Digital cameras for photographing projects

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Paul Chapman

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Not sure if this should go in General Woodworking or Off Topic, but here goes....

I would welcome views and advice on digital cameras for photographing woodworking projects. I have been an active photographer for about 40 years but all my work has been done with conventional black & white film, using Nikon manual and mechanical cameras, and processed myself.

I have an aversion to most things electronic and which depend on batteries and I hate the delay you get with most digital cameras - by the time the shutter fires the subject has gone :evil:

However, in order to participate fully in forums such as these, I will have to drag myself into the digital age so that I can post some snaps of WIP and finished projects - and at least most woodworking projects don't move about much, so the shutter delay won't be a problem.

I'd therefore be grateful for any advice you can offer. I've had a good look at the sort of work you guys have been posting and it looks great (the woodwork and the photographs :) so any advice on the most suitable digital cameras for photographing projects would be very welcome.

Paul
 

ike

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I hate the delay you get with most digital cameras - by the time the shutter fires the subject has gone

They are getting a lot better now. I believe Casio's can be particularly fast in this respect.

I'm no expert but FWIW, I rate Canon compacts as very good in respect of optical quality. Many models use glass lenses where plastic is the norm. I've used the IXUS 430, A70, A95 and 520 models. They all give great results - good resolution and colour.

If you're averse to operating computers or electrikery gadgets in general but want to get beautiful prints with absolutely minimal effort, I recommend the Canon ip6600D printer very highly indeed. A stonking good deal here

Ike
 

gidon

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Paul

Luckily for posting images on forums you don't need much resolution. If buying a camera solely for taking pics of progress shots and completed projects these are some of the things I would look for:

  • Lens well concealed when switched off;
    Decent flash (you probably won't always want to use a tripod - personally (so far) I never do for WIP shots);
    Good low noise performance - some cheap cameras give awful performance in low light and even low light flash shots (my shed camera for example!);
    In the same vein, focus assist lamp would be an advantage for those dark hard to see / focus on places;
    Some manual features would be handy, for example: manual white balance, ISO minimum;
    Decent lens (go for a known name).
If you specify a price you want to pay we may be able to give you some recommendations. If you've not had a look at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews may be worth doing so.

Cheers

Gidon
 

AndyG

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Just a warning. We bought an olympus camera as a present over Christmas, and it had to go back. The camera itself was actually really nice, but the software was awful. I'm guessing they bundle the same software with all their cameras, so it might be worth avoiding olympus completely.

If you're looking for something just for woodwork pictures, I'd suggest something cheap. If it's going to be in a workshop, it's most likely to get dusty and scratched.
Andy
 

devonwoody

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I've had a fuji S5000 for over three years now Fantastic.
Has a web camera as well.
Plus a video facility.(with sound recording)
10x optical zoom = 30 to 300mm lens plus a 22x digital lens which I cant fault at the price paid.
Same set of batteries .
possibly 20.000 pictures taken so far.
But would not use the camera for sports or moving subject use as you say.

Keep your Nikon and go digital for digital subjects such as web & record use.

Mine cost around £350 at the time but the later models (watch spec.) are less.
 

SketchUp Guru

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One thing to consider when buying a camera to take photographs of things(furniture, jewelry boxes, etc) is how the lens performs at the wide angle end of the range. Some lenses tend to exhibit a fair amount of distortion which can cause straight lines to appear curved. Since the macro setting is at the wide angle end of the range, this can be especially disappointing when trying to photograph details.

I have a Sony F828 which is very nice. the zoom range is the equivalent of 28-200mm and it is an 8Mp camera. It works well for the primary purpose of taking people and scenery picutres. It isn't so good for photographing stuff with straight lines, close up, though.

I would suggest that you look at a site called DP Review http://dpreview.com/ . Figure out your price range and look at the reviews of the cameras in that range. The in depth reviews show examples of the images as well as details about the camera. There will be comparisons of other cameras in the price range to give you a little choice.

Good luck.
 

CYC

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I use a Canon Ixus 400 and it's never given me a bad picture. It's just a brilliant piece and very compact.
I recommand Canon all the way.
 

RogerS

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Paul

I have an Olympus digital camera that has reasonable resolution. Certainly perfect for woodworking pictures. You are very welcome to try it out and if you like it...keep it and give a small donation to a charity of your choice.

Cheers

Roger
 

elsa

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If you only want a digital camera for posting images on the web (and you want to continue with 35mm film for everything else) then maybe a scanner is a better and cheaper option.

That way, you still photograph and process the way you've been doing for years (and probably the way you prefer). A half decent scanner will cost around £50


If you're thinking of ditching 35mm film altogether then I'd go for a digital SLR. The Nikon D50 is around £450 and you may be able to use your old Nikon lenses.

I have the Canon EOS300D digital SLR. It's fantastic. Everything you'd want from a 35mm SLR (including no focussing delay) and with high resolution.
 

RogerS

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Paul

I close friend of mine is a professional photographer and I do respect her opinions when it comes to photography. She hates digital SLRs as they are still not fast enough for her as a professional.

Some of her (rather excellent but then I'm biased :D ) work is here http://www.katemagson.com/
 

devonwoody

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I would forget the scanner route, with a digital camera your picture is available for web use after a few seconds and with manipulations can be available minutes later.
Nikon most probably hs no webcam or video, but might be wrong.
 

Adam

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I choose a Nikon Coolpix 5400 (long out of date) based on its much wider angle than most (at the expense of some zoom). However if you are using it indoors for photographing projects I'd suggest max zoom can be ignored. The other feature I looked for was macro - the Nikon went down to 1cm so great for very detailed closeups.

I've also found having a flip out screen helps - when you are trying to be "in the shot" it helps that you can see how you sill appear in the shot.

I've found Nikons software to be just fine. I think this is a part many people forget.

I'd been a Canon SLR user prior to going digital so spent some time reviewing before making a purchase.

I'd highly recommend spending enough to get some of the features you come to know and use on a manual - e.g. apeture / speed settings, ISO adjustement etc. I've found on a number of occasions (e.g. photographing a stream/river) I've needed to slow the shutter speed to get the desired effect.

Adam
 

Paul Chapman

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Hi everyone,

I'm really grateful for all those helpful replies - this forum really works :!: :D

Looking at what you all had to say, it seems that I might be able to achieve what I want by keeping it simple.

Ian, yes I have still got all my Nikon stuff and lenses (28, 50, 100 & 200 mm) and did wonder about the possibility of getting a Nikon digital SLR body and using my existing lenses. But from what you all say, I might be able to achieve what I want from a simpler camera - after all I only plan to use digital for stuff to put on the internet and I would rather spend my money on woodworking tools than overly exotic digital camera equipment. For other photography I would rather stick to my old fashioned manual cameras and film.

Roger, what an offer :D I would be very happy indeed to take you up on that and give a donation to charity. I will send you a private message about your very kind offer.

Once again, thank you all for your very helpful replies.

Paul
 

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