Equipment Purchases and Setup (Jan/Feb 2015)
Our current imaging work is with a Sinar 33MP camera system. The Sinar system takes excellent photographs, but is difficult to use and prone to crashes. We have chosen new equipment and a custom configured system to accomplish the goals for this project. The information provided by Joanna McCaffrey on the iDigBio web site has been helpful as a start in selecting the equipment: iDigBio Imaging Equipment Recommendations. Advice from other herbaria with equipment in use has also been invaluable.
- Camera: Nikon D810 36MP digital SLR camera (body). This camera will create higher resolution images than we currently acquire with our Sinar system.
- AC Power Adapters for the Nikon D810: Nikon EH-5B AC Adapter (requires EP-5B); Nikon EP-5B Power Supply Connector.
- Camera and Imaging Software: Nikon Camera Control 2; Adobe Creative Suite (Lightroom and Photoshop); Adobe DNG Converter.
- Camera Lens: Sigma 50 2.8 EX DG MAC F/Nikon AF-D USA. This lens works with the Photo e-Box and has a field of view that closely matches the herbarium specimen.
- Miscellaneous supplies: microfiber cloth for lens cleaning, gaffer tape, Jobu Design dual axis bubble level.
- Copy Stand: We are using our existing Bencher Copymate II stand. We removed the daylight florescent lights and stored them because we are using the Photo e-Box with LED lights (below). The iDigBio guide lists other copy stand options.
- Photo e-Box: model 1419, NYBG modified, Photo-e-Box from OR Technologies.
- Barcodes: The UF Herbarium uses custom barcodes printed by Computype, Inc.: Digitek DC1551 (P236 – Adhesive, L107 .5 mil clear matte laminate, B274 polypropylene base material). Other barcode vendors include Watson Label Products.
- Barcode Reader: needed to read barcodes which are used for file naming when imaging.
- The Photo e-Box has a white base. We prefer a black magnetic base so that we can see the edge of the sheets and use magnets to secure uneven specimens. One of our volunteers, Steve Stevens, covered a magnetic board and rulers with black vinyl. These were cut to fit the box so we have two edges to align the specimens against.
- The Photo e-Box tends to slide on the copy stand. Our volunteer made a board with raised edges and a not skip bottom to place the Photo e-Box on.
- White magnets are used to flatten loose or bent areas of sheets. We tried white magnets purchased from K&J Magnetics. Unfortunately, they are neodymium magnets and much too strong and hazardous to use. Regular magnetic disks that are 1/2″ or 3/4″ in diameter may covered with white stickers and used.
- Magnetic Rulers are used along the edge of the specimen image. We purchase 6″/15cm black magnetic rulers, A-6206M from Arrowhead Forensics. 2″/5cm rulers are also available.
- Color calibration/separation and white balance guide. There are a wide variety available:
Tiffen Color Separation Guide with Grey Scale, 8″ Size, #Q-13: useful to use as a border along the side of herbarium sheets.
Digital Transitions ColorGauge Nano Target: this guide is postage stamp size (9/16″ x 13/16″) and very durable. It is expensive (ca. $200), but given how easy it is to fit in an image, we have settled on using it as have quite a few other herbaria.
X-Rite Mini ColorChecker Card P/N 50111: 2 1/4″ X 3 1/4″: useful to place in bare areas on herbarium sheets. This was the standard guide used by most institutions for the Global Plants Initiative project. This guide may have been discontinued? It doesn’t seem to be available. Perhaps, the CameraTrax 24 ColorCard 2X3 with 12% white balance will work ok?
Configuration of the camera and software is detailed in the Camera Configuration page.