Prizmo shines when used with digital camera output. (October 28th, 2009)
Whether you want to archive old documents or recent tax receipts, Prizmo is imminently usable, if not quite perfect.
Product Manufacturer: Creaceed S.P.R.L.
Price: 39.95 US
- Simple interface.
OCR works well.
- Dialog boxes stay open.
Doesn’t import PDF format.
Prizmo is the tidy little application you didn’t know you needed, because it ties together all the loose ends of an archivist’s dreams. No longer do you need a scanner and special character recognition software, because Prizmo scans your digital camera photos and processes your images to extract the text you need in Mac OS X 10.5.8 and later. Prizmo lets you shift easily between file formats and between file uses. Offhand images of signs, labels, or receipts become legible renderings or valuable archive documents.
While Prizmo shines when used in conjunction with a digital camera, in theory, you could use it to work with images downloaded from others or to modify scanned documents, as long as they’re in a graphics format. Prizmo exports to PDF with or without images but does not read PDF files as original image input.
Drag and DropPrizmo stays true to the Mac user’s love for a convenient drag-and-drop interface. As soon as you open it, you’re prompted to drag an image file into the application.
From here, the tidy Prizmo interface lets you specify whether Prizmo should correct all of the image or just a part of it.
Changes to the grid show in real-time on the corrected image to the left. The interface buttons at the bottom allow you to make quick and easy changes to relevant settings: Camera calibration, image dimensions and processing, and OCR. This quick and easy access also leads to my one and only major gripe with Prizmo. Once you open a dialog box with one of the interface buttons, it stays there in the way, until you use the View menu bar to select that option again, at which point the dialog box finally disappears. A simple Close button in the corner of the dialog box would have earned Prizmo that final coveted final half star in the rating.
OCRPrizmo’s optical character recognition abilities are impressive. It does a good job of recognizing printed type, not just in a flat image but also in distorted, perspective-altered camera images. Suddenly those off-the-cuff, spontaneous images are usable again.
Whether you’re archiving old documents or recent tax receipts, this ability is imminently usable, if not quite perfect. You can export the recognized text to a variety of formats, include keeping it hidden within a PDF of the original document, so that you can later identify and correct any errors. With ten different languages supported in the OCR function, Prizmo is going to make many people around the world very happy.
Calibrate MePrizmo automatically recognizes the camera and lens used to take a photograph if that information is included in the digital file. There’s an extensive database of calibration datasets available for numerous camera and lens combinations, but you may still need to calibrate your own. Prizmo can function without this calibration process, but investing five minutes calibrating your camera gives you better results.
The calibration process and the OCR interface are the only places where you may need to refer to the downloadable user guide. Both interfaces are reasonably easy and convenient, but because of their streamlined nature, a little explanation goes a long way.
Easy Does ItOther than a quick 2-minute read-up on the OCR interface, Prizmo’s interface is quick, easy and intuitive. The OCR itself is the crowning jewel for this little program, but amateur photo-buffs can also use it to process non-text images with standard photo-processing tools like contrast, saturation, and sharpness. These same tools make rendering text documents easily legible, with or without the OCR, quick and easy. Prizmo may not take the place of professional photo-processing software, but its “super-spy” ability to turn a digital camera into a scanner or copier is invaluable in an archive or business setting, bringing together loose ends we didn’t even know existed.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor