Need camera advice, please

janet_ksAugust 4, 2014

I haven't own a decent camera in, well, probably decades, but I now have a project that requires good, detailed photos just like the ones you folks post here. Can you tell me what kind of camera you use and whether or not you like it?


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How about a little more detail?

What will you be photographing? In what kind of settings (lighting? distance? size of objects, etc.)?


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:14PM
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Well, my current project is pictures of craft projects of various sizes. Photos will be taken in a home setting, probably 1 to 6 feet away. But, I also would like to be able to post food pictures here (on the rare occasions I have something worthy) and I'd like to take pictures of my little dog. So, basically a good general purpose camera. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 3:41PM
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I have a Sony camera similar to this that I use at home and at work, and I like the results I get with it. The main drawback is that there is a menu button on the back that I accidentally press sometimes, and I wish they would put that somewhere else. The camera automatically adjusts for whatever ambient light there is, and so I do not need to do much in the way of color correction.

My brother works at Sony, and so we get employee discounts, but sometimes the items are still cheaper at Amazon, unless Sony is having a special sale, which they generally do in December. Then things are marked down to half price, if they are being discontinued.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Lars' camera is a great camera.

But if ypou don't want to spend the money, you can prbably get by with less. A simpler point-&-shoot can take fairly decent photos nowadays.

1. A camera with 10 M pixels or more will work for your needs.

2. Optical zoom of 10x will be OK.

3. macro feature.

4. Large view finder.

You will get better pictures using a tripod to avoid blurring.

You never should use the flash. Get a highpower daylight CFL bulb like the one linked below.


Here is a link that might be useful: CFL bulb

    Bookmark   August 4, 2014 at 9:34PM
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Thank you both so much for your help!! Although the Sony is a little more than I wanted to spend, you've given me some guildelines and parameters for when I start shopping. I appreciate the time you both took to respond.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:03AM
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Ditto to the above; BTW that bulb that dcarch linked to is great for starting tomato seedlings.

You don't need to spend a whole lot to take decent pictures. The picture I've included was taken with the macro function of a fairly inexpensive camera (a 7.1 megapixel Canon PowerShot A570IS--it was around $150, but they no longer make it--available used for around $50 or so)

The GW website makes the image smaller, but in full size you can easily read the bow maker's name.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:59AM
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Can anyone find that recent thread about cameras that recommended a good cell phone? I think that Ann uses her Galaxy 5 phone, and no one gets better pictures!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:22AM
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Janet -

Good lighting - light aimed at the object diagonally, from both sides of the camera - is essential.

I use cheap halogen desk lights for small stuff, and big halogen work lights for large stuff.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:29AM
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It takes years of practice, many lessons in schooling, thousands of dollars in equipment to become a professional photographer.

But it only takes a few dollars and a few hours to learn to take very presentable pictures.

I guarantee you will be admired for taking beautiful pictures if you go the the "Gallery" side of this cooking forum and search for "canarybird" photo tips, you will be a happy photographer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Pics tips

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 10:45AM
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Janet, As Helene mentioned (thanks Helene) I recently started taking all my food photos using a Samsung Galaxy S5 (phone). It has a 16 mp camera and it doesn't get much easier to use. Just point and shoot.

I haven't used my digital camera since I bought this phone.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Wow, it looks like I have some thinking to do. I don't have a smartphone and not sure that I want one, but I do really like Ann's pics. Yesterday, I was looking in the direction of maybe a Canon PowerShot ELPH 150 IS, but was talking to a friend last night and she said that her iPad takes pretty good pics and I have been thinking about getting an iPad. Maybe I'll explore that first...I don't know, gotta think about it.

Thanks for pointing out the Gallery...I don't think about that and Conversations much because many years ago there wasn't a lot of activity there, but I see that has changed. And, you are absolutely correct about Sharon's tips...I looked at a few of them and know they will help me.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help and I promise some day you will see a food pic from may only be a mouth watering ear of sweet corn or BLT (my current diet), but you'll see something someday.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 7:19PM
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I know people would (rightfully) laugh if I gave photography advice, but I will share one prerequisite for my next camera: No proprietary cables which cost a fortune to replace or whose aftermarket counterparts don't work reliably. Made that expensive mistake once and that was enough.

Mini-USB please, better yet wireless. Unless someone has something else fairly universal to recommend. Even the "iStuff" lightning cable seems fussy, although it would power several of this household's gadgets. (We're currently down to our last working one, and I'm sure our fighting over it is not helping its life expectancy!)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:33PM
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p.s. Arley - I think your bow needs to go back to Dr Suess for a rehairing. ;-)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 8:34PM
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"-----Unless someone has something else fairly universal to recommend. ----"

You can get a tiny USB adapter to plug in the camera's plug.

When you need to download pictures, just plug into the adapter and leave the adapter in the camera.

This way you don't wear out the camera's plug, which can be very expensive to replace.

Also, try not to use the camera's flash. The flash bulb has limited life as to how many flashes it can produce. If it expires, it may cost you.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:11PM
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Hi - Nikon Coolpix P7000 is a great camera - I got a refurbished 1 for less than $100. It has tons of features, but it also has a fantastic automatic setting that takes incredible photos w/ no fuss.

It came w/ 2 rechargeable batteries & 2 chargers + a cable, but I never use the cable, I simply take out the memory card & plug that into my computer. & if your computer does not have a card slot, you can get a USB card reader for less than a dollar @ more than few websites.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:24PM
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"-----I simply take out the memory card & plug that into my computer. ----"

I am not sure i would do that. If you look at the card, there are many many tiny tiny contacts, and inside the camera, there are matching many many contacts as well. they are coated with a very thin layer of gold to prevent rust. If you plug/unplug regularly, the contacts can be worn. If one of the contacts is not connecting, the camera is no good anymore.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:32PM
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