Scanners for autorads- responses

Dennis J. Templeton djt2 at po.CWRU.Edu
Tue Oct 29 09:23:58 EST 1991

Update on scanners for autorads.

I posted a request for information regarding how to scan x-ray film to
compose figures for slides and publictations, and while a lot of folks
wanted to know what I found out, only a few had concrete suggestions.  I
will post the informative ones here.  
I also trucked on down to the local computer shop, film in hand and tried
out a regular flatbed scanner (a Microtek G600 I think , 600 dpi with 256
gray shades) and the output was very good as judged by a graphics
monitor... I would have liked to send the image out to a lino place to see
how it looks on RC paper.  There was a rathger high baseline gray (from the
clear parts of the film, like the background from a Xerox) but this could
be toned away, and the faint bands were still visible.  I was impressed.
This result matches some of the suggestions below, using lower resolution
scanners.  Other modern scanners may be just as good.  The CCD- based
devices might be ok- but too bulky for my junk-strewn office!
The Microtek is going for $1200 and includes Adobe Photoshop.  The color
scanner is a couple of hundred bucks more, and might not be as good as the
gray scale for this purpose.  I'm off to buy it. 

Other postings:

From: rms at acsu.buffalo.edu (Robert M. Straubinger)

I just bought an HP Scanjet Plus, which I run off a mac. I test-drove
it by scanning in Scanning EM images, and they exceeded (greatly)
previous results using a CCD camera (maybe I should have anticipated 
that). At high mag, where you can see the pixels, you can see some
errors, such as a run of several pixels that obviously are wrong (ie
far different from neighbors). However, the images stand 4x magnification
        The scanjet is 8 bit/300 dpi max. From a local distributor
I paid about $1.1K (scanner about $800 and interface about $300.
For comparison, Apple's scanner is 6-bit, but I suspect their software
smooths or interpolates.
        Final note re. software, the HP software is easy, mac-ish, and
adaquate. However, it's fragile under sys7 (plenty of crashes with their
'paint' program.
        I bought this because I intended to try it on gels.
Send me a film and I'll send you a scan. I suspect best results might come
froma (contact?) print of the autorad, but haven't really checked this out.

Bob Straubinger
SUNY Buffalo

From: RAY at leicester.ac.uk ("Raymond Dalgleish, Genetics")

I have had some success scanning autorads using a Truvel TZ-3BWC scanner.
The scanner is a CCD camera on rails mounted above the image to be scanned.
The image is lit from above and a white sheet is placed behind the autorad.
It's connected to a MAC IIx with 16 Mb RAM via a SCSI interface. It comes
with it's own software which seems adequate for image capture but is not as
good as some others for image editing. I've no idea how much such a set-up
would cost as it belongs to our computer centre. Probably somewhere in the
range of 5000-10000 pounds but the results are stunning. It is capable of
going up to 900 dpi.

Hope that this is of some help.

Raymond Dalgleish,
Department of Genetics,
University of Leicester,

From: BROE at aardvark.ucs.uoknor.edu (Bruce Roe)

If you find any answers to this question, please post them to the
net.  I've tried the Apple Flatbed scanner and it works for sequencing
gels but only for the regions that are in the bottom 2/3 's where
the bands are crisper and well separated.  Never tried to make
slides or photos from the captured image but did print a reasonable
copy on the Laserwriter.  However, it was not the quality I'd
submit for publication, although it was sharper than a direct
zerox of the autoradiogram.

-- Bruce Roe
        broe at aardvark.usc.uoknor.edu

From: olds at helix.nih.gov (James Olds)

I have tried this for tissue section autorads and it is not satisfactory.
We currently use a ccd/lightbox--framegrabber
James L. Olds Ph.D.                 Neural Systems Section               *
* domain: olds at helix.nih.gov           NINDS,
neuro1 at sys.ife.ethz.ch ("J.P.Magyar")
we had the same problem and the solution for us was the following:

Scanner: Microtek color/gray scanner MS 300Z
Scanner software: Image Studio 1.7 (Graphic Design Software/ Letraset)
                  Color Studio
Dia graphic software: PowerPoint
Dia enlightment:Lasergraphics LFR plus
Dia enlightment software: MacRascoIQ (Lasergraphics Inc. / 20 Ada/
                                      Irvine CA 92718
                                      714 / 727 26 51)
The autorads/pictures can be scanned at max. 300 dpi but this needs
a lot of disc place (Bernouli disc drive recommanded).

I think I don't need to say that the computer is Macintosh...
All you need is money...
Hope it helps


Josef Peter Magyar
Swiss Fed.Inst. of Tech.
Neuro1 at sys.ife.ethz.ch

From: rdkeys at unity.ncsu.edu

Try backing up you film with a white background sheet........

rdkeys at unity.ncsu.edu

From: SEAN at petvax.medcor.mcgill.ca ("Sean Marrett, Brain Imaging, M.N.I, -
Why not do the normal digitising thing ?.
Folks here use the MCID system, from
Peter Ram's company (Imaging Technologies) in Peterborough 
very happily. 


From: Fergus_Doherty at vme.ccc.nottingham.ac.uk

I am investigating this question for scanning gels and autorads into
Macs. A company by the name of IMC modify Microtek scanners to provide 
a trans illumination option.  These scanners are sold with X-ray film 
scanning in mind. The alternative is perhaps a solid state (CCD) camera, 
light box and frame grabber card. Actually with the price of these 
cameras getting very reasonable that is probably cheaper. Image, the 
freeware package for the Mac is designed to work with such a setup.
The US version of the IMC scanner (probably made there) is the 6c 
OmniMedia, from XRS, 4030 Spencer Street, Torrance, California, 90503.
213.214.1900, FAX 213.214.1474.  If you receive any more info on the 
net perhaps you could summarize and post to the net, or at least me!
I am also looking out for Mac software that provides the whole 
panoply of gel scanning features, e.g. quantition (preferably whole 
band), molecular weight, comparison, so any news of something like that 
would be useful.
Fergus Doherty, Biochemistry, Nottingham University, UK.

Hope this is informative

djt2 at po.cwru.edu

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