Secrets of direct digitizing

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Mon Sep 29 10:18:54 EDT 1997

Pierre Zagatti wrote:

>Now we have approx. 500 _photographic_ images in this database (including
>the Geometridae and Amphipyrinae not yet available on the net),
>and we expect more than 1200 soon.

Great stuff!

[technical details omitted]

>Costs (approx. from prices in French francs without taxes,
>on the basis of 1 US$ = 6 FF).
>Camera: 7500 $
>Digitizing Card + software: 1400 $
>A digital photo camera with interchanging lenses is more expensive
>(12 000 $ for the Kodak DCS 420 with Nikon F90 body), but gives larger
>images: 1524 x 1012 pixels.
>The digitizing devices without interchanging lenses (photo or video)
>are considerably cheaper but difficult to use in Entomology.
>The main advantage of video (against flatbed scanning of prints) is the
>immediate evaluation -and correction- of the result, in terms of
>focusing, shadows and general color balance. The main problem relies
>on the obligatory computer (or professional recorder) link. If you visit
>a museum and want to take pictures of the type specimens hosted, you
>must use photography.

As I commented to Ken Philip at one point, it looks more like the main
problem is COST. You're describing a complete system that requires about
$10,000 - given that the cost of taking slides (even if you take several
per specimen to ensure good focusing, shadows, and color balance) and
scanning them is around $1.50 per finished image, you'd need to take
something like 7,000 images before you'd be just breaking even on the
purchase of the system (and you won't have the original slides in hand,
either, if something happens to your files). I have no idea what your final
number is going to be for this project - do you think you'll eventually get
your money's worth?
Just curious as to the economics of such high-tech investments,


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 031-448-1223, fax: 031-44-5481  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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