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Digital Cameras Part 1


#1

In response to many requests, herewith some of the replies to my
request for info on the digital cameras. J

AGMAN425@aol.com The best camera I have ever seen is the nikon 950
digital camera. I have the 900 series and doctors in this area are
buying it to do photography of the pores of skin . You can bring the
camera in to about 1 " away from the item being photographed. It is
pricy , but well worth it. It also has the capability of taking
pictures in almost total darkness… with a good photo program, you
can bring the items into almost clear view.It also has settings that
allow you to take good pictures under fluorescent lights as well.
Daniel

“Nathalie Thomson” opals@icon.net hello john, all i can say is
sony mavica fd88 right out of the box…see our website many mavica
pics www.australianopals.com and some closeups of rings we make
everyday, can get 1 inch from subject and focus…it has worked well
for us…mpeg has uses for rotating images during design phases for
our many internet clients…good luck…jeff

john watkins jewlrjon@jetlink.net

Hi John, I use a Sony Mavica the way to go. Heres a link to a site
devoted to Mavicas the people there know a lot more about the cameras
than I do. Hope this helps. http://mavican.nu/

Jess4203@aol.com I can’t offer much guidance except to comment that
the Mavica is recommended by some and the Nikon Coolpix 950 and
whatever Nikon has superceded it has also been highly touted when the
subject turns to photography here.

“Christopher L. Johnston” chris@johnston.com.na Sony mavica sx 70
middle quality, two year old technology. There is a accessory doubling
lense that is available that I have ordered that will allow for higher
resolution close-ups which is good for what I do.

Peter Burgess PBurgess@ihug.co.nz I have been talking to David, he
still reckons that by far teh best value is Kodak. He suggests that
you have a look at their web site http://www.kodak.com/ and follow the
links to products/digital cameras, but here is another page
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/digital/cameras/DCSGateway.jhtml

“Robert E. Williams” mytbob@home.com I ended up buying a Canon S20
mainly because it fits easily in my shirt pocket. If it fits in my
pocket, I’ll take it everywhere and won’t miss many shots. But of
course, photography is one of my hobbies and most people are not
interested in taking a camera everywhere with them.

Most of your needs can be met by several cameras including the S20.
The difficult spec. is going to be compatibility with a microscope. I
know the Nikon 990 has microscope adapters available, but it costs
about $900-950 USD. http://www.dpreview.com/

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

http://www.steves-digicams.com/

http://www.pcphotoreview.com/

CTE7@aol.com I often take photographs of antique sterling pieces which
involves close-ups of marks and details. In addition, I have taken
pictures of jewelry - - in both cases my camera has been exceptional
at getting the necessary 'closeness" and handling different types of
light. I use the Sony Mavica 14x. While this model has the movie
ability which you don’t need; I am sure Sony makes one without that
movie option. I would stay with at least 14x because the quality
really starts to suffer on close-up details if you go below 10 - -
anything less and you are shooting yourself in the foot to save a few
dollars. I have used both 10x and 14x - - the difference is
noticable.

I can store approximately 23 pictures on one disk. By the way, a
camera which uses floppies is the best. Do Not get one which
requires the cable connection, etc. They are just a headache.

Jess4203@aol.com I have an older model of the camera you’re looking
at. It’s the Sony Mavica FD7 (or something close to that). You may be
able to pick one up used (someone upgraded) or close-out, and it would
save you some cash. The floppy disk storage is extremely convenient,
but takes ~10 seconds to write the file after capturing the image. Not
great when your toddler is sitting on a pony and you want to get a few
shots! ;)This model has a 10X zoom (unlike the “5” model), and I get a
lot of use out of that for recreational shooting. I also find that I
do take a lot more pictures since it’s essentially free, and I can
dispose of undesirable images. It does very well with the macro shots,
but you want to be sure to zoom all the way out before moving the
camera up to the subject. You can get so close that the camera itself
blocks the light source! I have loved the camera for my jewelry work
and Web site stuff. I don’t knowthat it will ever fully replace the
conventional family camera, though. One of the newer mega-pixel
cameras might, but the one I have meets the objectives for which I
bought it. He reckons that the prices are lots cheeper than Sony and
the quality is better - I have read simmilar comments in Photo Mags.

“Dave Sebaste” davesebaste@carolina.rr.com I have an older model of
the camera you’re looking at. It’s the Sony Mavica FD7 (or something
close to that). You may be able to pick one up used (someone upgraded)
or close-out, and it would save you some cash. The floppydisk storage
is extremely convenient, but takes ~10 seconds to write the file after
capturing the image. Not great when your toddler is sitting on a pony
and you want to get a few shots! :wink: This model has a 10X zoom (unlike
the “5” model), and I get a lot of use out of that for recreational
shooting. I also find that I do take a lot more pictures since it’s
essentially free, and I can dispose of undesirable images. It does
very well with the macro shots, but you want to be sure to zoom all
the way out before moving the camera up to the subject. You can get so
close that the camera itself blocks the light source! I have loved the
camera for my jewelry work and Web site stuff. I don’t know that it
will ever fully replace the conventional family camera, though. One of
the newer mega-pixel cameras might, but the one I have meets the
objectives for which I bought it. Oh, another thought… on the model
I have, the flash is VERY bright. If you are too close to the subject
it will completely wash out. I find that I have to back way off the
subject (especially in a dark situation) and zoom in. I assume newer
models have improved on this. There are about six different preset
exposure settings, and none of them do great in true low light
situations.

rickhyer@ix.netcom.com John, have you discovered the website cnet.com?
They tend to have fairly frank and thorough reviews. There’s also a
site: slashdot.com which calls itself “news for nerds” and to which
you could post your question. It is extraordinarily candid and
amusing to read.

Aufin@aol.com It seems to me that the Sony Mavica MVCD73 may fill most
of my needs,… Works for me.

metalart@mediaone.net> I have been using an Olympus 450D Zoom Camedia
and love it. It is easy tooperate, feels like a camera and has a 3x
zoom which allows me to get nose hairs off an ant. The problem with
the Mavica, is that with the close focus configuration, you will just
about eat an entire disk. I have an 8mb card which can go up to a 32
mb card. The Camedia does not eat batteries. I have a recharger. The
cons are with the way the camera closes. I had to send the camera back
because it got stuck in the open configuration. However, customer
service was great. They serviced my camera in a timely manner and
were easy to communicate with.

			**** "Katherine Palochak" <kpalchk@trib.com> John, digital cameras

have really improved a lot since I purchased mine. I can’t advise you
on the best current ones, but I can give you some valuable general
Olympus and Kodak still remain the best DCs for color
saturation, trueness of color, clarity, availability of manual
settings and accessories like filters and lenses. You really need to
do side-by-side comparisons of actual pictures taken with the same
subject and light. There are places on the web where this can be done.
I suggest starting with ZDnet or PC computer magazine. There is also a
print magazine called Digital Photo As far as storage goes, don’t
get the Sony’s with the floppy disks. Sounds good, but it’s not. Sony
uses proprietary compression to get the pictures to fit onto a floppy.
To get a good 5" x 7" print, you need at least 1.2 MB for each
picture. Sony’s compression is a type of JPEG format. When it does
this, you no longer have the option of enhancing digitally. You can’t
dodge and burn, airbrush or anything else without it becoming blurry
or pixellated. I have a friend who did go with the Sony. She just
can’t get the colors like my obsolete camera, and she can’t digitally
enhance it. Also, hard print was less than spectacular. You want to
get a camera that does not do proprietary compression, has the ability
to take pictures in a TIFF format, so you can do whatever you need to
do in a digital imaging program, and then you can compress it to
whatever you need. What is available for storage are flash cards,
memory sticks and CD-RW’s. Think of these as digital film which you
use over and over. If cards or sticks, go for a BUS transfer rather
than a serial. Much faster download times. If your camera takes 1MB
pictures, then you need a 10MB capacity for 10 pictures. Low light
levels don’t use as much memory. If your camera takes 3MB pictures,
that same 10MB card will only take 3 pictures, maybe 4 if you’re
lucky. The new CD-RW cameras coming out on the market use either the
small 70MB disks, or the larger 650MB disks. Of course the ones
requiring the larger disks have a larger camera footprint than the
ones using the smaller disks, easily a double handful, so it’s not
real easy to hold a butterfly in one hand while you shoot with the
other.

			**** "Margaret Malm" <kadok@redrock.net> I was just going through

the May-June issue of PC Photo, and someone wrote in and asked about
the Sony Mavica FD 88 – which is, I know, a different model – which
he was interested in because of its floppy disk – which would be the
same. The answer was: “While this was a viable storage method when
digital image files were smaller, it’s really limiting today. The
slowness of the floppy and its confined storage capability really
limit a digital camera’s capabilities. With a card reader, you can
easily use any of the storage media available today, faster and just
as easily as a floppy. Just as you wouldn’t buy a particular new car
because it’s able to use a set of tires you already have, I wouldn’t
recommend letting storage be the deciding factor for choosing a
camera.” With digital cameras, the optical zoom means your image is
enlarged before it gets to the sensor, so image quality is at its
maximum. A digital zoom, on the other hand, is performed in the
camera’s electronics after the image is on the sensor. The camera
starts cropping what it sees on the sensor, decreasing the resolution
and quality of the image. …if you use a digital zoom to zoom to a 2X
view, … the camera will only be using half of the image…the other
half will be discarded." [and thus you will only have half the
resolution when you view it at the normal size image.]

“whitewolf” whitewolf@lolopeak.com I do not know if you conquered
the Nikon Cool Pix mid price range or not but I have been very happy
with mine! Compact flash is available in many meg sizes so down
loading is not a problem.

Jimmy Eriksson greenrock@qwest.net I thought I would tell you about
what I have. It is a Ricoh RDC-5000, that I bought about a year ago
on recommendation of a customer who said it was great. I wanted it
just for taking pictures of jewelry. I do mostly one of a kind pieces,
and wanted better pictures than I get from my 35mm Nikon SLR. At first
I did not like it at all, it was hard to figure out had lots of
setting and the pictures were terrible. Then I figured I need a
small light box (made from a plastic box for lapidary grinding that I
bought at the Tucson show for $25.) I cut the front away with a band
saw and being that it is hard white plastic, I can set in a ring and
get a great shot with just a light behind it (60 watt bulb). Only
takes a few minutes to set it up and works great. I have it set to
take 55 shot at a time and download it directly to the computer with a
cord. A floppies is also available, but do not have the need. I paid
just under $600. for it and am now really happy with it. I

“jwilling” jwilling@oznet.ksu.edu I’ve been using a Sony Mavica and
have found it to be easy to use, gives good photo quality on
close-ups, but distance photos seem somewhat less well focused. The
best thing is that it uses floppys which can be easily used by any
computer with the software. One thing you didn’t mention is the
power requirements. The Sony I’ve used has a rechargable battery.
That’s a good thing, but I’d suggest getting a back-up as well,
because when the power goes, it’s dead!

Karl and Janet Kofoed kkofoed2@home.com One of the the best
resources I’ve found in researching digital cameras is the
"comparometer" found at
http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM The site enables
you to compare all the brands and models of digital camera, using the
same images. Sample images given include a house, people outdoors and
indoors, a macro sample, and a test box with colors etc. Also specs
for all the cameras. Very, very helpful.

“Cynthia Wiig” ocean@hawaii.rr.com We are extremely happy with our
Olympus c3000z and the price had dropped this pastsummer. It ended up
being about $1000 US total - including battery charger, extra cards
that hold the images - the quick transfer reader deal to the computer

  • and other extras - UV lens protector. Hmmm - camera bag and a few
    more goodies too, I think. It is a fairly simple camera to operate -
    and the batteries work pretty long. Let me see if i can find the
    website from previous Orchid posts where I did a lot of my research
    before settling on this camera. http://www.imaging-resource.com/ No
    one on Orchid mentioned the Olympus - but I always liked their cameras
    and my neighbor who is in advertising has this camera and he felt it
    would hold it’s own with all the technology updates that happen
    continuously. In other words - the resolution was plenty high enough
    for a long term application.

Steven Brixner brixner@att.net John - You might want to check out
this web site that does comparisons of digital cameras.
http://www.megapixel.net. They were a help to me when I was in the
market for a camera earlier this year. Steve.

John McLaughlin jemstone@amug.org

I have been using a Nikon 950. This was a more expensive camera
until recently, but it has now been replaced by the Nikon 990. The
950 is still for sale in many places at a substantial reduction in
price. I don’t know if the camera will mate to your microscope. The
macro ability of the 950 is excellent, down to an inch or less. One
problem with the 950 is that using the camera in macro mode eliminates
the ability to use the camera’s timer. One must chose between macro
and the timing mechanism because they are controlled by the same
button. Since there are no threads to receive a shutter release cord
on the shutter button, taking a picture in macro mode without moving
the camera slightly was a problem. I now have a clever adapter which
holds the camera and has a mount for a shutter release cable. I would
be somewhat wary of the Sony floppy disc camera. The floppy discs
hold relatively little storage. However, floppy discs are cheap and
you can carry a large number of discs or take photos at low
resolutions. Most digital cameras accept small memory cards. I have
a 32MB card for the 950. While I do have the cabling needed to load
the images onto the computer, I purchased a card reader for $50 US.
The reader makes the transfer quickly, pretty much like a hard disc.
That may be in part because I have the USB attachments on my computer.
My biggest complaint about the Nikon 950 is that the camera is far
smarter than I am. The amount of time I had to spend learning how to
use it was about the same as one would spend learning to use a
sophisticated software program. The time needed is partly because of
the vast number of features, most of which are accessed from a menu
which appears on the tiny TV screen on the back of the camera.
Because the little screen uses batteries at a rapid clip, I found that
another $50 US for a voltage converter from Nikon was essential.

PART 2 IS ALMOST AS LARGE! CHEERS,
– John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ