Application Note: Importance of Color Reproduction in Scientific Images
6 November 2015

Through our eyes, seeing is not always believing. Under different lighting conditions, we tend to see the same objects as having the same color. For example, an apple will appear red whether it is lit by daylight or candlelight and a white sheet of paper will be perceived as being white regardless of the light source. This is something that we do subconsciously and is known as ‘color constancy’ or ‘chromatic adaptation’. Our eyes receive light via two photoreceptors: cones and rods. The visual cortex processes this information and color constancy allows our brains to recognize objects regardless of lighting conditions. However, when it comes to viewing microscopic specimens with a monitor or capturing microscopy images with a camera, the colors we perceive down the eyepieces will differ to those viewed on the screen or captured by the camera. This guide will cover the importance of color reproduction, color correction by camera sensors and factors affecting color reproduction.