Obtaining digital images of color brightfield microscopy is an important aspect of biomedical research and the clinical practice of diagnostic pathology. Although the field of digital pathology has had tremendous advances in whole-slide imaging systems, little effort has been directed toward standardizing color brightfield digital imaging to maintain image-to-image consistency and tonal linearity. Using a single camera and microscope to obtain digital images of three stains, we show that microscope and camera systems inherently produce image-to-image variation. Moreover, we demonstrate that post-processing with a widely used raster graphics editor software program does not completely correct for session-to-session inconsistency. We introduce a reliable method for creating consistent images with a hardware/software solution (ChromaCal™; Datacolor Inc., NJ) along with its features for creating color standardization, preserving linear tonal levels, providing automated white balancing and setting automated brightness to consistent levels. The resulting image consistency using this method will also streamline mean density and morphometry measurements, as images are easily segmented and single thresholds can be used. We suggest that this is a superior method for color brightfield imaging, which can be used for quantification and can be readily incorporated into workflows.
- color brightfield
- image consistency