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PaulaCT
05-14-2004, 02:48 PM
Okay, I'm tired of cleaning the scanner glass every time I scan one of my paintings. I'm ready to take the plunge and buy a digital camera. I'd like one that takes nice, clear pictures and does closeup shots. Many of you already use them. What do you recommend? And if you don't mind, what is the price range?

Thanks for your input!

PaulaCT

DFGray
05-14-2004, 02:54 PM
hi Paula
I'm very happy with my Olympus 5060wz
4 months no problems clear shots 5mp
would like the new 8080 though
1100$can
regards
Dan

stonewhiteclown
05-14-2004, 03:30 PM
I cannot recommend any yet, instead I know good site with reviews - http://www.dcresource.com. That one is great help when you want to compare features, shots quality, convenience, etc. without having to navigate through different manufacturers sites or trying yourself many.

k9artisan
05-14-2004, 03:50 PM
Hi,

I use an Olympus D-510 zoom and I like it, I do wish I had a camera with higher megapixels than the 3 I have now. Be sure to look at megapixels and get a good zoom lens. You will find the investment is worth it! Good luck!
Amber

Artistammy
05-14-2004, 05:21 PM
You want to have high optical zoom rather than digital zoom. It's better.

Marc Hanson
05-14-2004, 05:40 PM
I've only had one and it is the 5.2 Megapixel Sony DSC F-717. Has a 38mm-190mm equivelant optical zoom + a 10x digital zoom(i don't use the digital zoom because of the fall off of quality in digital zooms), with auto focus and a manual zoom ring on the lense. Nothing negative to say about it. They've released a new replacement for this one and the reviews aren't great on it. This one however was constantly top rated for image quality, down rated for using memory sticks. That hasn't been a problem and there are some large file memory sticks on the market now. Doesn't have all of the bells and whistles of some of it's same level competitors, all I've had to do is push the button so I wouldn't know what to do with the bells and whistles anyway.

Big Plus- it has a Carl Zeiss lens, about as good a lense as there is!

I paid in the range of $900.00 US last year, but lately I've seen it for as low as $500-600. A lot of camera for that price.

Here's another very good camera review site. Have fun!

http://www.dpreview.com

CarlyHardy
05-14-2004, 06:40 PM
You might like to take a stroll over to the Photography or Digital forums. They have a lot of folks with digital cameras.

My advice is....make a list of what you want to do with the camera. Decide how much megapixel you need or can afford. Then go out comparison shopping. You'll find every price range. Do ask about how the camera interacts with the computer....you don't want to have to buy more equipment just to get your images out of the camera and onto your hard drive.

Also ask about battery life! Nothing is more frustrating than to have a battery go dead while on location and you don't have a back-up! :)

carly

Paula Ford
05-14-2004, 07:22 PM
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=2613331&sourceid=0100000030660804302498

My recommendation to you is this. A Kodak EasyShare DX454530 with docking station for $300. I actually bought mine on dell.com, but it didn't come with the docking station like this one does at Walmart.com. BTW this is a 5.0MP.

It's the easiest digital camera on the market. It comes with software, but I actually use "The Gimp" (which is free on the internet) to scale my pictures down and sharpen them to get them onto WetCanvas.

Hope this helps.
Paula

SweetBabyJ
05-14-2004, 09:42 PM
If you don't know anything about digital cameras, you're going to get confused very quickly. Here's a primer, in case:

Megapixels (mp)- The number of pixels per centimeter, rather like the number of dots per inch used in regular printing, just, not quite. The more pixels, the better quality- BUT! First- there's a difference between the pixels advertised, and what is known as "effective pixels". Effective pixels is the *real* number- cause the camera lens is round, but the picture is rectangular- the pixels "lost" when that conversion from round to rectangle is made might be significant. Be aware of it. Second: Unless you plan on printing pics that are over about 15" x 18", you don't need anything more than 4 pixels or so- the resolution won't matter at any lesser size than that. Know what you want to use the pics for and buy accordingly. Plus- even if you do wish to print that big, your printer capacity may be less- and the number of pixels will be automatically cut/compressed by the printer.

Optical/Digital zoom: Digital zoom is kind of "fake"- what it does is enlarge the view by "guessing" what is there by matching each area to the ones next to it- pixel by pixel. It's good for viewing, but lousy for actually catching. Optical zoom is just that- it actually zooms in- refocuses the lens, so no information is lost.

DSLR/SLR: Single Lens Reflex cameras work like the eye, in a way, and are considered the norm in photography. Most new digitals now are SLR's- it's worth the money to get one. Now if money is no object, the new Digital SLRs are AWESOME- you can change lenses just like on a "real" camera, and do some serious photography with all the ease of digital.

Memory: Make sure you know what kind of memory card or stick you need for your new camera- some are "propriatorial" and you can only use their brand. "Their brand" inevitably costs more. Better to get one that takes a standard memory card.

Batteries: Make sure your camera takes a standard size battery, and that you can get rechargables for it. Hint: Staples sells a generic wide-range battery recharger for less than twenty bucks, while Minolta wanted SIXTY BUCKS for the same thing - pays to look around.

Watch to see that you're not paying for a bunch of bundled software you don't need- you want a camera- you don't want to pay for a bunch of software you don't need. Shop around- and be sure to look at Butterflyphoto on the web ( http://www.butterflyphoto.com/shop/home.aspx ) I promise you they are wonderful to work with- good prices, great selection, and excellent customer service.

Mine: The Minolta Dimage Z2 with free shipping and no tax, under $350.00 Nice little camera.

Kathryn Wilson
05-14-2004, 11:02 PM
I can recommend the Minolta Dimage series - we have the Dimage 7, but that come out with newer models. We paid in the range of $600, but they've come down since then. It all depends on what you want to do with it - just for loading photos onto Wet Canvas, then this is too much camera for you.

PaulaCT
05-15-2004, 01:33 AM
Thanks very much to everyone who's taken time to offer advice. SweetBabyJ, your primer is great -- thanks for explaining the essentials. I'm a babe in the woods.

PaulaCT :p

jackiesimmonds
05-15-2004, 05:24 AM
Well,you have plenty of advice going on here but I would like to add one comment.

I have several digital cameras, each one for a different purpose. I have an expensive Olympus that never leaves the studio (because the last time I took a good camera away with me, it was ruined in the suitcase). I use that one for taking top quality reproductions of my work, for prints etc.

Then, I have a camera to take around with me whereever I go. An inexpensive Fuji.

then, I have an Olympus with a very long zoom lens. I hate it. It has a ghastly "electronic viewfinder", so you see a wierd kind of electronic image when you look through the viewfinder, not the actual scene. Takes good pics, mind you, but I do not like it in use, so it gets saved for the odd trip to the beach so I can take shots of poeple from a long way away! wish I had never bought it, the only consolation is that it was on sale.

The one that gets the most use, is the little cheap one, only 1.5 megapixels, a Fuji from some time ago. It was a bargain price because it had been superceded by a more recent model. It is easy to use, and takes great pics. I love it to bits. It proves YOU DO NOT NEED AN EXPENSIVE DIGITAL CAMERA for painting reference material, or for taking pics to upload to WC! Here is an example of one of the pics taken with this little cheap camera with its ridiculous amount of pixels, which most camera buffs would sneer at:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-May-2004/1805-cyprus1_060small.jpg

As you can see, plenty of detail, more than enough to paint from, and that is without "sharpening" - the real thing is sharper than this, but resizing it down for WC has resulted in a slight softening.

So the moral of the story is........you do not need to get sucked into the whole thing of buying the best on the market -if I can get these results with a piddly little 1.5 megapixels, then 3 megapixels is more than enough, 5 megapixels is only useful if you are a professional, wanting to print 10x8 PERFECT photos. We so easily get taken in by the marketing ploys of the manufacturers, who keep on bringing out more and more and more models so that they can persuade us that the one we have should be replaced with the latest one, because it has x bell and x whistle and without it, life will not work.

Well, it does.

EdK
05-15-2004, 09:53 AM
Jackie,

What about taking photos for a competition? I know lighting, cropping, (getting my big fingers out of the way) etc. is important regardless of the quality of camera. But, do you think the extra pixels translates better into a reference slide? Or is this detail lost as well?

pampe
05-15-2004, 11:10 AM
The PHOTOGRAPHY FORUM always has good suggestion for your specific needs

I was happy with my Canon POWERSHOT for 4 years for studio work

I have recently gotten a MINOLTA DIMAGE A1 for the lens and travel and it is AWESOME

The web site above and others for comparisons and ratings are a good place to start...some will let you put in your needs and get you ideas


Pam

Khadres
05-15-2004, 12:41 PM
Well, I have what I suppose is now a lowly 3.2 pixel Olympus D470C and love it. It's got 10X optical zoom (I don't even remember what the digital zoom is...4X I think) and is not SLR or anything, but this puppy does everything I need it to do. It's hard to believe, but I've had it a year and a half and have yet to replace the batteries that came with it! Hubby did get me a re-charger, but after the initial charge it's just kept on going and going and.... It takes any standard memory card and comes with a 16mb one. I think the larger memory card is well worth it, tho.

I have a 512mb memory card for it and have yet to fill THAT up...I usually go through and offload stuff every six months or so, but it holds at least a couple hundred jpegs. This camera does far more than I've every used....bells and whistles galore, but you don't need to use them....so far, I just point and shoot. I'm sure if I read up on how to do the fancy stuff, I could get even better results, but so far, I haven't needed to. I do like the zoom feature, which brings things in landscapes into closer view. This also has a "macro" ability which allows you to focus as close as 3" from the subject.

This camera can be had on eBay these days for around $300 or even less if you go for a factory refurbished one that includes a good warranty from Olympus itself. I'll probably move up to an SLR type someday, but see no reason to spend the money for some time yet.

My only complaint is that this "era" of camera is not a speed demon. There's a tiny lag between when you snap the picture and the lenses shutters (or however you say that) which means you need to either use a tripod (I never do) or hold very still for a couple seconds. I understand the newer ones are much faster in response. That plus, obviously, a real SLR shows you EXACTLY what will be in the picture so you don't have to crop extraneous stuff like you do with a "viewfinder" camera like this. It's not that big a deal to me, however.

Artistammy
05-15-2004, 12:41 PM
Jackie,
How many megapixels does your Olympus have? Why do you use it for reproductions of your work? Thanks.

Frcontr
05-15-2004, 04:25 PM
Well from the resident luddite (believes in old fashioned things technologically) I have 7 cameras. Only one digital. I use the canon powershot G3. Now for reasons behind a choice your going to make.
1. Know what you want to do with it.
2. What is your budget.
3. serviceability of the camera
4. features of the camera.
6. current technology
7. storage media
8. for snapshots or do you ever envision doing fine art work with it
9. ease of use (I personally would put this as the first one but son says
people learn)

Those are some of the question you should ask yourself.

Now having just gotten back from a large photography conference, I had the chance to talk to many of the camera reps on their products. This from both the Canon and Nikon guys who were in booths next to each other. Canon leads the industry in technology but Nikon is right there behind them in their shadow. so it is apples and oranges when it comes to the top cameras tech wise. As for zeiss lenses, yes they are the best. Problem is you need to get the glass zeiss lenses. The ones used for most digital camers are plastic. Now for what is happening in the industry. There is a big change coming in media storage that will effect most users. Hopefully they will make a component so that our cameras we use today will still be able to use the new media cards. They are switching over to the same mdeia card that is used in PDA's (palm pilots) They are doing just like computers in obsoleteing current technology. Aren't computer things fun? The race for more mega pixels doesn't mean better resolution. At the break from 4 to 5 mega pixels there is a real problem of distortion and what is called noise. 4 is fine with no noise, 5 starts the problem. 4 mega pixels will do just fine for what it sounds like you need. It will record things with a great amount of resolution so that it can be blown up to a 13x19 image easily and no distortion. Today you see 2 megapixels being sold very cheaply. there is a reason. go with at least the 3 or 4 megapixels. Let the technology catch up to the 5 and above. Now if you want to really invest in a camera, you can do the SLR version. there you will spend big bucks and have a camera that will be totally obsolete and not supported (the body alone) about every 5 years. This from the canon and Nikon reps. The market is going the way of what computers do today. They want you to buy a newer and better gee whiz camera every few years. If you use one heavily you can count on it lasting about 3 to 4 years. This from an average in a report on how long the pro's who use the camers are able to keep their camers working. Again it sounds like you will not be using it that heavily.

All in all I would go for the least expensive camera with the features I wanted that is new on the market. Yes optical zoom is better than digital.

pampe
05-15-2004, 05:58 PM
Just ordered a 1 GIG card for the new camera........WOOT!!!!!

jackiesimmonds
05-15-2004, 07:12 PM
Jackie,

What about taking photos for a competition? I know lighting, cropping, (getting my big fingers out of the way) etc. is important regardless of the quality of camera. But, do you think the extra pixels translates better into a reference slide? Or is this detail lost as well?

I was not aware that you could get slides from digital photos. I await others comments with interest.

J

jackiesimmonds
05-15-2004, 07:14 PM
Jackie,
How many megapixels does your Olympus have? Why do you use it for reproductions of your work? Thanks.

5, and I get good 8x10 reproductions from it and could probably go bigger. The more pixels, the better the quality, as I understand it. A small number of pixels is OK if you do not plan to make large pics. ( It will be interesting to try out my 3 mp camera and see if it does just as good a job, having seen the comment above.)
As for the reproductions, (giclee prints)before someone asks ..it is important to have lightfast inks in your printer, and to use special paper, the digitally coated papers. Then you get good results.

Knowing what you want to use the camera for, is really useful. That is why I have different cameras for different jobs. As the camera is very much part of my "art materials", I feel it justifies the expense. I rather miss my ordinary camera, with its rolls of film, but do like the immediacy of the digitals.

J

Jenoir
05-15-2004, 07:26 PM
I have a Canon PowerShot A70 and I love it. It is a small camera, with a lot of features and its takes great pictures.

Marc Hanson
05-15-2004, 10:59 PM
If you go to Slides.com (http://www.slides.com) , they have the specs on what you need to do to have digital to 35mm slides made. In general, you need to have as big a file as possible, preferebly TIFF, because even with the wonderful results that digital gives us, there still isn't as much information on a digital file as there is on a 35mm negaive. So in order to have the digi look good, higher resolution and more pixels means better quality.

EdK
05-15-2004, 11:15 PM
Jackie - I read in a booklet I purchased through the Pastel Journal that digital photography is becomming more popular in preparing slides because you can do all the cropping and blacking out of the edges via computer. However, I have never attempted it as yet. Most of the time I just use my camera for reference photos or posting on WC.

Paintbox1 - thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

sundiver
05-16-2004, 12:30 AM
I just the other day got my first digital camera, a little fella, a Canon PowerShot A310. I'm still plodding my way through the manual, but it looks suitable for my needs. Anyone else have one?
I got it with Scholastic coupons.... saved up for 3 years :D .... so the price was right for me!

Shari
05-16-2004, 01:47 AM
I have had my Nikon Coolpix 995 for about three years now and I love it, it does everything I need, 3.4 megapixels, but it takes excellent pics and with photoshop, you can make any pic look good. I print out fabulous prints on my HP photosmart printer, though I wish I had the Epson 2200 printer!

Shari

Khadres
05-25-2004, 03:34 PM
I have had my Nikon Coolpix 995 for about three years now and I love it, it does everything I need, 3.4 megapixels, but it takes excellent pics and with photoshop, you can make any pic look good. I print out fabulous prints on my HP photosmart printer, though I wish I had the Epson 2200 printer!

Shari

You brought up something I could use some info on....printers! My HP 940C has been doing an AWFUL job lately of printing full color pics. Not sure what's wrong with it, but it was never great shakes anyway, so with printers being so reasonably priced, I'm thinking of moving it up to my 'study' for use in printing text documents and buying something better.

Now, I do know that Epsons have the advantage of separate color cartridges rather than one big three-color one like the HP has. This is something I DEFINITELY want next time. Aside from that who has THE best printer under, say, $400? Would be interested in knowing all about your fave printer...ease of use (altho that's not the main criteria...I can get anything to work as long as it's not broken), features, consumables/ink cost and ease of locating, etc.

Oh, and I'd like a printer that can handle the slightly thicker gloss photo stock paper...my HP does or at least DID do okay with this except that it couldn't push the last quarter of the paper out and thus the lower 24% of a full page pic got screwed up every time.

Thanks in advance!

Einharjar
05-25-2004, 04:14 PM
I use a sony 5.1. megapixels. You can print really huge sizes (i tried about 2 metres by 3 once) and there's not a distortion even under microscope. about 500$ i think - though prices here may not be an indication to your area

bogbeast
05-25-2004, 09:38 PM
Good thread!

I've Had 3 digital cameras: a Canon G3, Minolta 404, and now a Canon G5.

I loved the G3, but it was stolen within 6 weeks :crying:

I found the Minolta harder to use: not nearly as intuitive, the constant battery recharging was a real pain, then it busted. Got fixed--weeks away at the factory. just before the 6-month warranty ran out on the repair (which was a different issue!), busted again :mad: :mad: :mad: And since I didn't get it back within the 6 months, they wouldn't honor the warantee. Neddless to say, I am not very impressed with that one!

The G5 is probably more than I need--lots of creative control possibilities: I still have fantasisies of learning "real " phohography! :D It is 4 megapixel, has a replaceable rechargeable battery (so I got 2) that lasts forever, and respectable zoom--although I can never get enough optical zoom! I love it, in spite of the relative weight and bulk. Takes Compact flash memory cards. This puppy is easy to use, and with a fresh charge, a 256 card, and downgrading the quality from "humongous" to "larger than I'll ever print full size" (about15x20???), I had almost 800 pics on it going from Minnesota to sF, with room to spare!!! Sweet camera! I've had to charge it twice in a year, and can downlad directly to a USB port on the computer.

Of cousre, now it's been superceded by a bigger, fancier version for $1,000 US. the G5 might be available for about $500US now.

My partner has a Canon point and shoot--no fuss, abou3 or 4 megapix. She's fairly technophobic, and thinks its the cats pajamas.

For Reference shots, I'd go with something that is so easy in your hands that you don't have to think about it; 4 megapixels and as much optical zoom as you can afford, some common memory card, and NOT over the counter batteries, as they need recharging all the time. And if it's easy to use, you'll find yourself carrying it everywhere and taking pictures of everything you can think of for future paintings!

Shari
05-27-2004, 09:47 PM
You brought up something I could use some info on....printers! My HP 940C has been doing an AWFUL job lately of printing full color pics. Not sure what's wrong with it, but it was never great shakes anyway, so with printers being so reasonably priced, I'm thinking of moving it up to my 'study' for use in printing text documents and buying something better.

Now, I do know that Epsons have the advantage of separate color cartridges rather than one big three-color one like the HP has. This is something I DEFINITELY want next time. Aside from that who has THE best printer under, say, $400? Would be interested in knowing all about your fave printer...ease of use (altho that's not the main criteria...I can get anything to work as long as it's not broken), features, consumables/ink cost and ease of locating, etc.

Oh, and I'd like a printer that can handle the slightly thicker gloss photo stock paper...my HP does or at least DID do okay with this except that it couldn't push the last quarter of the paper out and thus the lower 24% of a full page pic got screwed up every time.

Thanks in advance!

Sooz,

The epson 2200 is a large format photo quality printer that prints the quality that you could frame and sell. It does up to 11x14 I believe, or maybe even larger. Friends of mine have one and the quality is the best I have seen on a printer. I am not sure what they run about $800 I think but the cartridges are expensive, paper too. Great quality though, and most of the artists I know have one of those, so they can make high quality prints that aren't giclees.

Shari

jackiesimmonds
05-28-2004, 03:39 AM
I have the earlier version, the Epson 1270, and my prints are amazingly good for colour and quality. This printer uses lightfast inks, they are "chipped" but not horrendously expensive; since it has been superceded by newer models, you may well be able to find it as a very reasonable price.

Oh and it prints up to A3 size, and has no problems dealing with the thicker papers, I just did a big article for The Artist magazine on digital papers and had to test loads of them. My favourites, for art reproduction, in case you are interested, are Hahnemuhle (most of the range but I love the Arkona and the William Turner), Crane Museo, Lyson (all their papers are fantastic) and I got great results with the specially-coated Arches paper.

I think my printer is a little whizz.

Jackie

Khadres
05-28-2004, 09:42 AM
I have the earlier version, the Epson 1270, and my prints are amazingly good for colour and quality. This printer uses lightfast inks, they are "chipped" but not horrendously expensive; since it has been superceded by newer models, you may well be able to find it as a very reasonable price.

Oh and it prints up to A3 size, and has no problems dealing with the thicker papers, I just did a big article for The Artist magazine on digital papers and had to test loads of them. My favourites, for art reproduction, in case you are interested, are Hahnemuhle (most of the range but I love the Arkona and the William Turner), Crane Museo, Lyson (all their papers are fantastic) and I got great results with the specially-coated Arches paper.

I think my printer is a little whizz.

Jackie

Man, I bet we'd play the very devil finding all those papers here!

But I finally got out and actually got myself a cheapo little Epson that does BEAUTIFUL stuff! $179 at CompUSA, I think it's the 300R or some such, but it's a six color printer like I wanted and handles all those heavier papers my other one wouldn't. I really don't plan to do anything more than normal letter size, so this will work for me. It does have a bit of learning curve with all the goodies it's got...think I may actually have to look at the manual, but one thing that's nice is that it has slots in the front for all the major camera cards OR I can hook the camera directly to it if I wish. The inks are nothin' compared to the old HP that had all the colors in one; these cartridges are like $12 each and you only have to replace the color that's out.

Anyway, for the money I figure I got a good deal. And you have the lightfast thing right, Jackie....I've got computer graphics I printed on one of the first they came out with back in the early 90s and they haven't faded or changed in the least, whereas HP ink begins to go green within months!