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September-October 2010

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Flat Specimen Photography Using a Flatbed Scanner

Mineral photography has become dramatically easier and cheaper for the average hobbyist with the advent of digital cameras. As with other digital devices, cameras have followed a trajectory of steadily improving performance versus cost. Many collectors who might not own a high-end digital camera have a flatbed scanner for their computer, and as pointed out by Wilson (2003), this unglamorous instrument can take surprisingly good specimen photographs. The upside is that the scanner and all the necessary software are already there to capture images, and in most cases the scanner has far greater capability than most users realize or need.

Robert J. Lauf is a materials scientist who recently retired after twenty-three years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; he is now a registered patent agent and technology consultant. He has written six mineral books, all published by Schiffer Books.

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