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Old Jan 20, 2013, 9:22 PM   #1
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Default Camera for Computer Screen Shots

All,

I need to recommend a camera for work that will take screen shots of computer monitors. When you get an error during an install, popup windows, and such.

Contrast seems to be a problem for some cameras.....text on a white background.

Needs:
No flash wanted.
Rechargable battery.
Small jpgs, suitable for emailing.

Embarassed to say they want to spend $50 and under.

Thanks in advance,

pkd7423
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:09 PM   #2
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Might it not be better to just grab a screen shot, via software? On the mac side, the system software includes Grab -- just the thing for screen grabs. And I would be shocked if the wintel side of things does not have something similar. No worries about reflections, skewed shots, downloading, dead batteries, or "where the heck is the camera..."
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Old Jan 20, 2013, 10:22 PM   #3
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no....sorry....I guess I should have said this is pre operating system. a lot of errors that we need to capture happen while building the computers. We work in a development lab.

But your right.....screen print dumps work great when the errors happen when we have an OS on the computer.
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Old Jan 21, 2013, 2:31 PM   #4
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G'day mate

Any small P&S camera with maybe a 3x to 5x zoom lens will do
Keep the ISO down to 100 so that shutter speeds are around 1/30 sec to delete any screen flickering
Maybe with a small $20 "table-top" tripod will help stability

I see where you're coming from - I used to do lots of program development where the OS was unable to accept screen dumps - and it was a damn nuisance at times trying to document the errors & difficulties

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Old Jan 21, 2013, 4:24 PM   #5
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Flicker won't be much of a problem with flat panel monitors because of the long persistance, but for CRTs, a short image persistance could be a problem.

I'd also say that image noise won't be a problem since it's not likely to be so great that it interferes with the leigibility of the text on the screen. That means that shooting at high ISO settings probably won't be a hindrance. And even if it was, it's probably easier to turn up the brightness of the monitor than increase the ISO setting in the camera.

Have you tried the camera in your smartphone? It should have plenty of resolution, and since you already have it with you, it should be convenient enough.
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 2:43 PM   #6
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thanks Phil and TCav......

not everyone in our group has a smart phone and they don't want to use their personal equipment/minutes to email to themselves etc......go figure.

I'm at work now and they did get us a Vivitar ViviCam 7122. For the life of me I can't get this camera to take a good ledgible picture. It eats batteries (3AA). And there is not a half click on the shutter where I can see or hear it auto focus. My pictures for the most part come out very blurry. There is a telefoto/wide rocker that zooms and goes wide.

Is it right that this is the only way to focus? I will freak if I'm simply not using the camera correctly. But I really see /hear no focusing going on.

I have been tasked with getting a cheap replacement. I'm looking at the Fujifilm JX500 for 59.99. Maybe I can talk them into the extra $10 because of the lithium batt.

thanks
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 2:52 PM   #7
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I have attached 2 pictures from the vivitar.

Note image0010 is blurry.....blurry

Note image0011 believe it or not there is supposed to be text in those pure white fields. This camera doesn't even pick that up!
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 3:14 PM   #8
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G'day PKD

Like the bumper sticker on many cars says "Ya too bloody close - back off"
I suggest that you back away from the screen a bit more than you are here & try again

you must be able to hear the beeps for 'focus=okay' before you shoot, otherwise you're just wasting your time

batteries wise - I'm not sure whether you're saying that the Vivitar uses 3 x AAA size batteries or 3x AA batteries - I certainly know that AAA batteries go flat very, very quickly when under load, but good quality AA batteries [ie- like Black & Gold Duracell] should go for some time

Regards, Phil
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Old Jan 22, 2013, 4:07 PM   #9
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Tried that Phil. The above pics were take with the side "macro" button on. I should be able to get close 15cm - 30cm.

I tried farther away. I tried with macro off too. It just seems that you have to move the camera back and forth physically in order to get the text in focus, or use the tele/w rocker. I know it sounds weird.

But I don't think it focuses. There really doesn't seem to be a half way stop on the shutter button. You know....half way to focus, all the way to snap the picture.

Thanks

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Old Jan 22, 2013, 6:05 PM   #10
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JOOC, do you have laptops that have built-in webcams? Those could probably work.

And, btw, you can take a photo with most cell phones, and you don't have to upload them using airtime. If you've got a microSD card, you can store the photo there and transfer it via a card reader. You could even transfer the photo(s) via WiFi, or even Bluetooth, once you get back to the office.

As for the camera you're trying now, take it off macro mode, use the rocker switch to get to full telephoto, and frame so the entire screen fills as much of the image as possible. The greater depth of field in full tele will make sure that everything is in focus.
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