Heavy duty camera for photographing "ebay stuff"

Within my ebay business, I have a role of a "photographer", which is a
person who takes pictures of stuff for sale, without necessarily
knowing what those items are.
The job of a photographer is to sort and clean items, assign inventory
IDs, and photograph them, and download pictures from the camera to the
computer in the photo department, under the given inventory ID.
Due to occasional high volume of business, I may need to sometimes
employ two photographers for taking pictures of ebay stuff for sale. I
have one currently, he does photographing as well as many other
duties.
I will need, therefore, to buy a second camera. I am looking for
something heavy duty, as in:
1) Something that would not fall apart from taking up to 500 pictures
per day
2) A camera that does not take a long time to recharge flash
3) A relatively sturdy camera
4) Camera that is good for photographing "things", like lathe chucks
and electrical fuses, for example.
5) Camera that does a good job with minimum fuss in the hands of
non-professional photographers.
I would like to hear some suggestions for specific camera.
Right now I have a Nikon D80 and it works well, but I want to find a
current model that fits the above requirements. Thanks
i
Reply to
Ignoramus20530
Loading thread data ...
The Fuji FinePix series are great little cameras for the bucks, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I have two - an early one (5100?) and an 8100. The thing I like about them is the optical zoom is smooth and shoots very clear. 18:1 on the 8100. I've shot threads on a bolt, and a lunar eclipse with the same camera.
Don't fall for "digital zoom" claims. If you go that route you might as well use your cell phone.
And - compared to Nikon prices, it's disposable if it should come to that. Figure $300 to $400 (with inflation)
Word - cameras generally don't "bounce" well.
Recharge rate depends entirely on the battery condition. HI current NIGH (2+ amps) rechargeable seemed to last forever. Regular alkaline last a week or so in heavy use (for me) and might only last a couple of days if used all day long. But they are AA cells - nothing special.
As for "works well"? That also depends - on the eye and hand of the photographer. There ain't no magic but that.
That model is discontinued now, but I'm sure there is something in the same performance/price range.
formatting link
Reply to
Richard
For taking good pictures of machinery, the lighting is perhaps even more important than the camera. I would avoid using the built-in flash; it casts harsh shadows and creates washed out highlights on bright metal. In addition, for close-ups the built-in flash is almost useless. If you do use a flash, get one that mounts on the hot shoe and use a diffuser or bounce attachment. What would be even better for a photography station would be bright halogen lights reflected off a diffuse white screen. Professionals use those reflective umbrellas. The external flash unit might still be useful for large machines where the camera moves rather than the object.
Its been a few years since I bought a digital camera so I can not give exact model recommendations, but I think you can not go wrong with Canon in each catagory whereas Nikon has been know to create some duds now and then.
formatting link
has some very complete reviews.
For this application, you do not need a really long zoom lens, but some zoom is good to frame the object. Make sure it has good close-up capability. avoid cheap cameras that take a long time to save each picture to memory. Number of megapixels is not that important as you will probably reduce the resolution anyway when posting. A larger format sensor will do better in low light and for bringing up detail in badly-lit lowlights.
Reply to
anorton
formatting link

I have a FinePix S5200. The photos on my Flikr page were shot with it. There are links in the 'Organization' line of this message.
I have taken crystal clear photos less than 3" from the lens, in Macro mode.
Something to keep in mind. For small items an old flat bed scanner gives incredible quality photos, within its depth of field. Some of the photos on my website (listed above) were done that way. They are often available for free, and there is a $49 program called 'Universal Scanner Driver' that works with over 1500 different scanners. I'm down to about 20 USB scanners. I use them till they are too scrached up or die, and dig out another. Lay a clean piece of white cloth over the items to get good contrast, or a dark color on light colored items. I use a ring light about 18" above the scanner to reduce shadows. I'll take some photos the next time I have it set up.
Tiny items? Use a USB microscope.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
Get a light tent! That will make all the difference for smaller items.
formatting link

Reply to
Tom Gardner
I use a Cannon 60D, which I like. I used to have a Cannon Rebel XT which also performed very well, but it had an accident while by grand daughter was using it! (oops...)
Reply to
PeterD
formatting link
I'll third the recommendation for the fuji finepix cameras. I've an older model & it takes both upclose & distance pictures well. The contrast & colour is superior to much more expensive cameras I've compared it with.
Reply to
Dennis
Ignoramus20530 fired this volley in news:m_qdnZx_gJdyQOrSnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@giganews.com:
Ig, I'd have to agree with Anorton about siting, lighting, and framing.
We did a lot of product photos in the fireworks biz, and ended up preparing a photo booth just for that purpose; floods, spots, a seamless backdrop, drapes and drape-able tables and stands -- and a good tripod!
All of that folderol allowed us to take really GOOD product pix with any digital camera you want to name. It wasn't the camera, after all.
LLoyd
Reply to
Lloyd E. Sponenburgh
Personally I would just get a cheap camera aimed at people looking to take a few snaps of their holidays. Spend $50 tops. It should meet all of your requirements.
Yes you could spend some money on proper lighting, special macro lenses and all that bollocks but you should consider whether any of your buyers will really give a shit about whether there's shadows cast because you used an in-built flash. They won't.
And do you want to spend serious money on something that will be used over and over by different people and more likely to get damaged?
Reply to
Adam
Our photo table is in front of a window right now. The window is obscured by polyethylene film for security reasons, so the light is diffused. The result is pretty good.
I just want a camera that can stand up to heavy use (sorry, no Fuji FinePix), and one that can take photos rapidly.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus10987
I am paying them by the hour. If they have to stand around and wait for the flash to recharge, pictures to get processed by slow CPU, etc, it will be expensive for me.
The quality of pictures does matter, not in the sense of photo art, but in the sense of conveying what is being sold and creating a good impression.
Reply to
Ignoramus10987
Not sure if they exist - what about a good quality webcam, could save a few steps in the process.
Reply to
Dennis
Along those lines, I was just playing with the software that came with my wife's Canon T3. It allows direct control of the camera from a computer, including capture to the hard drive. My application is mounting the camera back on my telescope for astrophotography, but would satisfy the good webcam idea.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
Just a suggestion for when the load is heavy enough to warrant two photographers:
Have one guy do all the prep work, and the other one do all the picture taking. If one guy is sorting, cleaning, and arranging for picture- taking while the other guy is taking pictures and downloading, then you may well keep both of them busy all day while still needing just one camera.
A bit of time spent watching your one guy at work should give you an idea of whether this is so.
For that matter, if you've got two guys sharing the work, neither of them constantly "shifting gears" from prep to photography, you may get more than twice the productivity out of the two working together than you would with two working in parallel.
Reply to
Tim Wescott
"anorton" wrote
I bought a Canon A540 for its fully-manual mode:
formatting link
other photos were taken in full auto, mostly with the flash turned off. They aren't beaters; dirt can jam the built-in lens cover.
Good lighting helps. I've usually been asked to take publicity and industrial shots on very short notice and had to use whatever was available on site, so as you can see I never acquired proper lighting equipment.
Umbrellas make pretty good light diffusers that stay in place better than white cardboard and fold up small.
formatting link
jsw
Reply to
Jim Wilkins
Actually, even right now the process is quite efficient. They do not point, click, upload stuff, just insert the camera and type a command and the inventory number. Everything else is done automatically.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus10987
You know, Tim, I think that your idea is "the winner". I really like it for many reasons.
i
Reply to
Ignoramus10987
Ignoramus20530 wrote in news:m_qdnZx_gJdyQOrSnZ2dnUVZ snipped-for-privacy@giganews.com:
I'd just get another D80. Same interface, same media, same batteries, same lenses. They should be relatively cheap by now.
As others have said, lighting is key. There are a lot of good concepts out there for using things like cheap hardware store halogen flood lights to create a studio that works night or day, rain or shine. This site has a lot of good ideas:
formatting link
They have designs for home brew ring lights, light tents, flood lights, etc.
Doug White
Reply to
Doug White
Strikes me that an older D70 D80 etc. might be what you want- the value drops pretty quickly as you get 2 or 3 generations behind and 6MP is still plenty for auction photos. Plus you can share software (camera control), batteries, chargers, remote trigger etc. etc.
Personally I use a little Lumix for a lot of documentation (12x optical zoom, built-in GPS tagging) but I don't like lending it- too small and easy to lose and probably easy to damage. I also have a small Nikon in the shop for documentation but I think I generally prefer the Panasonic.
--sp

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
Reply to
Spehro Pefhany
formatting link
Absolutely!
And, in a pinch, a kleenex over the strobe is sometimes handy for fill light.
Reply to
Richard

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.