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Old Oct 25, 2003, 3:15 PM   #1
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Default Camera for product photography

Hi.

I recently purchased a digicam for fun, a really low-cost model to get a hang of photogaphy. I want something more advanced now, basically fo taking close-up images, nothing too detailed but my mom is into catering so I would like to photograph some of the dishes the she conjures. As of now I have the UMAX ASTRAPIX 380 with follwing specs:

CIF resolution: 320x240 pixels
VGA resolution: 640x480 pixels
XGA resolution: 1024x768 pixels
Focus distance: 0.9m to infinity

Its really not good for the kind of pics I want to shoot. I took a close-up and the pic are geenarlly out of focus. To see the result click below:
http://www.geocities.com/virsingh77/cake1.jpg
http://www.geocities.com/virsingh77/cake2.jpg

Is there something better out there which is a really good deal for money??

Thanks,
Vir.
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Old Oct 25, 2003, 3:36 PM   #2
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First, I'd strongly suggest that you spend some money on a tripod for that kind of shooting - something in the area of $200-400 for legs and head.

The next thing to work on is lighting. Side? Front? Soft light? ...

I know nothing about the "UMAX ASTRAPIX 380", but I'd bet it is sold as "focus free" which means it cannot focus. So figure out how close something will be in focus. Just lay out a tape measure, stick a book or something with detail every foot or so. You will very quickly figure out how close you can shoot.

Just about anything costing more than $200 will be a better camera. If you are looking for a deal, watch for sales on recently discontinued cameras.
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Old Oct 25, 2003, 9:44 PM   #3
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Umax astrapix?? Well check your manual if this camera allows; manual aperture setting, exposure compensation, and maybe shutterspeed.
And then how does it correct artificial light, can you choose a mode?
The pie seems a bit too blue, not good for food. (please shoot hte next pie that will make us drool)

I assume you wonder what camera would do better? I wonder how much you are willing to pay. There are very good prosumer cameras like Fuji S602, Minolta Hi7, Nikon 5400, Canon G5, Olympus E10. These gems come with a price ticket. If you are looking for lower price section you are in luck: While color quality with product photos are important, the subject does not move around. First invest in a tripod.

Also true with experience it is possible to get a perfect shot even if camera does not allow any manual settings. When taking a shot, point the camera at subject in centre, halfpress the shutter, reframe till composition is ok and fully press. This will also work if you use time delay when camera is on tripod. Make the background as simple as possible, Like the boxes on the background with the pie seem to add value, but the table edge and cloth is a bit too distracting.
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Old Oct 26, 2003, 12:01 AM   #4
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Hi

Thanks for your replies people. Well my camera has very few manual setting options. There are 4 settings for light conditions (outdoor cloudy/sunny and indoor lit/dim), which I guess comtrol aperture. As far as focus goes there are two settings for that
Standard mode: 0.9m - infinity
Macro mode: 25cm ~ 30cm

I saw the Kodak CX 4200 today and wanted to know how would that suit my requirements for product photography. It actually fits my budget very well.

Thanks,
Vir.
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Old Oct 26, 2003, 7:05 AM   #5
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The four settings for light control the color cast in photos. I must say a bit limited camera, no choice between lightbulb and tl- light ?

The focus range (were camerea can manage to create a sharp image) is also a bit limited (sorry to slayer you camera). Without macro one has to be atleast at 90 cm or more distance of subject?

I can only find some specifications about the Kodak CX4200 at www.dcviews.com. It seems this camera was replaced soon after launch with Kodak CX4210, most times a sign to steer away from the product unless you get it for free. Both CX4200 and CX4210 seems not to be a product photo camera.; Aperture starts at f4.2 , this can be good or bad. If you want to take a photo of a 2 meter long cake seen at first slide you will be happy with this large Depth of Field. (sharp focus on the subject). But in case of a small piece of a py and a crystal glass on the background a small DOF may be wanted. Kodak CX 4230 seems to be a better choice..

Actually for product photos I recommend a camera with focus start (exclusive macro) at 50 cm and manual apperture. Manual options are found in $200 and more camras (but the price labvbel is not the guarantiee that they have such options)
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Old Oct 26, 2003, 11:36 AM   #6
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So I guess cameras like Fuji S602, Minolta Hi7, Nikon 5400, Canon G5, Olympus E10 would do the trick? Or is there anything else similar which would go easy on my purse?

Thanks, Vir.
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Old Oct 26, 2003, 12:26 PM   #7
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The cameras I named will definitly allow you to do the trick, but that does not exclude some cheaper cameras.

Most people are very enthousiast about the Canon A60 upto A70. I like Fuji cameras for their operational speed (thats is no concern with product photos as subject will not move during session). Olympus cameras are known to be quite sharp and Nikons have a great macro (you want the whole pie not just a crumb ;-).

They are general known to have good colors and image quality (some cheap or lemon models excluded)

In your case I would say start looking over Olympus cameras at www.dcviews.com. If a camera has no review while being for a half year in shops, think twice. I checked that site for an Olympus with aperture priority for around $200-$300 and did not find such. However cameras may have become a bit cheaper.

Otherwise maybe Fuji A310? That camera seems to have a aperture priority mode while being a low budget.
http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_...fuji_a310.html
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