Playing with perceptions
New camera captures lifelike images for digital collections
Which is which? The photo above shows a painting on board and an image of that painting captured by the Hasselblad H4D-200MS — the highest resolution camera on the market — purchased by Norwick Center for Digital Services (nCDS) in late January.
It may be difficult to discern the difference in this small photo, but even in a live side-by-side comparison, people mistake the copy for the original two-thirds of the time, reports Rob Walker, director of the digital services arm of Central University Libraries.
Digital coordinator John Milazzo, who handles large-format digitization projects, is currently using the camera to add selected works by artist Jerry Bywaters to the "Texas Artists: Paintings, Sculptures, and Works on Paper" digital collection.
"After only two weeks, we shot twice as many images with the Hasselblad, at a higher quality, than we had been able to shoot with the old system in 18 months," Walker reports. "We predicted that the Hasselblad would improve efficiency while maintaining — or exceeding — the quality standards we have set for this kind of digitization, but I really had to linger over the numbers before it sank in how much we have gained."
Before selecting it, Walker and Milazzo auditioned a number of cameras, but the Hasselblad was the only one able to reproduce images to meet nCDS' exacting standards.
"The idea is to document the item as accurately as possible, so we're fanatics about quality," Walker says. "The 200-megapixel resolution of the Hasselblad is quite breathtaking."
So, which is which? The original painting is on the left.