Digital imaging of black and white photomicrographs: Impact of file size

Norman J. Barker, Marianna Zahurak, Jean L. Olson, Tibor Nadasdy, Lorraine C. Racusen, Ralph H. Hruban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The publication of black and white photomicrographs has a long tradition in pathology. High-resolution film and quality objectives have been the backbone of generating quality photomicrographs suitable for publication. However, the digital imaging revolution has changed the way we view and capture images. As the quality of image capture devices increases and as their price decreases, more and more investigators are using digital imaging, and the use of color digital imaging for teleconferencing, telediagnosis, and reproduction is now well established. The purpose of this study was to determine the file sizes needed to obtain publication-quality black and white images using digital imaging technology. In this study, four experts in renal pathology reviewed 70 black and white images of various file sizes obtained from specimens representing a variety of renal histopathology. Without knowledge of the file size, the four renal pathologists graded the degree of pixelation, and the overall diagnostic and publication quality of the images. In all cases, digital imaging was capable of obtaining publication quality images equal to those achieved using film. The file size needed to achieve publication quality black and white images depended on magnification, with lower magnification images requiring larger file sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1411-1416
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998


  • Digital imaging Photomicrographs
  • File size

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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