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Old Apr 27, 2008, 2:13 PM   #31
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edtech2020 wrote:
If the camera stays at a fixed position above the subject, then the ability to autofocus may not be critical.
Maybe not, but I'd like to also mention that the viewfinders in autofocus cameras do not have very good tools for manual focus, and you can't really use the distance scale on the lens for precise focus. You can get a dSLR that has interchangeable focusing screens, so you can get a focusing screen that will better facilitate manual focus, but that can be expensive.

edtech2020 wrote:
I spent a bit of time looking for non-AF prime lenses and discovered that they seem to be quite a bit more expensive. Can you simply manually focus a lens that doesn't have a built-in autofocus motor?
Absolutely, if the lens fits the camera, you can usually manually focus it. But some older manual focus lenses may not support the camera's autoexposure mode either.

I suggest that you stick with currently available lenses (either new or used) until you get more familiar with the camera you end up with.

edtech2020 wrote:
But then it sounds like TCav (faithful to walk me through my many blundering questions) is not convinced that a prime lens on a dSLR is what I need to be doing. Other forums I've read this weekend seem to rally around the idea that zoom lenses are not right for copywork, and I don't know how to get a prime lens on anything less than a dSLR.
Let me be clear. Unless weight and portability are a consideration, a dSLR will always be a better choice than a P&S digicam.

But a primary considerationis the lens. Compared to P&S digicams, dSLRs have larger image sensors, and the lens needs to be further from the image sensor to make room for the mirror that flips up out of the way. These make the design of SLR and dSLR lenses much more complex and harder to do well, than lenses for P&S digicams.

So, within their limitations, and for your particular application, I believe that a good P&S digicam with agood zoom lensmay do as well and be a lot less expensive.

edtech2020 wrote:
Very open to opinions and observations at this point. I know very little about photography, although I use a camera in my start-up business of preserving photo albums. If I could get a copywork-appropriate camera/lens for under $1000, that would be best . . . until I've seen if the market will support such a business.
I think that relying on manual focus would be a mistake.

I think the Nikon D40, D40X or D60 would be a mistake.

I think anything smaller than 10MP would be a mistake.

If all you'll be doing is shooting on a copy-stand in good light, I think any of the other entry-level dSLRs with a 50mm f/1.8 (or so) plus the kit lens (for unexpected situations,) will work very well for you. From there, you can figure out where you need to grow, be it close-up lenses, a macro lens or extension tubes, a 60mm prime, an 85mm prime, etc.

Good luck in your new venture.
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Old Apr 27, 2008, 10:03 PM   #32
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edtech2020 wrote:
Yes, I could manipulate the photos afterwards to eliminate distortion. In this case I find that I'm taking 100s of photos of photos in photo albums or scrapbook pages.
I'm not familiar with PTlens, but most applications can batch process photos.

It actually sounds as if you are in need of a dedicated document camera. Try B&H Photo, or Adorama for prices and information.

I did some limited copying of text using a Minolta Dimage 7hi and an adapter I made for my milling machine head, to keep the camera fexed perpendicular to the table. Worked just fine.

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Old Apr 30, 2008, 10:46 PM   #33
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It actually sounds as if you are in need of a dedicated document camera. Try B&H Photo, or Adorama for prices and information.
Hmmm. B&H seems to refer to document cameras by something else than what you're thinking of. Those docucams are the kind you have hooked up to a classroom projector to take low-res images of papers to project onto the wall.

But I'm interested in knowing more about copywork cameras, for sure. Any leads?
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