The camera used to photograph this manuscript was a Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-F828, an 8 megapixel digital camera. We mounted the camera on a reproduction stand (the Mini Repro Firenze), at 49 1/3 cm above the base of the stand.
After some experimentation we determined that:
- The overhead lights must be turned off – the fluorescents caused reflective lines
- A clear glass plate laid over the manuscript flattened the surface slightly for more consistent results
- The RAW format (*.SRC) allowed for finer manipulation of the image, and this became our master file format
- The Sony camera supported a macro setting, which we turned on for closer focus
- The white balance was set to “Daylight”, since the pot lights on the repro stand were incandescent bulbs (60W).
- The ISO film speed was set to 64, which allowed for a clearer image
- The color balance on the camera was set to “REAL”, which disabled automatic contrast and balance settings (the “Standard” setting), and adhered to the visible texture and color
- The aperture setting was f5.0, which resulted in a clearer focus across the page, and compensated for the natural curvature of the pages
The manuscript, placed on a black poster-board backdrop, was photographed in sets of three pictures (limited by the camera’s built in memory), each of which consisted of a pair of facing pages. As the pages were turned (a small piece of cardboard was used for this purpose, in order to minimize skin contact) we added or removed supports from beneath the cover, in order to keep the facing pages even, and to support the binding. Once a set of images was completed, they were transferred via USB cable to a desktop computer in the RAW format, and renamed in accordance with the foliation. As one person operated the camera, the other checked the files and saved them as TIFs? (an uncompressed but much more accessible format) using the same file name in a separate directory. A checklist was kept of the foliation, both to track progress and to note particular visible benchmarks in the images.