A testing procedure was designed for characterizing both the color and spatial image quality of trichromatic digital cameras, which are used to photograph paintings in cultural heritage institutions for the purpose of creating archival quality digital master images. The testing procedure was target-based, thus providing objective measures of quality. The majority of the testing procedure followed current standards from national and international organizations such as ANSI, ISO, and IEC. The procedure was tested in the Munsell Color Science Laboratory, an academic research laboratory, as well as used to benchmark four representative American museum’s digital-camera systems and workflows. The four museums were chosen because they were early adopters of digital-image archiving. The nine quality parameters tested included system spatial non-uniformity, tone reproduction, color reproduction inaccuracy, noise, dynamic range, spatial cross-talk, spatial frequency response, color-channel registration, and depth of field. In addition to the characterization testing, two paintings were imaged and processed through each museum’s normal digital workflow. The results of the four case studies showed many dissimilarities among the digital-camera systems and workflows, which caused a significant range in the archival quality of their digital masters. These differences point out the need for standardization of digital imaging in American museums, libraries, and other cultural-heritage institutions.
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
IS&T's 2005 Archiving Conference (2005) 85-89
RIT – Main Campus