Re: gross photography setups

From:Roger Moretz <>

A couple of comments.  IF you have the budget, look at
the digital cameras that utilize the IEEE 1344
(Firewire) connections.  We have a SONY 1350 (I think
that's the model--not near any of it right now) and
the data transfer is nearly instantaneous.  The macro
mode of the lens permits gross photography without
adaptors.  The camera has a white balance mode that
permits use of fluorescent room light with minimal
tonal distortion.  What we miss most is a right angle
adaptor for the view lens, but the LCD can be used,
even in bright room light.  Sony uses what they call a
memorystick rather than Smartmedia or CompactFlash
cards (and they aren't cheap).
NIH Image is available from Scion Corporation -- free to academic
institutions, but for a fee to commercial enterprises.
You also need to consider what you will use for your
image database (your digital image files).  There are
a number of commercial programs available, some of
which are quite reasonable.  Think about what you need
to have (in terms of information to identify each
image) and make sure any program is flexible enough to
meet your needs.  If you want to _really_ get thorough
about ensuring your data's integrity, check the FDA's
regulations for validation, etc.  Yeesh!  We are using
ImageCentral from Advanced Imaging (Princeton,
NJ)--not a plug--just a comment.  I use ULead's
product at home, and it is adequate for my personal
needs.  I am having a Medicare moment on the names of
other programs/vendors.
As far as CD vs DVD--DVD writers are very expensive,
and the media isn't all that cheap.  And, if you are
following the type of archiving required under Chapter
11 (for FDA), each data disk has to have at least two
(and maybe 3--another Medicare moment here) copies
made.  So, for now, CDs are probably the way to go. 
Also, even the newest digital cameras (including our
Sony) are only about 3MB images, so a 700MB CD will
hold a fair number of images.  If you use Adaptec's
Easy CD Creator software, you can start a disc with a
few images and add to the CD (up to capacity, of
course) as you go along.
Enough rambling.  Hope this helps.

NB  All opinions expressed are my own. I have no
financial interest in any of the companies
mentioned--I only mentioned them because I use the
products and find them satisfactory.
--- Jeffrey S Crews <> wrote:
> Random thoughts from my digital gross photo
> experience:
> Any small copy stand will do, and really is a must.
> The small ones will
> fit inside a fume hood, too, although you may have
> to saw off a bit of
> platform or post.
> I strongly recommend getting a camera with a
> threaded lens ring on it.
> This allows you to screw on extra closeup lenses if
> you need to. Tiffen
> makes them in a variety of diameters to fit just
> about any threaded ring.
> The camera should also have a "macro" setting.
> Autofocus often does not
> work in "macro," so you may need to establish a
> standard height for
> taking your photos. 
> A remote shutter button is nice, especially if
> you're in a hood.
> You shouldn't need to worry about a flash for this
> setup, since the
> camera will be mounted. Standard copy stand lights
> should work.
> Running the camera off of a laptop really isn't
> necessary once you get
> your settings worked out. 
> Media and uploading: uploading images through a
> serial port takes
> FOREVER. Make sure the camera can upload to the
> computer via USB, or via
> a removeable flash memory card. Most of them are
> CompactFlash format, for
> which you can get a card reader to attach to your
> serial port. Some are
> Smartmedia. The advantage of Smartmedia is that
> there is a floppy-disc
> sized adapter that allows you to dump pics into your
> computer via the
> floppy drive. This means you can upload to any
> computer on which you've
> installed the floppy reader drivers. I've tried this
> and it works well.
> Models:
> For a cheap setup I used a Kodak DC120, which worked
> fine. For
> somewhatbetter quality I used an Olympus DL600. This
> was a few years ago,
> so I'm sure there are other models out now. 
> There are also "purpose-built" systems out for this
> application, but make
> sure you demo them thoroughly first to make sure
> they're worth the money.
> I was doing it on the cheap, so I didn't try those.
> I'm sure some vendors
> will be contacting you, so if you have the bucks one
> of these systems
> will probably be easier.
> As for software, whatever comes with the camera
> works for uploading and
> saving to various formats. For adding captions,
> cropping, etc., there are
> many, many digital image programs available. I doubt
> you will need the
> level of function of Photo$hop.  
> If you need to do morphometric analysis, NIH has a
> very good and free
> program for this, but it only works on Macs. 
> And finally, you WILL need a storage and archival
> system for these
> images. Don't just leave them on your harddrive, and
> if I were you I
> wouldn't rely just on the backups made by your IT
> group, either. Digging
> around in archival tapes is a pain. Get a CD writer,
> at least. CD's are
> less volatile than magnetic media.
> If you have any particular questions, you can email
> me directly.
> Jeffrey Crews, HTL (ASCP)
> On Wed, 11 Jul 2001 11:37:16 -0500 "Horn, Hazel V"
> <> writes:
> >Hi all,
> >We are looking for a new gross photography set up. 
>  Digital camera,
> >software, camera stand.....etc.    Can anyone help
> us out with 
> >brands,
> >suggestions.
> >Vendors are welcome to reply to me personally.
> >Thanks,
> >Hazel
> >
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