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Digital photos in court.
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Digital photos in court.

Greetings All,

I cannot help responding to this comment posted by Luke.

These questions about digital photos being more or less admissible in court has long since been settled:

The United States Federal Rules of Evidence recognize digital photos as fully acceptable.

The Federal Rules are in Article X (10), Rules 1001 to 1007. These rules of evidence basically state (among other
things) that:

* Digital images are to be treated
in the same way that other forms of
visual evidence are treated:

* Digital images are presumed to
be accurate representations of what
they purport to be;

* Any accurate representation is
considered to be an original.

If you want to read more about the admissibility of digital images in court... there is a nice article published in Imaging Forensics by George Reis.


It's DONE. No more arguements about the admissibility of digital photo please... You might as well be talking about gramophones and steam engines. We have moved beyond that question several years ago...

Furthermore... I will say that: MOST law enforcement agencies in the US have long since adopted digital photography as the NORM. Film has become the exception and most law enforcement agencies are not using dark rooms on a regular basis any more.

The common misconception that the public has about digital photography vs film is that they think digital images are somehow more easily manipulated than film negatives. This misconception completely overlooks the obvious fact that the physical evidence on the scene is even MORE easy to manipulate. You can always move pieces of evidence on the scene BEFORE you take the picture. You can paint blood on the walls and drag the body to a different corner of the room and THEN take the photo. In the end... It all boils down to the credibility of the detectives on scene and the chain of custody of images. (Digital or film.) The final question is: Does the photo fairly and accurately represent what the detectives saw on the scene saw that day?

If you think film is somehow more reliable than digital imagery I suggest you go to your local movie theater and watch any movie with special effects. I remember watching Jurassic Park on FILM and seeing dinosaurs running around eating people. (I am pretty sure that did not really happen.) In todays world film can easily be manipulated too. Film scanners and film recorders are inexpensive and plentiful.

Even if you do still believe that film is somehow better for recording evidence than digital cameras... Good Luck. Like it or not... Film cameras, labs and even film is rapidly going away. Most of the major manufacturers of film cameras such as Nikon and Canon have announced slowing down production of film based products. Kodak has drastically cut back on film production. It will not be long before film cameras are simply not economically feasible to support any more. (Sorry to see it go...)

Ultimately it's not the negative or the digital file that get's questioned... It is the claims being made by the law enforcement officials on scene. Most of the time... The pictures are just visual aids. Not proof. Remember: It's easier to plant a gun in the victim's hand than it is to attempt to retouch the photo.

As for the appropriate use of Panoscan cameras for Law Enforcement applications... I will just say that no law enforcement agency has ever purchased a Panoscan system without trying it first. (These agencies are not just looking on our web site and pushing the "buy now" button.) Most agencies that are looking into a system like the Panoscan have already used a digital camera to stitch images. Many agencies actually take a real Panoscan camera onto a real scene and test it before making a decision. The decision to purchase our camera system is based on practical field trials. No Panoscan customer has ever requested a refund nor complained after the sale that our product was mis-represented in any way.

I cannot get into specifics about how each particular agency is using our camera. (And there are now hundreds.) But I can say that most are using the camera on a regular basis and they are getting convictions in real courts all over the world. Panoscan has cameras being used for law enforcement applications in the US, Korea, Australia, China, The Netherlands and more every day...


Ted Chavalas

Panoscan Inc.

Message: 4
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2008 03:30:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Luke wonderly
Subject: Re: Panoscan and Police Depts.
To: email@hidden

I wouldn't want to bet, or risk MY life on ANY kind of digital photographic evidence.

ANY (including Panoscan) proprietary program can be hacked, and manipulated
right down to sub pixel level. It just leaves too MUCH room for DOUBT.

And yes, I AGREE - police need much more help in our real world
than a Panoscan camera.

My own city where I live (Bakersfield CA) purchased one - but they really don't
need it . . . . they just shoot everybody to death . . . . all the time.

Just had to pipe in.

No Wu-wei                         on this.

Kindest regards,


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