The Copy Camera
Nowadays there is nothing quicker than digital, with the exception of a cat escaping a bathtub...you get to see what you captured as soon as you can see the LCD screen. For those people who still wish to use a camera to capture flat copy we have some advice:
1. Use a copy stand. Promaster make good ones that are derived from enlarger stands with additional lights on arms either side of the stand. They don't cost a fortune. and they make it efficient - trying to make a stand out of a tripod and two stacks of old text books is a royal pain.
3. Use one that has a flip-up or flip-out LCD screen. You can position it so that you see the preview image right in front of your eyes - very comfortable working.
4. Match your capture to your intended storage volume and final usage. No need to have a 50 megapixel camera if you are photographing matchbook covers for small jpeg images.
5. Light the material with two tungsten, fluorescent curly, or halogen lamps. Get two bulbs the exact same and if you blow one get two more new ones and replace L and R at the same time. Assess your WB with a Datacolor SpyderChecker 24 and micro adjust your white balance to suit. Saves hours later.
6. Get the subject material as flat as possible. You can cover a wrinkled surface with a clear acrylic or glass sheet if you are careful with reflections. You can put a half-sticky piece of heavy card down and press a recalcitrant piece of paper onto it. If you are ambitious you can make a vacuum box and suck paper flat. Books are a problem.
7. Use a yellow or red filter if you are copying old smudged grotty paper as it will disguise the blotches and improve the contrast.
8. Be careful of reflections and stray light sources on the subject plane and on the camera lens. Use a lens hood. Wear a black tee shirt if you stand near the front of the copy stand.
9. Use a cable release.
10. Make sure the camera is squarely mounted on the stand and looks directly down - no skewed angles.
If you want to see an ingenious solution to the business of keeping a book flat for copying without breaking its spine, google up Linhof book copying holder. They don't make it any more and you can't afford it anyway but it was very clever.