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Old Dec 6, 2003, 7:51 PM   #1
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Default Need 10x or higher Macro with Big Cheap Storage

:roll: Hi. I need a camera that has a large cheap storage capacity since I sell jewelry online and take at least 60 pictures a day, and I also need at least a 10x zoom for close up detailed shots.
I had a Mavica FD71, that I believe I killed! LOL. (Disk Error, and the drive has been replaced already). I was going to buy another Mavica FD(?) but really wanted to take advantage of some better technology. I was told that the last FD models don't allow much storage now on the cd's due to the higher Pixels. I want to stay away from memory sticks because I don't want to have to buy additional because I take so many shots.
First I was going to get a MVC-CD1000, because I can get a used one on Ebay for $400.00, but once I found out that I cannot re-use the CD's I would have tons of CD's that will have pictures I may never use. Then, I considered MVC-CD500, but the zoom is not high enough, and I would end up buying an additional lens. (Ebay has the package for around $600.00).
Now in looking up information on the MVC-CD200, and CD350, or CD400, I don't see much difference from the CD-500, except for the Pixels. (and of course the 200.00 price difference).
My pricing is totally off of Ebay, and I don't know if I can beat these anywhere else. I am aware I am taking a chance on some of these cameras, but am trying to get one with some kind of warranty, or Square Deal Protection from Ebay.

Any suggestions, support, or alternate ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks---- Kat
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 9:40 PM   #2
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Kat:

I'm not sure you understand how technology has advanced since your Mavica was made (with it's 1.44MB floppy disk drive).

60 photos per day is nothing (especially in lower resolution image sizes).

Nowadays, one photo taken from modern Digital Cameras at their higher resolution modes couldn't even fit on to a floppy disk (but you don't need to shoot in the higher resolution modes for auction listings -- 640x480 is usually plenty, and this creates much smaller files).

Solid State (a.k.a., Flash Memory) is reusable. Basically, when you take your photos, you upload them to your PC, then format the Memory Card again and you get the space on it back. You reuse it over and over again. There are different types (depending on the camera) used now: Sony Memory Stick, CompactFlash, Secure Digital, xD-PictureCard to name a few.

You can buy HUGE capacity Memory Cards for practically nothing now.

Also, I'm not sure why you're using the 10x, instead of macro mode.

Basically, most cameras have a macro mode that allows you to get very close to small objects. An example is the Nikon Coolpix 4500. It allows you to "fill the frame" with an object as small as 3/4" across.

Even with the tiny 16MB CompactFlash Card that ships with it, you could take 144 photos at 640x480 (plenty for auction listings) resolution using Normal JPEG Quality.

You can buy a High Speed 256MB Card (equivalent to over 150 of the floppy disks you're using) for around $60.00 discounted now. This would allow you to put over 2000 photos at 640x480 resolution using the Normal Quality JPEG Compression on the card before you'd need to upload to your PC (then, you could erase the card, and start all over again).

You can get much larger cards, too.

Most users simply upload their photos every day, then reformat the card (with nothing to wear out, as in floppy disks). Instead, you just store your photos on you PC Hard Disk Drive. The camera attaches to your PC's USB port.

Or, an even better way, is to use a Card Reader (you plug the Memory Card into a slot, just like you plug in a floppy disk into a disk drive). You can buy a high speed card reader for under $30.00 discounted now.

Only, the Memory Card is solid state, and much smaller -- reuseable over and over again.

It looks just like any other drive to your PC (you can copy files from it, etc.)

Can you tell us more about why you are using the 10x Zoom to take the photos? Do you have a special lighting arrangement in place?

Bear in Mind, that today's higher resolution cameras (i.e., 4 and 5 megapixels) wouldn't even need an Optical Zoom to easily "crop out" the middle section of an image for web use.

Many cameras have pretty good macro modes (the Nikon I gave you is an example of one).
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 9:59 PM   #3
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Yes, it seems there is a lot that I do not understand about digital camera technology. I assumed I needed a 10x since that is what I had before. You see, I need pictures of my jewelry and they need to be clear and precise, some pieces are only 1/4" long. Everytime I went into a store to look at cameras I could never seem to get the camera to focus clearly onto my jewelry piece that I brought with me. And getting help from the clerks is another story.
So correct me then, I DO NOT need the 10x, but do need macro with high pixel?
The reason I steared away from using the memory card was I feel that adding another $60-80 onto my cost was something I wanted to stay away from. And the CD's are re-writable, and I can use them for permanent storage.
Another reason for choosing the Mavica line was the size of the LCD screen. These newer small screens are so small its hard for me to tell the quality of the picture until I process it on my computer.
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 10:00 PM   #4
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Kat:

Did my last post make sense? Your Mavica is taking the photos at 640x480 resolution, so the file sizes are small (but this is plenty of resolution for auction listings).

You can also take photos at lower resolutions with most newer models, too. So, you can get a LOT of photos at lower resolution on a very inexpensive memory card (that you can reuse over and over -- just like you'd reformat a floppy disk).

The difference, is that the Tiny Memory Cards have MUCH more space available than on a floppy disk.

There is no advantage to using media like Floppy Disks, unless you want permanent storage of the photos, away from your PC (in which case a CD Writer is preferred anyway). Also, the solid state Memory Cards are dramatically faster. The look just like any other disk drive when the camera is attached to your PC, too. Your PC would need USB Ports. But, if it doesn't have USB, it's cheap to add (under $20.00 for a high speed USB port card).

Give us a better idea of your lighting arrangement for the photos, and what kind of PC and Operating System you have (Windows 98, etc.).
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 10:08 PM   #5
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OK... I must have been typing at the same time as you (your last post wasn't there when I was typing).

Basically, you will need a camera with a Macro Mode. That's probably why the cameras were not focusing properly (the sales clerk did not utilize the correct focus mode).

Some cameras can take photos VERY close to an object. You will need good lighting. How are you lighting your jewelry now when you take a photo (light shined on it, only room light, trying to use flash, etc.)?
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 10:18 PM   #6
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Thanks so much for taking time with me. I so appreciate it.
I take the photos under a regular 60 watt bulb that is right above the jewelry, and an additional one with the flex neck so I get it from all sides. I also take pictures outside in the sun which tends to really look good, but its Wisconsin in December! BRRRr...Maybe I need different lighting too. I will also need to have manual focus, as sometimes the lighting is hard to work with, and being able to manually focus helps me to "get it right". There are times I need a flash, but the mavica was so bright, I covered it with masking tape to difuse it and it did help.
I have a 2 yr old Dell computer, lots of memory, W98 SE.
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 10:33 PM   #7
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Your Dell should already have USB Ports. Basically, newer camera models come with a cable that connects the camera to the PC.

Once connected, the Memory Card in the Camera looks just like a Disk Drive (You'll see it under "My Computer" as a drive letter when it's connected).

That's how you copy files from the camera. You can also buy a USB Card Reader. This lets you remove the Memory Card from the Camera and plug it into the Reader (it saves the trouble of running the battery down in the camera while it's connected to the PC). Some users never bother with a reader, since copying photos is pretty fast via USB anyway).

One of the problems with a modern camera, is that they may not work as well in low light (i.e. incadescent bulb only), without excessive noise). Noise is similiar to film grain. Basically, today's higher resolution cameras have more pixels in the sensor. This means that they have to be much smaller, so they are more prone to noise in lower light at higher ISO speed.

Think of ISO speed as higher ASA Film.

Some cameras are better than others with noise at higher ISO speeds.

For macros in lower light, most users prefer to use a tripod (so that they can shoot at lower ISO speeds). This allows them to use a slower shutter speed without worrying about blur, and helps keep the picture looking better (not as much grain).

Some models are much better than others.

The Mavica you're looking at (CD-500) is a good camera, but it's much higher resolution than you probably need for what you are trying to do. It does have a large LCD Display though (which is something that seems to help with your focus).

Unfortunately, it's only a 3x Optical Zoom now, but it does have a macro mode. Your old Sony problems has one too, but I'd have to find a review of it to see how well it works.

Some of the Olympus models have very good macro modes. For example: the Olympus C-750UZ has a "super macro" mode, able to capture an object less than 1 1/2 inches across (larger than some of your jewelry appears to be).

Some of the Nikon models are even better (able to capture an object around 3/4" across, with virtually no distortion).

But, you need good lighting (or a tripod) with these models, because slower shutter speeds will be needed.

Give me a few minutes to look up the specs on your old camera model again. If memory serves, it had a lens able to gather more light than most cameras. This could be important to keep from changing your lighting too much with a newer model.
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 11:07 PM   #8
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Kat:

Your older Sony did have a very fast lens (able to gather more light than most). It's less dense sensor also had relatively low noise.

This combination made it easy to get good hand held shots in lower lighting conditions.

Personally, I'd go with a Nikon Coolpix Swivel Bodied Camera (Nikon 950, 990, 995, or 4500).

However, you'd probably have problems trying to take hand held non-flash photos without better lighting, compared to your old Sony -- trying to focus at very close ranges with the Nikon (using a macro mode), because you're used to using your Sony from further away with it's 400mm equivalent zoom lens.

You'll have the same problem with the newer Mavicas you're looking at, because their lens is not as fast (able to gather as much light). You would also need to use their macro mode.

There are alternatives (just crop out the center of a higher resoluton photo with software to get the same results). This would allow us to find a camera more suitable, with a faster lens and lower noise profile. This is easy to do with virtually any editing package. Bear in mind, that you have much higher resolution cameras now.

Let me give it a little more thought, and perhaps we can find something suitable. Do you really need a new camera, or is used an option?
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Old Dec 6, 2003, 11:15 PM   #9
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Oh Yes, I have no problem with a used model as long as it works for a few years! LOL....
I have a pretty good edge on Ebay since I am a good bidder and able to find some deals. If you would like to look at some of my auctions, and the pictures I have been taking with my Old Dead Mavica, here is a link:

http://cgi6.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...&sort=3&rows=0
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Old Dec 7, 2003, 12:07 AM   #10
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I've got a Nikon that I can test with, but the batteries aren't charged right now. But, I just did some quick tests under a 100 watt bulb with a different camera, and I think you can probably do fine with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 (which has exceptionally good closeup ability).

The problem you sometimes have with macros, is getting adequate Depth of Field (making sure your entire subject is in focus).

I am able to get a shot at 1/30 second at around 39mm equivalent setting (wide angle setting), at F4.7 (which is good enough DOF for the way your jewelry looks) under a single 100 watt bulb (table lamp). This is staying at ISO 100 on a 5 Megapixel Pocket Camera I've got, so noise is still low.

The 4 Megapixel Nikon Coolpix 4500 would have slightly lower noise.

I can get much faster shutter speeds with F2.8 (but DOF is more limited).

So, I think that this would probably be a very good option for you.

It would take a little learning (different technique than you are used to).

What I would do, is go down to a Ritz Camera (you probably have one near you). They have a sale on the Nikon Coolpix 4500 right now for $349.99 (factory reconditioned).

It has a Macro Mode that will allow you to get very close to your jewelry. I'd bring a piece with you, and ask to let you place it under a table lamp and try the macro mode. Hopefully, there is someone there that knows how this model works, and can let you try it.

Based on some quick tests with a different camera taking a few photos under a Table Lamp with a 100 watt bulb, it should allow fast enough shutter speeds to get sharp photos of your jewelry (only holding the camera much closer than you are used to, as it is able to focus very close to the subject in macro mode).

You will probably want to tell them to put the camera in "P" Mode. This is on the mode dial. This lets you turn a wheel on the camera to vary the shutter speed and aperture used.

Basically, you want to try some test shots using different apertures for the best focus (depth of field). Hopefully, the salesperson will understand how to do this.

Anyway, it's a very good deal for what is probably the most capable macro camera on the market today (but it's no longer being manufactured by Nikon). Apparently, Ritz made a deal with Nikon to buy all of their refurbished models. Here it is, so you can see more about it:

http://www.ritzcamera.com/webapp/wcs...1&cmCat=SEARCH

Hopefully, they have demos at the store, with a knowledgeable staff that can help you with it. Basically, you will be able to get very close to your jewelry items with it. You can set the resolution to 640x480 if desired. This will allow around 140 photos on the supplied memory card before you need to upload them to your PC (with JPEG mode in Normal). It also comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and charger.

If it looks like it may work, you may want to buy a bigger memory card (CompactFlash) for more photos and a spare battery. It will attach to your PC via a USB cable (where the Memory Card in the camera will look just like a disk drive for copying the photos from the camera). You can also get an inexpensive card reader that works the same way (only allowing you to plug the card into a reader).

Here's an example of one that reads lots of card types (but you can find a cheap one that works with just CompactFlash for even less). I've seen this one for under $30.00 discounted:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2003_..._mcr-usb2.html

Steve has a review of the Nikon Coolpix 4500 here that explains more about it.

http://www.steves-digicams.com/2002_...nikon4500.html

This model can focus from 3/4" to infinity in macro mode.

It also has a feature known as "Best Shot Selector" that is unique to Nikon that is very helpful with macros.

Basically, when this mode is engaged, you press and hold the shutter button for multiple photos (hold it down for 5 or 6). When you release the shutter button, it automatically saves the sharpest one.

This is very useful for getting very sharp photos of small objects.

Take a look at the review here, and come back and ask more questions. This is the camera I would want if I needed closeups of jewelry.

It's much higher resolution than you really need, but you could use it for other purposes, too. Since it's been factory reconditioned, I'd trust it more than a used one, too.

It's an extremely well made camera. But, Ritz offers extended warranties on it if you are worried about trouble down the road with it, since you want something that will last you a while (you'll see them on the link I provided to the camera above).
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