• colour CCD camera;
  • colour film;
  • digital imaging;
  • resolution;
  • micrographs;
  • histopathology;
  • light microscopy


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine if micrographs produced with a colour charged couple device (CCD) camera were comparable in quality to micrographs obtained with a 35-mm colour film camera. The Axiocam (Zeiss, Jena, Germany) CCD camera produced images of 3900 × 3090 pixels.

Methods: Each picture in a series of 50 pairs of film and digital micrographs was rated independently by each of three observers on the categories of colour, detail and overall impression. A total of 28 of the 50 pairs of micrographs were discarded due to colour differences.

Results: Digital micrographs were rated lower on colour and higher on detail compared to film micrographs. The film and digital micrographs were rated equally on overall impression. The difference in colour between film and digital micrographs can be compensated for using image processing software on the digital image. However, such manipulation was not carried out as part of the present study. The study originally included 50 digital micrographs and 50 film micrographs. The micrographs were paired and 22 of the 50 pairs of micrographs were assessed. Thus 28 pairs were not evaluated due to colour differences in the non-manipulated pictures. The interobserver difference on colour in the remaining 22 pairs given as mean square ± standard error of the mean was − 0.27 ± 0.10, 0.62 ± 0.10 and 0.90 ± 0.11. The interobserver difference on detail was − 0.48 ± 0.10, 0.95 ± 0.10 and 1.43 ± 0.10. The interobserver difference on overall impression was − 0.70 ± 0.10, 0.57 ± 0.10 and 1.27 ± 0.10. All the results differed significantly (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Digital micrographs are sufficient in detail, colour and overall impression to replace the traditional 35-mm film recordings for use in histopathology.