If a picture is worth a thousand words what is a thousand pictures worth?
I have always taken heaps of photos, I'm sure I take no less nor more now than I did with film. It comes down to the time it takes. However the size of the data base has mushroomed due to resolution increases of cameras.
The Australian experience with the change over makes a good story. The Police complained to Canon that the digital SLR cameras were not as good as film SLRs and that their staff were spending too much time on Photoshop fixing the photos taken. Canon went back to the film labs and found that they had being doing a similar thing because of the poor photos taken with film and after retaining the staff the problem was solved. This is not a dig at the Aussies as I know that they are very good at what they do and are very professional and well trained staff, I make the point that unfortunately it is perceived that going digital answers all the problems, it can also create some problems however these are solvable.
Why would you want to print a fingerprint at original size and then use a magnifying glass to enlarge it, that's weird, use the technology and print it 3 times larger or what ever and only use the magnifier when looking at the old inked prisoner form or lifts. Then you are getting the best out of the technology, most printers will cope better doing it that way.
What do you think would happen if the Image on the screen is shown at original size then magnified with a magnifier, a print on graph paper that's what, so why would you do that? Digital is a different way of operating in some resects. Using the technology at its best makes sense. Just because 'this is the way we have always done it' does not make it necessarily better. It is a matter of getting use to something different.
I remember a day as a trainee sitting at a cabinet of alphabetical index cards looking up Henry to write on the prisoner's prints and being totally bored, I asked my supervisor why it was not on a computer data base? The response almost floored me. 'We don't need any computers in this office, this system works far better than any computer! When about 2 years later we went to a computer data base we also went from 5 staff doing index searches to 1 staff member and instead of taking all day it took 3/4 of a day. So hands up anyone who would love to go back to doing index cards.
Printers, if you are after the best you have to pay hugh money for chemical printers, look at some of those glossy magizines, and the paper they are printing on. You can't expect that level of reproduction using a B&W laser printer printing to photocopier paper, even a $200 inkjet printing on glossy paper will struggle with what some maybe expecting.
A commercial printing firm will print at photographic quality from a DVD at a very affordable cost so if that is a possiblity think along those lines on those odd times it's required.
Josh said, 'I think Steve E. hit the nail on the head; we can use the old technology and supplement with the new technology to make examinations more efficient. I don't think we'll ever see a loss of physical collection (lifts) of latents; it could cause problems later on down the road in a court setting as we may not have the original piece of evidence the latent was photographed on."
I agree with the sentinent though do you really keep the car roof for court that has the offenders prints in the victims blood. No, you use the photo surely. And there is always the issue of chemically enhanced fingerprints dissappearing before they get to court.