best gel imaging system

Chris Wolverton scwolver at owu.edu
Thu May 15 09:53:26 EST 2003


I found all of the "gel documentation" systems on the market to be 
overpriced unless you need to serve a large population of researchers. 
I decided to assemble my own using an off-the-shelf digital camera that 
I could use for lots of other projects. I bought a high-end camera, the 
Canon PowerShot G3, from B & H Photo (www.bhphotovideo.com) for about 
$650. This camera can be fully automatic or fully manual or anywhere in 
between. This is important because you'll need to mess around a little 
with shutter speeds and apertures to get well-exposed images from a UV 
transilluminator. It also has a removable lens hood and a lens adapter, 
which made it simple to mount on an old, plastic "darkroom cone" I 
scavenged.

I plan to buy a wideband bandpass filter for ethidium bromide, but even 
without it, the pictures I've taken are perfectly acceptable after a 
little adjustment. I'm using ImageJ (http://rsb.info.nih.gov/ij/) for 
these adjustments, an open source image analysis package written in 
Java and available for all platforms. It used to be called "NIH Image."

So I've got about $700US invested (given that I inherited a 
transilluminator and the darkroom cone), and I don't need a dedicated 
computer to drive the system, I just download the images off the memory 
card onto any computer in the lab. It's flexible and about 1/2 or 1/3 
the price of the systems available now, which I'm convinced are 
overkill for most of us. Let me know if you need more info, I'd be 
happy to help.
__________________________
Chris Wolverton
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Botany-Microbiology
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH  43015

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