Why Choose Better Light?
High-Performance Digital Scanning Back Technology
Photograph by Chris Zsarnay
Photo by
Chris Zarney
Photograph by John Bateman
Photo by
John Bateman
Photograph by Steve Cole
Photo by
Steve Cole
Photograph by Robert Brewster
Photo by
Robert Brewster
"Scanning backs" use a CCD sensor with a single row of pixels (sensing elements) that is physically moved (scanned) across the image area, capturing one row of image information at a time.  Actually, our CCDs use three rows of pixels, with a red, green, or blue filter on each row, to capture color images in a single scan (one-pass scanning).  In Better Light scanning backs, a precision step motor and drive screw system is used to move the CCD across the image plane.

Each row's exposure is set using "normal" shutter speeds (between 1/8 and 1/240 of a second), but the overall scan time is the product of the exposure time per row multiplied by the number of rows (lines) in the scan.  Since these backs can produce images with up to 15,990 lines, overall exposures are typically measured in minutes.  Exposures of this duration make photography of people or other subjects that are in motion difficult and not recommended for dedicated applications. However, many photographers consider the trade-off for extraordinary resolution and detail well worth the effort. Others use the unique capture chacteristics of the scanning back as a means for creative expression.

Even with these long overall scan times, any motion during the scan is not blurred in the typical photographic sense, but instead is recorded as a series of "time slices", with each line of the image crisply exposed.  Depending on its direction and severity, motion appears as stretched or compressed subjects, colored streaks, wiggly lines, and/or multiple color-separated images. (See the article on photographing waves for more information.)

The combination of high-resolution large files, extraordinary detail and superb control of color and tones, the Better Light scanning backs have been the camera of choice for a wide variety of advertising, commercial, architectural, reproduction and archival applications.

The Many Advantages of a Better Light Digital Scanning Back:

Six models available from 56 megapixels to 416 megapixels
Capture more critical detail with file sizes to 549 MB (1.1GB 48bit)
  High resolution files for output of large prints or film
  Select the file size that is best for the project
  Use any 4x5 camera and standard focal length lenses
  Compose and focus normally on the ground glass
  All swings and tilt movements can be used
  What you see on the monitor you get in the digital file
  Clients can approve the job right on the monitor
  Deliver the job faster — no processing or separations
  Saves film, processing and scanning charges
  Equipment pays for itself in material savings alone
  Creates new billable digital support services
  Photographer is now in center of production cycle
  Saves time; less steps; more control

And most important:
The Better Light Scanning Back is a unique technology in digital capture...

Click here to learn more about large format digital capture