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In Document Camera Part 1 I went over the reasons why I decided I needed (ok wanted) a Document Camera. I also discussed the completely unsophisticated requirements I used to compare cameras. In Part 2 I discuss the Camera I selected and what I like and don't like about the Camera. 

And the Winner Is....
Once I had my requirements in hand I began researching the Document Cameras that are out there and pretty quickly began focusing on a Company in San Diego California called Pathway Innovations and Technologies. They sell a variety of cameras that appear to be targeted at the Teaching profession, with focus on cameras in the classroom. They offer several models with a couple of them falling within my requirements. The two specific cameras are the HoverCam Solo 5 and the HoverCam Solo 8. The model 5 is a 5 mega-pixel camera while the HoverCam Solo 8 is their new 8 mega-pixel model. Being a bit of a tech geek, knowing that the 8 mega-pixel was out there meant that I would never be happy with the 5 mega-pixel camera even though the 5 did satisfy my initial requirements list. So after downloading their manuals, drinking up everthing available on their website, I turned to the web again to see what others thought of this camera. After additional research I decided to take the plunge and order the HoverCam 8. To be fair the 8 did tick at least one more box than the 5. The hoverCam Solo 8 uses USB 3.0 technology to communicate with the computer while the Solo 5 is only USB 2.0. Since my Samsung ultrabook also had a USB 3.0 port the allure of faster transfer speeds was more than I could resist!

The HoverCam Solo 8
So how did the HoverCam Solo 8 satisfy my requirements? Let's go thru them one at a time.

  • Resolution - this one was easy, at 8 Mega-Pixels the camera exceeded the requirement substantially.
  • Image Type - The Camera takes TIFF as well as JPG images. It also allows you to save images as PDF's. something I had not even thought about when I started out on this mission.
  • Ease of Use - There are quite a few nifty goodies that come with both the softwre and the camera itself. some of  them are: a button right on the camera that allows you to focus the image without having to go back to the computer and make adjustments using the keyboard and mouse; it has a auto shoot option that allows you to set the camera up to automatically take the photos so that you can speed thru documents with many pages quickly.
  • Compatible Software - good news on this one, while it is PC compatible there is also software for Apple computers.
  • Under $500 - the camera cost me about $350 which I actually paid. I did not try to talk them into a free camera just for this review.
Initial Impressions
Upon delivery I opened the box and lifted out my new toy. My first impression was that it looked and felt well built. I would not say industrial strength but sturdy nevertheless. Removing if from its box and plastic bag was straight forward and I want to note that the box and packaging appear to be designed to store the camera when not in use. By this I mean I did not have to take a saw to the packaging to get the camera out. This was the first of many brownie points earned by Pathway Innovations Technology. Even someone like me, with thousands of pages to scan will not be using the camera day in and day out, so it was nice to see that it would easily go back into the box it came in. Also included was a bright green rubber mat with various markings on it. 

In my own personal archives I have nearly 15,000 pages of documents related to my family history. Many of these documents are already digitized because I either found them that way or they were sent to me that way. However far more are paper, and inconveniently, not a standard size. This got me looking at ways to digitize them so that they could be shared with others, and s backed up as insurance against loss. I started out as I am sure virtually everyone else does by using my "all-in-one" flatbed printer/scanner to make the copies and that was fine for a while, though I was really not thrilled with the quality of the output or the length of time each scan took. I also tried a sheetfeed type scanner from Neat (model NM-1000) that also worked well but had the limitation of not being able to fit larger documents thru it. I next turned to my iphone 5s and Samsung 10.1 2012 Note. These two did not work for me because of a lack of consistency in the output quality. The flash needed to be turned off or there was a bright spot in the image, so I was at the mercy of the existing light which meant each session of document photographing resulted in images of differing light quality.

A new Milestone has been reached at the Caperton Society Website. There are now images of over 2000 original source documents available to assist Caperton's in researching their roots. 2067 to be exact! The collection that pushed us over the top is the WWII 'Old Man' draft records update. Not only were 38 names added to the collection, along with images, but the entire database was reworked to include more extracted data, and links where possible to the Bernard Caperton book" The Caperton Family".
This has been a busy year for the website with the addition of the 1860 and 1870 US Censuses, hundreds of Marriage and Death records added, and the War of 1812 and WWII draft records updating. For details on what has been added or updated you can always click on the "What's Available" link at the bottom of most webpages. The What's Available page has a summary listing of all of the collections and includes the most recent time the collection was updated. I can tell you that 2000 only scratches the surface of what I have available to put online! Each of these new collections does however take a considerable amount of work on my part and I could certainly use help. One of the more important goals in these collections is to include where ever possible, the Henry number from Bernard Caperton's book to help those using the book to locate information on a specific person. If you are interested in helping to research and identify these numbers for the those in the collections without a number please let me know and I can set you up with the needed access. You dont need to be a computer geek to help either. If you can handle the basics of an excel spreadsheet, you can help! The more individuals that help with this the more time I will have to work on new collections and the revision of "The Caperton Family" book!!!!