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WIREs Forensic Sci

Empirical comparison of DSLRs and smartphone cameras for latent prints photography

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Abstract Law enforcement agencies take extreme caution when it comes to the selection of the image acquisition devices for evidence photography. For example, there was a large gap between when the digital camera was invented and when it became popularly used, and when it was adopted by law enforcement agencies to capture images for the documentation of crime scenes and physical evidence. Similarly, although smartphones are commonly used for taking photos and are gradually replacing digital cameras to become the mostly used photography devices, using smartphones for evidence photography is still uncommon among law enforcement agencies. In this article, we discuss a particular use scenario of smartphone photography, that is, using a smartphone to capture images of latent fingerprints. To collect experimental data, images of fingerprints were taken by a standard digital SLR camera and a smartphone camera. The numerical values representing the fingerprint qualities of these two sets of images were then generated by a Biometric SDK software. From the comparison of the quantitative image quality results, we concluded that no statistically significant difference was found between the two image acquisition devices. Our experimental data shed light on the perspective of adopting smartphones as competent devices for the purpose of latent fingerprint photography at a crime scene. This article is categorized under: Digital and Multimedia Science > Mobile Forensics Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks Digital and Multimedia Science > Forensic Visualization Crime Scene Investigation > Crime Scene Examination
One set of three fingerprint evidences deposited by a volunteer donor
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Mean, standard deviation, and t‐test result for liftcard and superglue latent fingerprints of Sample 1, Sample 2, and Sample 3. Top table includes Photographer C's DSLR photo, bottom table does not
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Pairwise matching score of photos of Sample 3 rolled print
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Pairwise matching score of photos of Sample 2 rolled print
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Pairwise matching score of photos of Sample 1 rolled print
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Average scores of rolled fingerprints of Sample 1, Sample 2, and Sample 3 by smartphone and DSLR
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Fingerprint image quality scores by fingerprint evaluation software VeriFinger. (a–d) are the four photographers taking photos of three sample latent prints (S1, S2, and S3)
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Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > Crime Scene Examination
Digital and Multimedia Science > Forensic Visualization
Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks
Digital and Multimedia Science > Mobile Forensics

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