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Old Feb 4, 2003, 2:29 AM   #1
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hey everyone my name is charley and im new to the whole photography scene. i just had a couple of questions. i wanna take a pretty big picture of my aquarium. its 30 inches long and 14 inches high. i don't want a life size picture but a pretty big one so i can frame it up. also, im looking into purchasing a digital camera in the near future to take pics of my tank. im looking to spend around 200-300 bucks. what would be my best bet for a digi cam?
thanks
-charley
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 1:11 PM   #2
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The size of the tank is not an issue. Move back until it's all in. However, to prevent barrel distortion move back and use as much zoom as you can. When it comes to P&S cams (your price range) I like the Fujis.

You don't mention what size exactly you want your picture, A4, A3 etc. In your price range (2-3MP) I think you are limited to A4 and not much more to get a decent picture. You can't blow up a picture to any size without loss of quality If you want more than A4 have you got an A3 printer? or do you intend to have it printed professionally.

Another issue will be lighting. I suspect you will struggle to use the flash as this will cause reflections. A long exposure on a tripod is probably best (if the fish are still). Get as much natural light on the tank as you can to help the white balance and reduce exposure time.

Failing that try buying some halogen bulbs and put them in lamps close to the tank to illuminate it. You'll need to experiment.

I once took a photo of a picture behind glass and to stop the reflection I shot at an angle but this distorted the picture but I sorted it out with some post processing.

Not quite as simple as it sounds I'm afraid.
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 4:51 PM   #3
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cool thanks steve.
welll, i wanted to have the picture be about half the size of the actual tank it self. but yeah, i agree with you, i was looking into fuji cameras (specifically the finepix 3800). once i get the camera, i will fiddle around and try to get the best shots.
cheers
-charley
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 5:08 PM   #4
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Charley

Look at the Olympus D550. 3mp, 3X optical, good optics and small. Check the prices and vendor ratings at www.dealtime.com

Phil
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 5:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
The size of the tank is not an issue. Move back until it's all in
Actually it could be! The tank is 30"X 14" that's a 2.1:1 aspect when most cams are giving 1.33 - and the fishes might be small.

In simple terms, for whole tank pics you need more Mpix to crop the image which you say will be printed quite big. In addition you're shooting thru glass so look at cams with good manual focus. It's too late to do the sums for you, but you might be looking at minimum 3-4 Mpix.

I've never shot a fish tank, but what about a slave flash over the top and matte black card around 3 sides? If you can get the flash tube to align with a top rear glass edge that might work as well.
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Old Feb 4, 2003, 9:23 PM   #6
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Someone else awhile back asked about taking fishtank related pictures (of the fish? I don't recall.) You should try searching to find the advice they were given. I believe they were happy with their results.

You might try stitching multiple pictures together. I've never tried this myself, but it can get you a larger picture than your camera can normally acheive (with the same quality.) Of course, there are a lot of problems with this idea: the fish having moved between shots and getting the camera placement correct for both shots... I assume stitching two pictures of a subject this close will require fairly exact placement of the camera because just rotating it could produce prospective problems.

I'm just guessing here, someone should correct me if I'm wrong!

Eric
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Old Feb 5, 2003, 12:47 PM   #7
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I'm just guessing here, someone should correct me if I'm wrong!
Well worth a try I'd say - good idea. Now where's that softwear which allows you to make a mosaic.[/quote]
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Old Feb 6, 2003, 12:55 AM   #8
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I'd start by checking out:
http://www.panoguide.com/

you can thank BillDrew for that link, taken from this thread:
http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=7077

I haven't looked at this site much, but it seems like a place which will have good advice and info on stitching pictures together.

Eric
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Old Feb 6, 2003, 8:48 AM   #9
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Panoguide is a great site for general info on panoramas, but it is getting seriously out of data so don't spend a lot of time looking at the software reviews there.

To the specific issue of stitching images of an aquarium: it might be possible, but likely as difficult as any stitching I can imagine. Being close will emphasize nodal point (parallax) issues and shooting through glass will emphasize the problem of keeping exposure constant. Lighting the aquarium so there would be no glare in any of the "frames" would not be easy. The use of hot lights will likely change the behaviour of the fish, and few (if any) affordable flash units produce exposures consistant within a quarter stop or so.

I would not recomend trying that until you had done a fair number of panoramas of easier subjects and had become very familiar with some fairly advanced stitching software to be able to deal with things (fish) moving.
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