Recommendation for Camera

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Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:24 pm

Hello,

I am looking for a recommendation for a camera for a research trip. I have roughly $550 to spend on a camera and I need the camera in order to photograph a series of pages from several books. Ideally this would mean a camera that does well with macro photography in what could potentially be low light, or non-ideal light conditions.

Any recommendations would be fantastic.

Thanks,
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derTorbs
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:57 pm

Are you building one of these?

I don't think anything special would be required for a book camera, insofar as the camera. You'll get the best results if you put some effort mounting the camera (ie, make sure it has a tripod mount), getting a proper lighting source/blackout box and some nice optical-grade (nothing crazy) glass to act as a plate/page flattener.

Here are some recommendations in this thread for cameras. For $550 you could get yourself a Sony RX100 point and shoot. A Sony 5R/TL NEX interchangeable lens camera with a kit zoom lens. Or you could probably get great results for book photography with something cheaper, like a Canon S110 for around $250, but you probably could go even cheaper and get decent results with book imaging.

And with the Canon S110, you can get hacked firmware that will let you use a remote trigger, which should make the process easier.

More on DIY book imaging
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:20 pm

For $550, I would get the Sony RX100 and call it good. It is excellent with the IQ and is a great performer. Review is up for it at DPReviewand while it is nearly 2 years old, every other point and shoot is chasing it. The only reason I would do this over a NEX is that you will get better battery life and this can fit inside a pocket. The built in flash is usable, but you will need to use a bit of exposure compensation. It will also shoot RAW if you have anything like Lightroom. Its 1" sensor is the best you can do next to an APS-C (which the NEX does have). The Macro mode is pretty good and it should do everything you need. Plus, with 20mp, you can crop a ton if you need to.

RX100 at Amazon for $548
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:58 pm

The more I think about the question, the more I feel that your lighting is going to be the most important component of your setup. With good lighting, even a good cellphone camera would be more than adequate, though I understand that you want something a bit more 'professional' than that.

The thing is, with enough light, the camera used doesn't really matter, and the lens only has to be decent and be able to focus close enough to properly frame each page, since you'll be able to use narrow apertures to avoid lens aberrations like color shifts and field curvature. And since text will very likely respond well to noise reduction and sharpening, I doubt that you'll have any issues copying whats on a page regardless of what you use.

All that said, I agree that the RX100 is one of the more economical options; another would be to pick up an entry-level SLR from Canon or Nikon, who's 18-55mm kit lenses are actually pretty good.
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 4:18 pm

Any camera will do. Photographing a page from a book is not "macro" photography, unless these books are only an inch or two in width.

Decades ago, cigarette lighter-sized cameras (Minox was a famous brand) were used by spies for document copying.
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:09 pm

Yeats wrote:Any camera will do. Photographing a page from a book is not "macro" photography, unless these books are only an inch or two in width.

Decades ago, cigarette lighter-sized cameras (Minox was a famous brand) were used by spies for document copying.


The "macro" in most small cameras is simply a mode. Without a macro lens, there isn't true macro. However, if the Minimum Focus Distance is too long, and there is no swivel rear LCD, it could be a tough time in take photos.
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Re: Recommendation for Camera

Postposted on Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:36 pm

TheEmrys wrote:
Yeats wrote:Any camera will do. Photographing a page from a book is not "macro" photography, unless these books are only an inch or two in width.

Decades ago, cigarette lighter-sized cameras (Minox was a famous brand) were used by spies for document copying.


The "macro" in most small cameras is simply a mode. Without a macro lens, there isn't true macro. However, if the Minimum Focus Distance is too long, and there is no swivel rear LCD, it could be a tough time in take photos.


Actually, the macro mode in most P&S's lets you get extremely close to the subject at wide angle - less than an inch, even - and it does this by moving an element in the lens.

Macro mode might not even be necessary, we don't know the size of the books the OP intends to photograph, but it's entirely possible he may not need to get closer than a foot.
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