I tend not to use them any more while doing my digital captures via camera.

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