Those logbooks which have been (and will be) acquired after the filming will have to be scanned. An example of the quality of those scans is here is given, for comparison to the digitized film (which is legible, but far less true to the original in image quality). This is the first opening of the log of the Osceola (of New Bedford, Otis F. Hamblin, Master), which set sail for the Pacific in January 1859. Interestingly, Hamblin had just finished a three-year voyage to the Pacific as the Mate on board the Sea Queen (of Westport, James Houghton, Master), and spent barely six months ashore.
In the late 1960s the bulk of our whaling logs (about 650 volumes) were microfilmed, very fortunately for us. Those microfilms have now been digitized, and will soon be available through some sort of portal on the web. The first two images are examples of how these will look online (“4” is simply the fourth logbook shot in the series, and the second image is the first opening of the log). Note that the film includes a shot (under the number designation) of the card file entry for the logbook, which is a nice inclusion of “metadata,” as we library professionals term it (or, as we old-school librarians call it, “cataloging”).