The article I published yesterday on Converting My Personal Library to Digital has already generated a number of comments at the end of the article and also private email messages to me. The most common questions are:
“What are your thoughts on the best receipt scanner that I can go between iPhone, iPad and PC?”
“What is the best portable scanner for use in libraries or archives where it isn’t convenient to carry a full-sized scanner?
My answer is the same for both questions: “Your present cell phone’s camera.”
Your cell phone probably is also your cheapest solution as most people already own a cell phone with a built-in camera of rather good resolution. That wasn’t true a few years ago when the cell phone cameras were lower resolution and produced somewhat grainy images. However, most of today’s cell phones produce high-quality 8-megapixel or even higher resolution images. My new cell phone has a 12-megapixel, phase detection autofocus and laser detection autofocus camera with f/2.0 aperture. It produces gorgeous images even when used close-up to the document being scanned… uh, captured. Most other cell phones these days have similar specifications or something approaching those specs.
I have written before about using a cell phone camera as portable scanner. You can find my past articles at:
Admittedly, a cell phone camera will not do a very good job of digitizing those long strips of paper receipts you get at the grocery store and other retail outlets. However, I doubt if many genealogists have a big need to store grocery store receipts.
Cell phone cameras usually work well on individual pages from a book or old documents.
If your present cell phone camera isn’t high enough resolution for use in digitizing documents and pages from a book, I do have a suggestion: Shouldn’t you be asking Santa for a new cell phone?
Besides, that is probably cheaper than buying a new scanner anyway!