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Digital cameras Part 2 (Phew!~)


Hi John, I’ve had the Sony Mavica, the Nikon 950 and the Nikon 990
(presently). I’m in love with the 990. It has fantastic resolution,
you can get from 20 to 150 pictures on a 48 Mg card, depending on the
quality you desire. If you don’t want to use a cable, you can carry
separate cards to store pictures in until you get to your computer.
If you have a laptop with a PCMCIA slot, you can plug the memopry card
into a $14 adaptor and it appears as a Hard Drive. Just drag and drop
the pictures to a directory, take s about 15 seconds to download the
whole card. It will fill the screen with a 2 ct stone, sharp enough
to see the inclusions, macro focus to about an inch away, has zoom,
very professional and should give you years of service. I bought mine
from Wolfe Camera (National Chain) and bought a 3 year maint contract
(a MUST). That give me 1 year camera warranty and 3 years more. If
the camera breaks and they done have parts, you get a new camera or
your money back to apply to the camera of your choice. The 950 broke
after a year, they repaired it and send it back. I use cameras more
than the normal bloke. If there is anything else you need , let me
know. I highly recommend Thumbs-Plus from Cerious software to
catalog, compress, and thumbnail your pictures. It has been around
for ages, you can get a share ware version for free to try, and the
whole version is well worth the $79 cost…

Carl-Eric Lindgren Check out the Fuji FinePix
4700 Camera and a Smartmedia card (memory). Great resolution, price is
reasonable, easy to hook up to a mac- (USB showsup as another hard
drive, very easy to access data). May need a tripod for low light
pics. Also easy on batteries- comes with lithium ion. I used this
model for 6 months on a film (movie) shoot . Very nice zoom and macro
feature. Hope this doesn’t add too much confusion on your search.

			**** : riccardo accurso <> I have done

considerable research on digital cameras, but that was over a year ago
and the is undoubtedly dated by now. Even back then,
however, the consensus among those who knew a lot about the technology
was that the Mavica was less than desirable because it was basically
an adaptation of video capture devices, with interlacing as the means
of recording the image. Certainly at this time there will be many
better choices than Mavica at comparable or less cost.

joyfulcrow I read your request for camera
testimony. I had an olympus 620L (think that was it) And I enjoyed it
a lot, very similar to an slr in operation and particularly in
viewfinder, real light image through the lens, and the mega pixel was
really nice for large blowups, but the memory cards are spendy and the
download is a bit time consuming either through the adapter or direct
from the camera. and I never quite figured out a fast way to "proof"
my photos for the ones I wanted to save. SO… I sold it to a close
friend and bought the sony mavica fd91 The floppy capability is VERY
fast and easy for internet stuff and e-mails download and proofing is
a snap. BUT… I wouldn’t trust the somewhat exposed floppy drive to
all the outdoor activity areas I like to frequent, and the inherent
dust therein. I.E. The mountains and the forest and the beach. Perhaps
the thing is more rugged than I give it credit for but I would bet
that the no moving parts card types might be worth the extra trade off
in time needed to download etc. The mavica does have an easier time of
macro work than the olympus, which required close-up lenses to
accomplish what the sony does straight up. I also like the very long
zoom range the sony has. Sony does have some new hybrid version that
does both the floppy and /or memory card shots that is also mega
pixel…which brings me to my biggest complaint about the mavica
–Without the mega pixel technology, it will disappoint you if you
plan to print out in anything larger than 8x10 inch and for that
matter even smaller is noticeably less sharp than a mega pixel
equipped camera. Solution for me, now that I have a thousand dollars
tied up in the thing, keep it, cause its already not worth much as a
re-sale cause its mostly obsolete after only a year (though it still
works great and I DO like it) Well I will get another megapixel camera
for serious photo work in the next year or so, and keep this one for
internet and jewelry work which its fine for. years ago would have
taken three days darkroom work and won a bunch of awards for
innovation.!! My choice was the Nikon Coolpix 950 which I am very
happy with. It’s major advantage from my POV is the ease of use,
especially in the macro mode. The best site I have found for checking
on what’s new is Go to the forum to
see what people are saying and post your own questions. I would suggest posting your question on a
digicam list. Here are a couple of online sites I have visited/read on
the digital subject.

I have other URLs but its late, the eyes are failing, and I think
these are “good” sites, without reviewing them. There are many
opinions as to what a “good” middle of the road camera is. I can’t
really give you one as I haven’t yet made the plunge as the research
is ongoing and I might add that the prices are just now beginning to
fall on megapixel cameras. Very few (if any) have the ability to
store highres images in quantity. Its important that the camera and
the computer input are compatable; the salesmen and whats written on
the box isn’t always as it should be. Many people are buying into a
lot of misso be extremely cautious with your purchase.
Again, I strongly suggest a digital cam list for your questions.
Hate to be so cynical, but I have read many postings where people are
unhappy with their cameras. And don’t forget that they are battery
hogs!. I read from one fella that did a cost out on batteries in a
six month period and he figured that he spent asmuch/more for the
batteries than the initial camera purchase.

			**** "D'Ann and Charlie Troell" <> I think you're

right on track with the Sony Mavica 73. I bought an 83 simply because
it has over a million megapixels—thus it will print out a better
picture–( my homework before buying told me that at least a million
megapixels is necessary for a exceptional printed photo.) I’m a
silversmith (small scale), and my camera does everything I need it to
do and more. I don’t actually know how to use everything on it
because I haven’t had the need to learn more than I’m using it for
right now. I keep photos of designs I make— both printed out and on
my computer. And I can use the e-mail jpg part to zip off photos
without having to print anything out. I raise llamas, and I use the
Mavica alot to send photos of my crias(babies). My understanding is
that Sony has the patent for the Mavica camera for 7 yrs.----thus the
price stays fairly constant, I paid $600 for my Mavica 83 at Best
Buy. I love the camera because it is so simple to use and the quality
of the pictures is outstanding, I think. If I am taking photos for
e-mail (jewelry or animals), I can get up to 30 sometimes (it all
depends on the light how many the camera will take before it says that
the disc is full.) If I am taking photos of jewelry that I plan
toprint out, I can only get 6-8 on a floppy. The beauty of the Sony
Mavica is theease in putting the disc directly into the computer, and
voila ----there are your shots, and there is no need for memory sticks
or extra computer paraphelia. Another neatfeature is the ease in
erasing shots that don’t come out well—you can erase them directly
on the camera before downloading them or you can erase them on the
computer after downloading. I also like the ease in making a
duplicate disc forsomeone— the camera does it for you-- upon
request. As I’ve said, the Mavica is easy to operate, and frankly, I
think it’s the ultimate toy—especially for someone like me. I am no
photo genius, and I can use it quite readily.

“Marty Reynard” Hi there John, thought I could
offer you my input (bias) on digitals. I don’t know what your budget
is but I think you’d do best to select a digital that has a really
good macro–better than 12 inches. I have to say I am biased towards
Nikons–they know digitals and have been producing very high end ones
for journalists way before the current consumer models. I have been
using the 950 for about a year and am still astounded by what this
versatile camera can do. It can get down to about a half cm. to an
object and just has an incredible amount of manual controls (which
you’ll need). Despite having 3 SLRs in the family (including a Canon
AE-1), we’ll probably never go back to film. BTW, the 950 has dropped
significantly since the 990 has appeared, but many of us are still
holding on to the former.

Re: Mavicas…I believe Sony patented the floppy disc format but the
downside is the small file size that floppies hold, and the inferior
lens system. I highly recommend avoiding the whole Mavica line,
personally. If you take the time to critically evaluate Mavica
images, they almost invariably have a kind of grainy video camera type
look, often with “ghosts” along the edges. They simply are no match
for the better consumer digitals. While I’m not a great photographer,
you can look through some of the better shots on my site. They would
have been much better now that I know how to use the camera and play
with light. Also, John, run to the best digital site on the web: run by Phil Askey and have a look at the
sample images. Take your time and buy something that will be really
good even in 5 years. I bought the Nikon and did my site as a kind of
portfolio for gallery shops, and the first order paid for the entire
camera! If you need any other help (or at least opinions) just get in
touch. I’ve attached a shot of an insect’s carapace on a lily pad in
my back pond. Digital photography is nothing short of magical! Best
regards, Marty Reynard **** about a year ago I
posted regarding the Nikon Coolpix 950 we use. I can’t say enough
(positive) about it. It will do all of what you require and more but
am not sure about the microscope coupling (adapter rings are
available for some sizes). I am an objects conservator and my wife
is a jeweler. We use the camera almost every day, sometimes going
through more than one set of batteries… (They ALL use lots of
’juice’, so get a couple sets of NiMH of Li-Ion) I have a couple of
friends who use the Mavica. There is just no comparison in
resolution, speed in operation, macro ability (less than 1") or color
compensation (white balance). File formats include uncompressed
TIFF, JPEG (.jpg), VGA, and XGA Also remember that with a Floppy disk
(Mavica), you are very limited in the file size and/or # of images.
The Nikon uses Compact Flash cards available in 8, 16, 32, 64, 96,
128 Mb sizes On the negative side; I am not happy for the built in
flash but don’t really use it and the tripod mount is too “wimpy”.
There is no provision for a shutter (cable) release. Finally, the
learning curve is more than for the Mavica but only because there are
so many permutations available in it’s use. You can download directly
from the camera (serial cable = slow) or get a card reader (Compact
Flash) which is what we use. The 990 has fairly recently come out and
has about a 50% larger image size (3.34 Megapixels I think vs. 2.11
for the 950) and even more bell and whistles, and is directly USB
YEAR AGO *%#+ !! Thor Minnick (Andy Parker) I recently bought a Fujifilm MX
1200 and whilst it won’t do everything you want I have a useful link.
I researched using which has wonderful tests
and write ups and seems unbiased. My little experience lends me to
think your biggest problem is likely to be getting a digital camera
with a lens that can take adapters - they all seem to have tiny
lenses. I am still experimenting with jewellery photography but at
least it is cheaper than 10 rolls of colour prints and not one usable

Taking a breather from setting my first emerald - a square cut Indian
stone with an uneven girdle a mile high - I am scared stiff - 9ct
prongs as well :-((

DAN DEMENT As a longtime photo bug, I have tried
several digital cameras. As of today, the major problem is the
interchangeable lens problems. The most recent better digital camera’s
such as the Nikon 990, do not have the Macro capability necessary to
the real close up photos. Gem Vision’s Image Dome solves some of these
problems by having “add on” in front of the camera to increase
magnification without loosing field of depth. Nikon’s 990 uses an
internal auto focus system as opposed to an infrared auto focus and
takes a very good picture. The Nikon is a 3.3 meg picture which gives
great resolution. I have had several over the Nikon’s and the Kodak’s.
I would recommend whatever camera you get to get an USB interface as
it can take a long time to get the pictures from the camera into the
computer. I currently use a flash card system using a SanDisk. If you
use the computer for other tasks, this can be advantage. Sony is
coming out with a small CD writeable system which has a lot of promise
but the lenses factor does not apply itself to jewelry. Nikon has an
interchangable lens digital F1 but it is over $10,000 without lenses
the last time I checked. Kodak has a similar type system at near the
same price. Canon makes some good digital VCR type cameras with great
interchanglable lenses but in the still mode, the camera only shoots
in 640 x480 resolution last time I checked.

To shoot, micro photo’s thru a microscope is a entirely different set
of problems. First, the exposure is extremely long. In 35mm camera,
shooting diamonds one must use a 80A or 80B filter which is a blue
filter. Exposure runs close to a second and one must “push” the film
to get colors to come out even close. For shooting macro 10 power type
pictures of diamonds, I have gotten the best results using the
original Gem Vision Camera which is a Hi Dollar RGB Camera using a
capture card with a Macro style lenses. I can shoot "Hearts & Arrows"
pictures, and diamond imperfection pictures good to vvs using this
set up. I have not been able to find an easy, or cheap way to take
good photo’s thru a microscope using a straight digital camera. It is
easier for me to take the picture using 35mm and scan it into the
computer. I must admit I never do this as I can take a better picture
using the Gem Vision big camera. If you would like to see some
results, I am glad to email you some jpegs.

m: “Lara Pedersen” Check out the Nikon
990. PC world rated this as the best choice in cameras. For your
settings, purposes and imaging questions, contact the leading company
in imaging for the jewelry industry. Gem Vision - (319) 884 8180. Lara

“Cathy Wheless” I did a lot of research on
digital cameras while I was shopping for one. After much thought,
advice and reading I purchased the Nikon Coolpix 950 and it is
WONDERFUL. The macro capabilities are very refined and you can do an
uncompressed tiff image that is slide quality. For examples of work
shot with this camera look at the images that are on my web site, they
were all done with the Nikon Coolpix. It took me about 9 months to
learn how to use the camera and achieve images that met my standards,
however it was well worth the time invested. All, I’m not qualified to evaluate digital cameras,
but I think you might do well to look at the article in the current
issue of PC magazine ( Dec.) It evaluates the high end digitals and
points out that if you want the same versatility that conventional
cameras have ( reflex view finding and lens interchangeability ) you
are going to have to pay several thousand dollars…Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA

Hanuman All, I’m using the Nikon Coolpix 990.
Great camera. I use it for gem and jewelry photography. I uploaded a
sample of my work to the Orchid FTP site. There was no further digital
retouching on this gemstone piece.

Hi All, I’ve been using a Mavica FD-88 for about a year
now for stones and jewelry and I love it. I have found the two most
important camera features for digital jewelry photography is macro
capability and manual focus. Amy O’Connell

WELL, there y’all go; Thanks heaps to every one of you for taking
the trouble to reply and please understand that I am sincerely
grateful. But - look - I may have lost one or two!! You see, when I
get a repetitious job like editing those mails, the little bit that’s
left of my mind tends to go walkabout, and gets lost in the autumn
haze - and often so does some of what I was supposed to be doing. I
don’t really think I’ll challenge Hanuman for his job - if I were he I
wouldn’t have a bar of me! But I do thank him sincerely for giving
us the opportunity to say our pieces. I’ll be sending my own thoughts
(well, some of what I can muster)later in another mail. Cheers, –
John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ

John et al.:

It is going to take me a while to parse through the digital camera
comments — thanks for posting them. I have one further comment to
make. I see that here I can get a disk of my 35 mm roll of prints
for about $7. That means I would have to shoot 50 to 100 rolls a
year to make it worth my while to get a digital camera. Whoever is
going to get one ought to compute the cost PER PHOTO of the camera
before buying. If you are going to shoot 100 pix per year of
jewelry, use your 35 mm and have the CD’s made, you will save money
instead of buying an expensive, soon outdated toy.



I certainly understand your formula on calculating the cost per
photo, but don’t forget some other factors. For instance, if every
picture you took turned out exactly as you wanted, and then you could
just pop them onto a CD, and you could do that right away for every
picture that you took, then great! And, don’t forget the cost of the
film, too. But there are some real-life scenarios that need to be
taken into consideration. Now, I consider myself to be a very good
photographer in general, but shooting jewelry is no easy task to the
non-professional. And I would assume that if you are a professional,
you’re not looking for a digital camera because good ol’ 35mm is still
the best.

I have a pretty small shop, and after only a few pieces are made I
like to get the pictures done. I use a whole roll for 3-5 pieces,
then take them to be developed. I’ve bought the film, taken the 24
pictures, taken them to the store, and (in the case of not living in
the US) waited a few days, or quickest over night to get them
developed. Then I go back to the store, pay to pick them up, and now
I have my prints. In more cases then I was comfortable with they were
not what I thought really showed the pieces off. Maybe I could’ve
softened or increased the lighting, there was a reflection of my
camera I hadn’t noticed, an aspect of the piece wasn’t displayed to
its best advantage, or the coloring was just wrong because I like to
use blue backgrounds & inevitably the person didn’t listen to me &
left the automatic yellow correction & all of my silver jewelry looks
gold. Lots of things can be wrong. So now the process needs to be
repeated. And, since we are on a world-wide forum, many countries
have pretty high developing prices, too, in addition to the long
devloping turn-around times.

The same scenario with my digital camera is much quicker. I didn’t
buy film, first of all. Then, I take the picture & know right away if
it’s right. Many times I get it on the first try. Done, I’m on to
the next piece. Instead of taking 24 pictures for 4 pieces I’ve maybe
taken 8. Then, I’m done.

I’m not saying that there is no reason to think that a digital camera
is not economical. For someone who really rarely shoots pictures,
then it’s probably not. But I think even for a shop like my small
one, it really can be (and I use it for travel pics a lot, too). One
needs to make sure that it will take good pictures, and that’s not a
cheap camera. Mine was almost $1,000 when it was new, and it’s now a
year old - Olympus Cammedia. My time is valuable to me, and whereas I
thoroughly enjoy taking pictures, I don’t like my time spent where it
doesn’t need to be. Film is not cheap, either, so it’s not just the
cost of development that is to be considered.

I have two great 35mm SLR cameras with all the attachments & extras,
and in no way think that the digital camera should replace them in
this world. I use them to take well over a thousand pictures a year,
and do believe that they are the way to go in many cases. BUT, in
defense of digital cameras, I just want to be sure that if you are
calculating the PER PHOTO price of the digital camera, just be sure to
include the WHOLE scenario into your formula.

And, to add something else for the 35mm side, there is the slide
issue. I know that there are some posts regarding making digital pics
into slides. I’m not sure how much these services are. But if your
picture-taking now, with your 35mm camera, is all slides & slides are
a major point in what you’re doing, then you also need to to take into
account the cost of making the digitals into slides.

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

Hi Roy, I tried that route. My whole CD came back with a very purplish
tint. Karen

And, to add something else for the 35mm side, there is the slide
issue.  I know that there are some posts regarding making digital pics
into slides. I'm not sure how much these services are.

The cost of making a slide from a digital image on a floppy disk is
about the same cost as making a slide from a photo. Since there is a
minimum one-time set-up fee, I try to get 10 slides for each image
thus making my cost around $1.50/slide. I need 10 slides of each
image anyway when I send them in to juried shows.