Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

[again] Digital cameras advice


#1

I’m looking for a digital camera for shooting my work. Any advice?
I’m also looking for a new mac compatible scanner.


#2

My husband does digital photo restoration, and he has tried several
brands of scanners and found that Microtek does the best quality
scans by far. It’s compatible with Macs.


#3

Susan,

You cannot go wrong with the newest Canon Rebel plus either a Canon
100 mm Macro lens or the Sigma 105 mm macro lens, if you are serious
about good images.

But…a knowledge of proper lighting is paramount. the best camera
in the world can’t make a good image of a poorly lit subject.

Other less expensive solutions are available, but there ARE some
general guidelines…here’s an excerpt pertaining to digital
camera choices from my CD “Jewelry Photography Made Easy”. I hope it
is of some use to you…

The choice of camera is not trivial, but I want to emphasize it
is not the camera that makes a "good" or "poor" image, it is the
lighting environment. Just like a setting bur, torch tip or
polishing buff, a camera should be chosen for the task at hand.
A camera well suited to the task is a joy to use. It makes the
job easy and the results predictable. Often, the camera that is
fine for everyday snapshots may be the one you wish to press into
service here, but for the demanding tasks we are engaging, it may
disappoint, frustrate and not produce the desired results. Get
the right tool, it's worth it. 

Camera Considerations 

For photographing jewelry and other small objects, here are the
options a camera should have: 

1. The camera must have the ability to focus close enough so
that the image in the viewfinder screen is at least one-half of
the screen height. Additionally, it must do so without getting
so close to the object that light from the camera direction is
blocked. Generally, we will need to be at least 6-8 inches away
from the subject to avoid serious lighting problems. 

2. The camera must have the ability to function in a fully
manual mode, i.e., you should be able to independently adjust the
aperture and the shutter speed. Many digital cameras in the less
expensive range lack this feature, although many also include
it. 

3. The camera must allow a choice of white balance options or
have the ability to take images in RAW mode. White balancing is
one of those necessary chores we often avoid, with unhappy
result. A camera capable of recording images in RAW format makes
worrying about white balance a thing of the past. White balancing
is not necessary in RAW mode; we can use any light source and not
have to concern ourselves with setting white balance. In
addition, use of RAW mode opens up the possibility of much nicer
images. RAW capture is becoming a common feature, look for it.
It's not necessary, but nice. 

4. The camera should have either a self-timer for delayed
exposure or be able to accept a manual or remote shutter release
device. Any of those features are a real help when it comes to
vibrationfree images. No matter how gentle you may think you are,
it is nearly impossible to use your finger to release the shutter
without introducing some form of camera movement. This slight
movement may not be noticeable in informal snapshots, but in
close-up or macro photography it is painfully obvious. Using the
self-timer to release the shutter is often the best and easiest
choice. A camera capable of producing a 3-4 mega pixel image is
more than adequate for full frame prints up to 8x10 inches or for
images that will be used on the web. More pixels help if you are
cropping the image substantially or need very high quality
prints. The standard today seems to be about 6-10 mega pixels,
easily sufficient for our needs. 

There are many fine camera choices at any given time. Complete
non-biased reviews of almost all cameras and related equipment
can be found at www.steves-digicams.com or www.dpreview.com. Just
about every digital camera ever available is fully described at
those sites. In addition, you will find discussion groups and a
great number of links to other photography-related sites, both
equipment and technique related. I very strongly recommend that
you consider purchasing a D-SLR, which is a digital camera with
interchangeable lenses. The ability to use a true macro lens or
extension tubes with a normal or zoom lens is a tremendous aid to
getting better images. Not only are the lenses optically
excellent, but these cameras allow a comfortable working
distance between the lens and the subject, something that can
make like much easier in close-up photography. Also, the digital
sensors used in the SLR style of camera are considerably larger
than the sensors in the smaller, fixed lens models. The larger
sensor provides a finer image although the difference may not
always be noticeable until we get to the printing stage. 

The field is always changing, but cameras from Canon, Nikon,
Sony, Pentax, Samsung, Fuji, and Olympus are all solid pieces of
equipment. 

D-SLR's operate very similarly to 35 mm cameras, and even the
simplest ones today offer a very impressive range of features for
the money. If you are considering creating finer images for
magazine advertising, or glossy brochures or flyers, the range
of features of the D-SLR's should really be considered. A camera
like the excellent and top-selling Canon Rebel xTi with a very
fine Sigma 105 mm macro lens, ideal for jewelry (and portrait)
work is available for about $1200 as of this writing (Summer,
2007). 

I have no connection with any camera or lens manufacturer and
receive no reward or remuneration from anyone for my
recommendations here, but I have been using the Canon Rebel xT
for over two years and I am very impressed with the
features/price ratio. It has been replaced by the even better
xTi. Canon has almost half the market share of digital cameras,
and the Rebel has been the top seller in D-SLR's since its
inception. I recommend it highly. 

Wayne Emery