This is sort of like asking, "What is a good car to drive around town?"
Everyone will give you different answers based on what they assume you want
to pay and what they assume your tastes and quality expectations to be.
I think the first thing you should do is educate yourself at this site by
looking at their articles and buying guides, and browse the current models:
As others have noted, lighting is almost more important than the camera for
photographing objects. It all depends how fancy you want to get. Relying on
the camera flash usually does not give a great picture of metallic objects.
Personally, I use a 6-year-old Canon A710 which is fine for a smaller camera
but not made anymore.
My guess is the modern equivalent would work for you, although the larger
cameras with larger sensors do work better in low light and they usually
have better lenses. You also have to decide if you want interchangeable
lenses. Avoid any camera decorated in bright colors.
Jon, My Canon ELPH 310 has served me well. Easy point and shoot, 8X
zoom, and you can make movies with sound with the push of a single
button. The body is metal, while many cameras like this have a plastic
I bought this after I thought we had lost our older Canon, which also
served me well.
I thought this looked like a good camera for the price: ($99 refurbished,
14MP, 24X Optical zoom)
I looked at one similar (same maybe) at Wal-Mart last night, seems to focus
FWIW, I list around 100 items a month on ebay most months--that means
about 1500 images, ranging from coins and jewelry to cars and trucks.
On that basis I can say some things with a bit of confidence.
I normally use an 17-85mm zoom lens on a crop sensor DSLR camera--that's
equivalent to 25-128mm and is a 5-1 range. The other lens I use
regularly is a 100mm macro, equivalent to 150mm. I have lenses ranging
from 10mm to 300mm and a more specialized macro that I use from time to
time but the 17-85 and the 100 macro are the workhorses.
I seldom use the extreme wide end of the range, but could stand a little
If your camera has a zoom range in the 28-140mm equivalent range and a
decent macro function that gives a reasonable amount of working distance
at 1:1 equivalent, then optically it should be good enough.
You don't need a lot of megapixels if you're shooting stuff to be
advertised online--full screen on a modern monitor is about 2
megapixels, and even a crappy camera you buy today has 10 or more, so
don't let that be a particular concern.
The two features that I could not do without at this point are a hot
shoe and manual controls for exposure and focus. Autofocus misses too
often to be acceptable to me as the primary or only means of focus. I
use off-camera flash most of the time (it's pretty much the only way to
get a usuable result with a painting under glass for example) and to do
that you pretty much need a hot shoe that can hold a radio trigger.
With the off-camera flash I need to be able to set the exposure
manually--if the camera tries to automate it using off-camera flash I
get unpredictable results.
Features that my current camera does not have that I would like include
an articulated LCD with live view (makes it easier to shoot in awkward
locations) and a video mode.
Plugging my requiremnts into dpreview's search engine I find 18 models.
Looking at them in more detail, personally I would go with the Canon
G12, because it has all the festures I need, and controls that work
pretty much like a professional camera, plus a reputation for
outstanding image quality. My second choice would be the Panasonic
FZ200, again based on the controls, which are very well thought out and
flexible but work differently from what I'm used to--it's actually a
more capable camera though. Looking at the Canon SX50HS, the controls
seem very cumbersome compared to the other two. The Fuji Finepix
HS30EXR is even more cumbersome than the Canon.
The other 18 are just variations of the four I mentioned--either
rebadged or older models.
That's me though, do read the specs carefully.
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
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
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. :-)
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..
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.
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