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This section was created so you can have answers to the most common queries about micrographics.
If you have a question, please let us know.

Why should I use microfilm? Can I use imaging for long-term archival records?

Microfilm is still the best media for storing critical information that needs to be kept for legal and archival purposes – and cost effective.Information stored on a computer system is dependent on technology. New technologies are continually upgrading at an ever accelerating change. Often in a matter of a few short years today’s technology is obsolete. Are you confident your records will still be readable in 25 years? Think of the changes over the last 15 years. Can you still use an 8-inch floppy or 12 -inch optical disk? What will it cost or can you even be guaranteed you can migrate all your legacy data across as you upgrade your system? If disaster struck (i.e. a server failure, lightning strike, computer virus, etc.) how long could you manage until new systems are installed or repaired? Could it ever happen to you?

Microfilm is a unique backup medium because it can be read by the eye, and like paper can be viewed by anyone with a light source and magnifier. Today’s technology makes it possible to easily digitize information from your microfilm for viewing and convenient distribution over networks, fax equipment, etc. We carry some of the latest film scanners and digitizers at prices you can afford.

What is the difference between COM, Landscape, Portrait and Source images?

If your image is wider than it is high, the image is Landscape or COM.
COM film sample               16mm film - landscape sample
Example of COM image          16mm film – landscape

If your image is taller than it is wide, the image is Portrait or Source.
Example of Source image                   16mm film - potrait sample
Example of Source image      16mm film – portrait

Is my film negative or positive? Does it make any difference?

Negative film has images with clear print on a dark background.
Sample of negative film microfiche

Positive film has images with dark print on a clear background.
Sample of microfiche postive film
The digital microfilm scanners we sell will reverse the image either on the PC or on the printed or saved copy. Most microfilm reader printers have negative printers (they reverse the image on negative film to a positive copy). If you have positive film, or both types, you will need a bi-mode reader printer (so that your positive film will print out as a positive copy and not a negative).

What are the different types of microform media?

Sample 16/35mm roll film16mm film     Example of ANSI Cartridge Film Cartridge
Roll film is a 16mm or 35mm wide length of film placed in reels or cartridges.

Example of microfiche                 Example of microfiche jacket
Microfiche is a Sheet of                  Microfilm jackets look
microfilm containing multiple       similar to fiche but have
images. The 4″x6″ format              multiple sleeves made to
is standard.                                      hold cut strips of roll film.
Jumbo fiche is 7″x9″                       Oversized jackets are
5″x8″ format
Example of aperture card
Aperture Cards are 3-1/4″ x 7-3/8″ with a hole to mount or insert a chip of microfilm.
Aperture cards typically contain an engineering drawing.

What is the difference between Cine and Comic, Simplex and Duplex modes?

Example of Comic mode (Simplex) Images
Comic mode (Simplex) Images are lined up side by side.
Simplex is common in lower reduction ratios like 24X

Example of Cine mode (Simplex) Single line of images
Cine mode (Simplex) Single line of images is continuous

Example of Duplex mode (Cine) Front and back of documents appear side by side
Duplex mode (Cine) Front and back of documents appear side by side
Duplex is common in higher reductions like 40X and 50X because the reduction is high enough to fit both front and back next to each other on 16mm roll film.

What is background density? What is resolution?

Background density is the degree of opacity or darkness of the background on negative film. Density is measured with a densitometer. In most cases documents should measure between 0.9 and 1.2 density depending on the original.

Resolution is the ability to capture fine detail or sharpness (focus) of an image on processed film. To determine the number of lines of resolution examine a microfilmed resolution chart under a microscope and determine the smallest pattern in which the lines can be distinguished both vertically and horizontally. Multiply the pattern number by the filmed reduction ratio to determine your resolution. For example: if your camera is 40X and the smallest pattern you can read is 3.2, your resolution is 128 lines per millimeter (40 x 3.2 = 128). Check your camera manufacturers specification sheet to determine if you are meeting or exceeding the minimum specifications.

faq-home_resolution chartTypical Resolution Chart