Options for Photographing Newspaper Pages

Dear Donia,
What are the best camera and lighting settings for capturing newspapers pages?

Newspaper page

Q. Dear Donia,

I have reviewed your replies to many questions concerning archiving newspapers using a camera. I have a large quantity and want to capture both pages of a newspaper in one shot and not in sections. What camera and lighting settings do I need to get an image quality good enough for OCR afterwards? Thanks, Samer

A. Dear Samer,

There are too many options in lighting and cameras currently available that I cannot give you an exact model. What I can do, however, is give you guidelines on specifications to look for.


Get LED lights that are 5000-6500 K which are equivalent to daylight. LED will run cool and not give off a lot of UV radiation.

Be sure to get stands that raise and lower and can move 360 degrees in most directions for the best lighting without hot spots. Also get diffusers to help prevent hot spots.

Ideally, your lights will be connected to your camera and your computer set up for the best control.


Get the best 35mm camera body you can afford. The Nikon D700 is used in many digital labs. In an ideal world, you would buy a separate lens with high quality glass to give you the best resolution. Hassalblad or Schneider Digitar make lenses you could look at.

Find a camera that allows you to shoot at a minimum resolution of 300ppi but better yet 600ppi with as high a number of active pixels can that shoots TIFF. This will be important if you want to shoot two pages at once. Personally, I think you would get a better result if you shot one page at a time.

As with cameras and lights, you need to think about a tall enough copy stand, equipment to help turn and hold down pages and a good computer system. A recent article on digital archives workstations just came out that could be helpful.

Good luck with your project.