Whether you are looking to move out of the darkroom and invest in your first digital imaging system or if you are looking to replace an old system, it is important to purchase the right equipment that will adapt with your research.
Before making a decision consider the following points to help you select the perfect imaging system for your laboratory.
Users commonly look at the sensor resolution of the camera when evaluating gel documentation imaging systems. However, it is just not all about resolution. Dynamic range, sensitivity and camera lens all affect how good a camera is. The higher the resolution of the camera is, will enable you to see fine detail in your images making it easier to distinguish close bands on your gel or blot.
A wide dynamic range allows you to see both your strong and weak bands on the same blot. If your strong bands saturate, you will be unable to quantify your data, therefore, make sure you pick an imaging system with a good dynamic range.
When looking at lenses you need to consider the F stop. Smaller F stops are especially important for chemiluminescence as smaller F stops let more light into the sensor and can drastically reduce exposure times.
Short on bench space? Then maximise your space and budget with an imaging system that is versatile and capable of imaging a wide range of applications in one system.
Choose a system that is upgradeable with multiple light sources compatible with the commonly commercially available dyes and stains. Ensure you have selected the right light source for your application. Use Hi LEDs for multiplexing RGB and IR fluorescent blots and gels, UV transilluminator for DNA/RNA gels, visible light converter screen for Coomassie blue and silver stained protein gels and blue converter screen for imaging ‘safe’ dyes.
Ease of use
Whichever system you choose, you want a system that is intuitive and can be used by everyone without training. Getting publication quality images should not be complicated. GeneSys image capture software from Syngene makes imaging gels and western blots simple by using system protocols – just place your sample in the darkroom, position your sample and click the capture button for high quality images.
Implementing a gel imaging system eliminates the chemical waste associated with film processing. Select a system that uses LEDs as they are environmentally friendly.