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Old May 30, 2007, 5:30 PM   #1
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OK so this is my dilema. I built myself a really cool photobooth that I use to take pictures of diamonds...

BUT I ABSOLUTELY HATE HATE HATE using the viewfinder! I know I could take 5x the number of photos in a day if I could do without it.

Is there a camera that will allow me to view the photo on a computer monitor screen before and after taking the photo? And as a bonus is there a camera that will allow me to adjust focus electronically so I can see the focus changed on screen instead of hunching over the stupid viewfinder trying to get it into perfect focus?

I've attached a pic I've taken with my Canon Rebel for your viewing pleasure so you can get an idea of the types of photos I'm taking. It shows a ring with a 2 carat "J" color princess shape diamond next to a 2 carat "H" one that is just loose. Obviously the "H" color one looks whiter, but it also costs $5000 more

Anyhow I really need a good camera that frees me from using the view finder so I can see it on a big screen and having focus controls via software would be even better! It would be nice to keep the Canon Macro lens but if I have to get rid of it so be it!


Thanks in advance!

Yosef

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Old May 30, 2007, 5:41 PM   #2
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Picture above is in diffuse lighting.

This pic is in direct lighting.
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Old May 30, 2007, 5:42 PM   #3
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This pic now is combination diffuse + direct lighting
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Old May 30, 2007, 7:22 PM   #4
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I'm not really sure of the details, but I believe the Canon 1D Mark III is supposed to be able to do most of what you want for around $4000. In addition, the Olympus E-330 (which I recently purchased for myself) will do some of what you want for around $500.

Beyond that you'e probably looking at a consumer digicam instead of a dSLR. For the most part, an SLR is designed to send the image path to an optical viewfinder until the moment a photo is taken, at which point a mirror flips in order to allow it to hit the sensor. The sensor therefore is not desiged to produce a constant electronic feed.

There have however, recently been some dSLRs that have been designed to get around this and offer the option of a "live view" on the camera LCD. One of these is the Olympus E-330, and their new models (E-410. E-510, and coming in the fall, a pro level E-3) also offer this capability.

As for the E-330, it is very good for tripod work, and especially macro work. I have no idea though about computer control, and doubt whether it's possible. One thing I do know is that it does not even have a remote cable release available (though there is one for the newer models). One advantage over the E-410 & E-510 is that it has an articulating LCD (flips up and down only).

So what you would be able to do is set it up on a tripod, pointed at your subject, set the screen for comfortable viewing, hit a button to zoom in 10x, and then fine tune the focus manually (which gives very precise focus for macro work). You can also set it up where you can use the AE button to autofocus in manual mode. So autofocus, zoom in, then fine tune.

It would be nice to do this remotely, and I suspect that they will build this into future cameras even if it isn't availabe now, as it seems an obvious application of the technology. And I'm not sure with the Canon, but I believe they've already built some type of wiresless remote live view capability in. And Olympus has been very mum about the details of their pro model coming in the fall, which will likely be somewhat less pricey than the Canon, but still probably in the $2000+ range.

Another possibility worth looking into is the Sony R1, a discontinued fixed lens model which used an SLR sized sensor, but with an electronic viewfinder (rather than SLR), and with live view ability. I have no idea about remote control or even macro ability.

Then it's poosible you could get decent result for your purposes with a consumer digicam with a good macro mode as well, if there is one that will allow you to control it in that way.

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Old May 30, 2007, 11:53 PM   #5
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Thank you for the response, I did look into the Canon 1D MARK III and you're correct it does have the live option, and it does come with software that will let you control/focus the camera remotely, and even more cool you can do it wirelessly over a wifi-network. But the $4000 price is definately steep. I looked online thinking maybe I could find it a little cheaper but it seems demand is keeping it up in the $4300-5000 range :shock:

I'm going to call the Olympus tech support and see if the 330 or the new 410/510's will come with any software or if you can purchase software that is able to do the same thing more or less. I don't mind plugging it in via firewire or whatever. If it's not available then I guess I'll seriously consider the Canon even though it's a lot of $$$$$$$$

Thanks for your help


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Old May 31, 2007, 5:41 AM   #6
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born2drv wrote:
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BUT I ABSOLUTELY HATE HATE HATE using the viewfinder!
Have you considered trying the Canon Angle Finder C? This will work with the Canon Rebel you're using now, and costs less than the Canon 1D MARK III. It seems to address all your issues, just not in the way that you were looking for.

I have one for my KM5D and I swear by it.
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Old May 31, 2007, 7:02 AM   #7
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There is also the shooting tethered option.

It doesn't allow you to check focus before the shot, but you do get to see the results immediately afterwards, and after all the shots themselves are free.

Seeing the results on a large screen is a much better way to check accurate focus than on the LCD anyway.
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Old May 31, 2007, 11:30 AM   #8
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Thank you both for your responses. Up until now I have been using the tethered way, it's just a lot of extra work, being hunched over the camera, trying to get a perfect focus, waiting for the photo to transfer over and save on the computer so you can view it, etc, etc. Being able to see it live, adjust focus live, and not needing to "check" it later will reduce a lot of steps and just make life easier. I don't take 5-10 pictures a day... I do catalog type work for my websites and up until now I've only been able to take about 25-50 pics a day. I'd like to be able to take as many as 100 pictures a day, and eventually train someone else to do it because I hate taking photos all day

The eyepeice is definately a nice addition but I would just rather see everything live, and also I'd just like to make it as idiot-proof as possible like I said so I can train someone else to do the work but still get very high quality professional results by using an SLR camera.

So I think the Mark III will be a good investment overall and will pay for itself in time saved in a year or so. But I'll wait a little bit and hopefully the price will drop $500 or so in a few months once production seems to increase.
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