Digital Camera Recommendation

DoN. Nichols wrote:


Agfa is out of business, and Kodak has scaled back quite a bit, but litho film lives on. My current source is eBay Kodak image recorder film PRD from the printing industry. You can get barely out of date film for $50 a roll or so. Xpedex sells the developer and fixer for this film (my old Kodak print fixer turned the backing of the PRD film orange, but the Xpedex Color-Lok chemistry works fine).
The only problem with laser printers is they are not terribly accurate. Print the same two images, one mirrored, and place them face to face and observe with backlight. You will likely see a lot of mis-registration. If you are doing two-sided circuits, this can be a big problem.
20 years ago I built a laser photoplotter with 1000x1000 DPI rsolution, and it works MUCH better than a printer. It writes raster to the red-sensitive litho film with a 670 nm 5mW laser diode and some lenses. The film is wrapped around a drum that spins at 10 revs/second, so it produces 0.6" of image per minute.
Jon
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    [ ... ]

    For certain kinds of photography, including architectural, those can be very useful. A view camera is best, but even a 4x5 Press camera (e.g. the Speed Graphic -- what news photographers used to lug around) can be pretty good for the purpose. Things like correcting the perspective distortion when photographing the front of a building -- or the front panel of a piece of electronic gear. The normal instinct is to tilt the camera up to get all of the front of the building in covering the most part of the film. This causes it to taper in towards the top. You can avoid this by backing off and setting the camera perpendicular to the front of the building, and then throwing away the part of the image below the street level. But this wastes resolution. A view camera or a press camera, mounted on a tripod with the film parallel to the front of the building is the start. But then the lens board is slid up to get the whole front on the whole of the film, and this eliminates the distortion. When photographing some things, where you can't place the camera where you want to, you can also slide the lens board sideways to correct for being off to the side.
    And another trick, when you *want* something tapering, and want to keep it sharp over the whole length of it, you draw a line perpendicular to the lens (parallel to the lens board), and another one along the surface of what is being photographed, and mark where they cross. Then you tilt the back of the camera (the film holder) so a line along it will cross at the same point, and you will keep the whole of the image sharp in spite of the varying distance.
    Both can be done to some extent with a Press camera, but a view camera covers a wider range of adjustments. I have one of each -- both in 4x5 size, though the view cameras are available in amazingly large sizes. I've used an 8x10 one (for making master negatives for printed circuit boards), and I'm pretty sure that they make them at least to 11x14" and maybe to 16x20". (Of course, you can correct perspective distortion from a digital camera with the computer and a good program. However, the sharp through a tilted object is pretty difficult to do with a digital camera and any program. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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wrote:

Ayup. I used to love doing old buildings. Im kind of an architectural buff and ya needed a hood and an adjustible camera to get the stuff square and straight. One of the reasons I never liked doing with 35 mm or even 120, though I had a Pressman D with a 120 roll back and it was surprisingly adjustable. Same thing here in the oil fields, back when there were more standing rigs than today. Hard to get parallax and vertical clean and neat with a straight body. I did have a Canon bellows housing that was interesting as it did allow tilts and lifts on a 35mm camera, but the bellows finally went to shit and I traded it off to someone who could afford to have it rebuilt.. It looked a lot like a close up bellows..but was multiadjustable.
Gunner
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    [ ... ]

    :-)

    Agreed -- especially if you forgo the Program mode. (But, it also allows you to do better at photographing what *you* want instead of what the camera wants. My previous DSLR -- a Nikon D70 -- had both Program and Auto modes -- and the Auto mode I avoided like the plague. In particular, there were five zones in that which could be used for autofocus, and in Auto mode, it would focus on the zone which had the closest object. *Not* what you want when you want a subject framed by somewhat out-of-focus objects for aesthetic purposes. (I usually kept it locked so the center was the zone used for autofocus and exposure, and if I wanted something a bit off center, I would aim to put that in the center, press the shutter release half way to lock in the focus and exposure settings, then re-frame to what I wanted and complete the exposure.
    The Auto mode also would pop up the flash whenever *it* thought that was what was needed. I like to be unobtrusive when photographing people, so I want the flash off most of the time.
    Program mode gave me the things which I wanted automatic for quick shots, without imposing other things on me that I did *not* want. It even allowed me to automate the selection of ISO (bumping it up from the default setting as needed) so I could take reasonable shots in lower light levels without flash.
    And I could also go to Aperture preferred or Shutter preferred, or pure manual as needed.
    There are fancy autofocus modes in the D300s which I have so far avoided. They check all the autofocus zones (a lot more than the five of the D70), and identify a group of them as representing a face (I'd love to see the algorithm used for that), and focus on that. Since I am as likely to photograph objects as faces, I've kept that mode disabled, though I can imagine circumstances where I *might* want to automatically recognize and focus on faces -- but certainly not for general walking around. And if there are multiple faces, how do I know that it will pick the face which *I* care about? :-)

    Amen!

    And I tend to carry my DSLR whenever out of the house. Usually with the 28-105mm lens on it, a reasonable range for what I normally shoot, plus the excellent macro mode as well.

    Reasonable. I just keep a spare of the special battery pack already charged for swapping in if I get close to the bottom (usually only when I'm using the flash a lot -- like documenting the trick-or-treaters. I'm also usually using an external flash unit for that, too -- get the flash high enough above the eye level to reduce redeye, and bounce some off the overhead for more diffuse illumination.

    Yes -- I've done a lot of work in the past with extension tubes, bellows, or a combination of the two. But that tends to be left for special situations now -- the Macro mode on the above-mentioned lens is good enough to cover most of my needs.          And a slow lens means better depth of field anyway -- which is often what you need/want. When I don't want that, I go to the 50mm f1.4 (if it gives good coverage from where I am) and go to aperture preferred to drop the foreground and background out of focus. (Or -- use a long lens wide open for even more out of focus outside the desired area. An example is my 180 mm f:2.8. (Or if you want weird highlights in the out of focus zone, use a mirror telephoto, like my 500mm f:8 Reflex Nikkor. Highlights well out of focus come up as bright donuts. :-) An interesting effect when you have sky showing between leaves, or glinting sunlight off waves. I've got a number of those from back in my film days, too -- though it wasn't a Nikkor lens, nor a Nikon camera body back then. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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It was only in the last year or so, I learned that the aesthetic quality of those out of focus zones has a name. It's Bokeh.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh
In part from the above linked article:
"Although difficult to quantify, some lenses enhance overall image quality by producing more subjectively pleasing out-of-focus areas. Good bokeh is especially important for large-aperture lenses, macro lenses, and long telephoto lenses because they are typically used with ashallow depth of field. Bokeh is also important for medium telephoto "portrait lenses" (typically 85150 mm on 35 mm format) because in portraiture photography, the photographer typically seeks to obtain a shallow depth of field to achieve an out-of-focus background and make thesubject stand out."
Erik
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    Yep! From Japanese, I think. I skipped it as not really being needed to confuse people here. You'll find it mentioned in the serious photography newsgroups fairly often.
    The donut shaped Bokeh is considered by most to be ugly.
    The more leaves your iris diaphragm has, the smoother the Bokeh (because the rounder the iris opening). Wide open, they all are the same, because you are up to a truly circular opening.
    It is a couple of stops down that you start to get the shape.
    Essentially -- it is a projection of the shape of the iris opening onto the sensor/film. You don't get that for the in-focus areas, but the more out of focus the more you get.
    Have you ever heard of Waterhouse Stops? They were metal plates slid into the side of the lens -- originally before the iris diaphragm was invented. Those were multiple plates, each with a machined round hole of the right size.
    And you still see them in lenses used in process cameras for making halftones, except that the holes are square to aid in producing the shaped dots in halftone images. You'll usually find a set in wood-boxed lenses of various focal lengths for such purposes.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Jon has made a notable comment. Buy one that uses AA batteries, and get some enloop rechargeables. Proprietary batteries are spendy, and a PITA if you are out of the country, need a lot of shooting capabilities, etc. You can pick up AA's anywhere if you forget yours. If you forget your proprietary ones, you're SOL. Friend of mine and I went to Mazatlan. He left his charger and extra battery. He had a Nikon. Oh, well ............ Charger and battery, about $75 if we coulda found one. Steve
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On Fri, 7 Dec 2012 16:30:33 -0700, the renowned "Steve B"

The new ones are pretty good.. I took the Lumix to Asia & didn't even bother to bring the charger-- good for hundred of photos (video recording, not so much).
Two clone "EN-EL12" batteries for the Nikon AND a car/wall charger are $11 from China, shipped. Probably don't have the Li ion protection circuit, so beware of fires. Definitely are not UL/CSA, so beware of electrocution. Safe enough for me, but I wouldn't leave them unattended on top of flammable stuff.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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I've been using a Panasonic Lumix for the last several years. Agree with Steve, about the AA cells. I've used up a lot of rechargable cells. The Precharged NiMH are my favorites at the moment. Eneloop is one brand of these, but I've not tried them. I've been using Rayovac and Duracell precharged.
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
Jon has made a notable comment. Buy one that uses AA batteries, and get some enloop rechargeables. Proprietary batteries are spendy, and a PITA if you are out of the country, need a lot of shooting capabilities, etc. You can pick up AA's anywhere if you forget yours. If you forget your proprietary ones, you're SOL. Friend of mine and I went to Mazatlan. He left his charger and extra battery. He had a Nikon. Oh, well ............ Charger and battery, about $75 if we coulda found one. Steve
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Tom Gardner wrote:

Here is a nice old digital camera:
http://www.retronaut.com/2012/06/kodak-digital-camera-1975/
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I've got a Canon Power Shot A2000 I like. It was $199.00 on sale. It has zoom capabilities, but I suggest using a tripod for better clarity if you use the zoom features. I purchase cheap batteries, and they don't last very long. One thing I don't like is that there is no viewfinder. All there is for viewing is that screen on the back. I'm considering upgrading to a camera with a viewfinder; maybe a range finder camera? btw, for taking photos of tools etc., you might not even need zoom capabilities unless you want to show maybe the sharpness of a drill bit etc.
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On Fri, 14 Dec 2012 06:08:06 -0800 (PST), jon_banquer

You should go with the one that you feel most comfortable mounting on a decent tripod and not touching, because that's how you'll get sharp photos.
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    A rangefinder has its own problems -- parallax. It is viewing out a different hole than the photo is being taken through, and the closer you get to the subject the more error this introduces. (For extreme examples, say you are taking a photo of the head of a 10-32 screw (for whatever reason). The center of the viewfinder window is typically about an inch and a three quarters (based on measuring an old Zeiss Contax) from the center of the taking lens, so you can't see the screw head in question when it is close enough to get a good sized image on the film.
    Using the lens, sensor, and display as a viewfinder eliminates this problem -- but it introduces other problems -- not typically a real problem with this kind of work. Things like much slower response to the pressing of the shutter button, because it has to first close the shutter (it has to be open to use as a viewfinder), wipe the last old image off the sensor, open and close the shutter to take the picture, and then open the shutter again to return to viewfinder duty. And this is ignoring the time required for the autofocus to do its job.
    A SLR (film) or DSLR (digital), however uses the lens as a viewfinder, to an eye-level eyepiece, and it does not have to play the games with the shutter. It does have to move a mirror out of the way prior to opening the shutter, but they have been doing this for decades (at least since the time of the Nikon F film cameras), so they have it well under control. :-)

    Depending on the tools, of course.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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On Fri, 14 Dec 2012 06:02:30 -0800 (PST), A Moose in Love

For digital cameras that use AA cells...dont bother with anything other than Nmih (Nickle metal hydride). Enerloops or the equivelant.
They recharge forever, will give you full power up to the last shot..and they have far more capacity than do even alkalines.
All you need is a cheap charger that will do Nimh and a spare set of batteries and they will last for years.
The reason Ive settled on Olympus cameras is that they do have a small LCD screen on the back, a regular view finder, zoom and wide angle, close up settings (to 1") and are equiped for external power with a cheap wall wart for studio type work. Never have to worry about the batteries going dead. And they are cheap as can be these days..
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-CAMEDIA-C-3040ZOOM-3-3-MP-Digital-Camera-Black-/170956927980
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-Camedia-C-4040-Digital-Camera-/25119756957
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Olympus-CAMEDIA-C-5050-Zoom-5-0-MP-Digital-Camera-Black-/290831555666
I have multiples of all 3. Work very well, nearly all are metal bodies and are GREAT utility cameras.
I think the most Ive ever paid for one was $35 including shipping and the last 2 were NOS in the box.
Gunner
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