J, my life companion, is an accomplished pastel artist, and wanted to put some of her artwork into a competition.
Pre-Covid, this would have meant selecting a picture or two, getting them framed, driving somewhere, and watching someone from the exhibition team put them on the wall.
This year, of course, everything is different. Pictures are photographed, and the images uploaded to the exhibition website, where they are loaded into some gallery software.
Now, what was interesting about this process is that the exhibition organisers said to use a digital SLR for the images, not a mobile phone because of the image quality.
Now, J's artworks are normally something between A4 and A3 in size (that's because that's the sizes specialist paper for pastel work comes in), and for archival purposes she takes a picture with her iPhone, which has an 8 Megapixel camera, and archives them in iCloud, using what I'll call iPhoto (it's actually called Photos these days).
Apart from iPhoto's tendency to produce smaller than expected jpegs on export this works well as a process
Internally, Photos uses the newer High Efficiency Image File Format rather than one of the other more standard formats to achieve an efficient use of resources using lossless compression.
As always, we can argue about compression, image formats and archiving, but using HEIF is no more at risk of introducing compression artefacts than anything else, and may even be better as it is claimed to be lossless.
Professionally though, most people use cameras for archiving work rather than mobile phones.
We've all seen pictures of archivists using digital SLR's mounted vertically on a stand to take images of old photographs, and obviously when you don't know the exact size of the image and want a high quality image this makes sense.
But the question is what is good enough?
Well my little experiment using a photoscanning app on a phone has convinced me that a phone produces a good enough image, even if the OCR's result of the text would need a little work:
and there was report in Nature this morning (which I retweeted) about a group of scientists using the Covid hiatus to scan old lab notebooks