want comments on phosphorimagers: Molec.Dynamics vs BioRad

Tom Vasicek tvasicek at watson.princeton.edu
Thu Feb 8 15:57:11 EST 1996

In article <4f8si0$3ge at elaine28.Stanford.EDU>, blakely at leland.Stanford.EDU
(Bruce Thomas Blakely) wrote:

> Our department is looking at phosphorimagers and I would be interested
> in opinions on why we should or should not buy a particular brand.

I recently posted a note about our frustration with our department's  old
Molecular Dynamics system.  I mentioned that I liked a BioRad demo that I
had seen, but I admit that I have no idea what sort of record BioRad has. 

The new MD Storm system sounds great and it fixes all of the problems we
have with the old system.  I have used MD phosphorimagers and
densitometers for >10 years and have found MD to be a good company.  

In response to my posting, I recieved the following message from the MD
guy.  I also got a phone call from the company and a visit from a sales
rep.   I hope folks don't mind my forwarding a note that originated at a
company -- it most concisely answers the questions at hand.  

     In light of Dr. Vasicek's comments I must explain that the original 
     PhosphorImager systems introduced by Molecular Dynamics in 1989 had 
     20MHz Compaq 386 systems hardwired into the instrument. They could 
     display images using 8 levels of gray or 16 colors.  By today's 
     standard they were infuriatingly slow, but these computers were among 
     the best of their day.  The ImageQuant software for instrument control 
     and image analysis was available for the built-in PC systems only.  
     A while back Molecular Dynamics made all of our PhosphorImager, 
     densitometer, and FluorImager systems SCSI peripheral devices, so now 
     our customers can use the fastest Macintosh and PC systems available 
     rather than a hardwired internal system.  The ImageQuant software has 
     been completely re-written to take advantage of the 32-bit Windows NT 
     operating system and Macintosh.  The customer interface is menu and 
     pushbutton-driven, like popular image processing packages such as 
     Adobe Photoshop.  
     Our latest storage phosphor autoradiography system, introduced last 
     year, is called Storm.  It offers 50Ê resolution scanning and reads 
     fluorescent and chemifluorescent gels and blots as well as 
     radioisotope-generated images so you can use it for both radioactive 
     and nonradioactive imaging and analysis.  
     There are more than 1,000 Molecular Dynamics PhosphorImager systems 
     installed in life science research laboratories worldwide.  Molecular 
     Dynamics PhosphorImager systems are commonly cited in papers published in 
     Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Biochemistry, Cell and 
     other journals.
Thomas J. Vasicek, Ph.D.                         tvasicek at watson.princeton.edu
Department of Molecular Biology                              FAX:    609/258-3345
Princeton University                                                Phone:  609/258-2899 
Princeton, New Jersey  08544                                                                          

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