BetterLight Scanners

The differences between a BetterLight® fine art scanner and a SLR digital camera are like DAY AND NIGHT!

Both professional and consumer grade digital cameras average clumps of neighboring Red, Green, and Blue pixels to derive a single pixel color as shown in the images below.

However, BetterLight® Scanner technology provides a precise individual Red, Green, and Blue measurement of each pixel location within the scanned image. This is possible because of the dynamic capturing method that is employed by the BetterLight® Scanner, as explained below.

BetterLight® Scanners

allow every pixel location to remain individually sharp and pure by capturing your art image with unbroken paths of Red, Green, and Blue pixels.

BetterLight's tri linear sensor has three unbroken strips of light sensitive diodes (they are photo diodes, but you often hear people speak of them as pixels) that move across the camera's focal plane like a scanner. Each strip of diodes has either a red, a green, or a blue filter covering the strip.

Each precise pixel location of the art's image is first scanned by a red-filtered diode; then, in that exact pixel location on the art's image, it is scanned by a green diode; then, again in that exact location, a blue diode.

The red, green, and blue values for that one pixel location are averaged, providing an accurate RGB color value for that precise pixel location.

The diagram below illustrates the pixel paths of a tri linear sensor as it moves along the camera's focal plane inside the camera body.

The software recognizes exactly where the tri-linear sensor is located during its travel. It also knows the exact location of each red, green, and blue diode along the sensor path.

As a red-filtered diode passes a precise pixel location along the focal plane, the software remembers the intensity of the light falling on the red diode, and adds to that the following green and blue-filtered diodes which pass over that same exact pixel location.

Then, for that precise pixel-size location, the intensities of the three RGB colors are added together to provide a highly accurate color value for that precise pixel location.

This results in a sharper image and greatly enhances the possibility of achieving extremely accurate colors.

And, for our BetterLight® scanner, the software can take those measurements over 384 million times during a single scan.

Compare that to some of the best digital studio cameras that only measure 64 million locations (a 64 megapixel camera) but still loses clarity and color information because of its particular averaging method, as explained below in the next section: STUDIO DIGITAL CAMERAS.

If you are ready to create gallery or museum grade giclee prints, BetterLight® is the wise choice.

If you need an on-location scan of your flat art or sculpture (because you can't transport it, or you are concerned about transporting it) then the portability and superb image capture of the BetterLight® scanner is the superb choice.

Must Average Your Pixel Information.
As a Result you lose a sharp focus

Why must a digital camera average its pixels into clumps?

Because the red, green, and blue pixels are stationary. The pixels do not move to each spot on the art like a BetterLight Scanner. Here is why:

Unlike the BetterLight Scanner, professional and consumer digital cameras have a chip (see the example to the left) that sits behind the lens to capture the light when the shutter snaps open. This shutter opening allows light to fall on the camera's CCD (or CMOS) sensor. The sensors are packed with light sensitive diodes (photo diodes, or loosely: pixels) which record light intensity.

Currently, for professionals, the sensors on the chips vary between 12 megapixel to 64 megapixel. Remember, our BetterLight® scanner has 384 megapixels.

Because the red, green, and blue diodes are not stacked on top of each other, the camera's computer must average them as groups of neighboring diodes.

Simulated CCD or CMOS sensor magnified thousands of times:

When the camera's processor blends pixels to derive a single spot of color, each pixel looses its individual color identity. Each pixel becomes blurred as it is averaged with its neighbors.

This results in tens-of-thousands of microscopic blurs that become very noticeable when magnified to the dimensions of a wall-hanging photograph. What is detected is an overall softness within the image—especially obvious as the image size is increased or when it is compared to the same picture taken with 8x10 large format film or a Betterlight® Scanner.

Notice in the picture above. The red photocells have large gaps between them because of the neighboring blue and green cells.

As an example, a picture of a "red" object only activates the red pixels, "green" only activates the green pixels, etc. The rest is all "made up" to fill in the gaps caused by the green and blue diodes that are blocking the "red" light. (The industry's term is pixel "interpolation" because "made up" is not good advertising lingo).

The relatively large number of green diodes overwhelms a photograph when green colors are present within the picture. Therefore, manufacturers program the camera's computer to tone-down the green channel so that a "normal" and satisfying picture can be derived.

Without pixel interpolation, the pixel gaps remain as black holes in your photograph.

The CCD or CMOS's circuitry also adds black holes to the formula:

The filtered photo diodes are separated from each other even further to allow for the electronic circuitry that connects the diodes to the camera computer. The naked eye can not see it. But when those black spaces are magnified thousands of times to create a printed picture, suddenly it looks like you took a photo through black lattice.

To hide the open circuitry areas and the diodes that are creating black holes, the camera's software "interpolates" the data—essentially, make up—what it believes the color of light might be for those black holes: it creates a best-guessed color based on the camera's engineering team's pre-programmed scenarios.

Those scenarios are made available through the use use of a symbol-embedded rotary dial on the camera. The photographer select's the symbol that best matches the shooting conditions. This helps the computer to make a better guess. For general photography, I use the dial all the time. It is an ingenious invention. But for fine art reproduction, it has noticeable limitations.

Digital cameras have thousands of useful purposes, but for gallery grade fine art, it is not the most desirable:

If digital cameras are being used for studio and general photography, they are an acceptable and efficient capturing method; but with fine art reproduction, digital cameras make it harder (if, somewhat impossible) to recreate an art image that contains the sharp, color-accurate detail required by galleries, museums, and collectors.

Don't settle for inferior digital camera shots or small film-size image captures.

If you are ready to create gallery grade prints, Legacy Fine Art Printers, and BetterLight® scanning are the wise choices.