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Old Mar 21, 2010, 11:58 AM   #31
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Wow -- a fantastic amount of information, everyone!

I'm still

Peripatetic -- I had to laugh reading your comments -- my paintings usually do not move around too much, as a rule. :P That did clarify my need for "the best live view on the market". I think you are right, any of those models will do. Of course, I would like as versatile a camera as possible. As far as lighting goes, I am completely untaught about lighting, and don't have the space or inclination to buy lots of equipment (I'm in NYC); so I usually end up using natural light. This works great for detail shots, but in my studio at least, not for installation shots. I have a show right now at The Contemporary Museum in Hawaii, where I took installation shots with my g6 -- they're not great, but acceptable (after lots of Photoshop Elements work) for my purposes, because the lighting tends to be pretty even in museums.

Just to illustrate what I'm talking about with regard to my needs, here is an installation shot of one of my paintings:



The overall length of the work is about 25 feet.

Here is a detail:



And a closeup:



Each of the 9 images in the installation measures 1-1/2".

So you see my challenge.


Sarah -- the thing I like about the Nikon is the fully articulating lcd -- I do think that is a priority for me. I find myself in strange positions sometimes, or holding my camera off center and above my head, and have often taken advantage of my g6's swivel feature on the lcd. So I'm putting the sonys down a notch on my list.

Walter -- thanks for your input -- also very helpful, especially with regard to distortion in the lens suggested. I need to figure out what the most distortion-free lens would be, that wouldn't cost me another $500, and what bodies would work with the lens.

Also, I see that strange mounting of the d5000. I tend not to use a tripod, however, (hence the need for lots of light), but if I did, I would be okay with just using the viewfiinder.



Another question: are the Nikon lenses generally more expensive and is the selection limited for Nikon bodies?
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 12:04 PM   #32
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sorry, all -- I didn't mean for my 2nd photo to be so large!
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 12:26 PM   #33
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elizabeth-

Thanks for the post. It adds to the clarity of what is involved for you.

Regarding lens that are available for the Nikon D-500: because there is no motor drive built into the D-5000, the lens selection is somewhat limited. Currently there are more than 40 different lenses that can be used on the D-5000.

The most important element of this discussion is to get you pointed toward a selection of cameras that effectively meet your everyday needs and shooting style.Each post from you allows us to take a better bead on the target and fine tune the list of "possible" cameras.

Cameta Cameras ( a very reputable firm) currently has a large series of E-Bay auctions that are ongoing and includes the D-5000 model. These are demo cameras from Nikon, and to make the deal "sweeter," Cameta is offering a full 1 year guarantee, thus giving you the same advantages of a brand new camera right off the dealer's shelf.

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Old Mar 21, 2010, 12:42 PM   #34
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Thanks, Sarah -- the auto-focus motor is what I was worrying about.

So, I'm still thinking about the D5000 because of the lcd feature. What other cameras in this class have that? (putting aside the sonys for the time being -- i may end up going with one of these, but still want to examine all my options).
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 1:33 PM   #35
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Does anyone know about swoopo.com? is this a reliable site? I'm watching a nikon d90 auction which is in the $25 range at the moment. There doesn't seem to be any way to know when the auction will end, as the time countdown changes constantly. The site says the products are all new, factory sealed. Thanks
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 1:40 PM   #36
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Elizabeth-

While I have a lot of experience with E-Bay, my experiences with swoopo have been to the contrary. The old rule applies: if the price is way too cheap, you should be concerned!

Sarah Joyce
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 1:46 PM   #37
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anything specific you could tell me about, Sarah?
I also have a lot of experience with ebay, but just came across Swoopo. )I don't like the fact that there are no buyer reviews, and am naturally suspicious about the prices, but wonder if this site is real)
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 1:53 PM   #38
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Now that I have a little better understanding of your subject type (and their 1.5" size), I think you're underestimating the need for a tripod if your goal is to "fill the frame" with a subject that small in order get the best possible quality for reproducing the image at a larger size.

With a subject that small, you're going to need to be at close to the minimum focus distance using something like a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro lens. IOW, think having the camera around 12 inches away from your subject (or around 4 inches from the front of the lens).

With the aperture wide open (f/2.8) at a focus distance that close using a 90mm lens on a camera with an APS-C size sensor, your total Depth of Field would only be around 0.04 inches (around 2/100 of an inch in front of your focus point, and about 2/100 of an inch in back of your focus point). It would be extremely difficult to hold a camera still enough with a depth of field that shallow to get a sharp image, even if your shutter speeds were fast enough to reduce blur from camera shake. It would be tricky just to get focus very accurate at all at distances that close without stopping down the aperture from wide open.

You'd probably want to stop down the aperture some from wide open so that the entire frame is sharper for a subject that small, too. That will help with Depth of Field some. But, even if you stopped it down to around f/8, your total depth of field would still only be around 0.1" (around 0.05" in front of your focus point, and around 0.05" in back of your focus point) at a focus distance of around 12 inches with a lens like a Tamron 90mm Macro (which sells for around $459 now).

Also, when you stop down your aperture, your shutter speeds get slower for a given lighting condition and ISO speed, which means blur from camera shake (not to mention out of focus images because virtually any movement would focus errors).

In your first photo, I'm seeing a shutter speed of only 1/15 second. I don't see any ISO speed in it's EXIF. But, I'll assume it was probably close to it's lowest ISO speed of ISO 50, with the aperture close to wide open (I see f/2.5 in it's EXIF). The second image was using a much faster shutter speed of around 1/100 second with the aperture at around f/3. I'll assume it was using a much higher ISO speed of around ISO 400 for that exposure (and/or your brightened it in software later).

So, guessing light levels based on those two (without knowing the exact ISO speeds used) I'll assume lighting is such that you'll probably get shutter speeds of around 1/125 second with the aperture wide open at f/2.8 using around ISO 400 with a lens like a Tamron 90mm.

In that type of lighting, if you stopped down the aperture to around f/8 for a little more depth of field, that would mean you'd need shutter speeds of around around 1/15 second without increasing ISO speed. For a hand held camera, you'd normally want shutter speeds closer to 10 times that fast to reduce blur from camera shake with a 90mm lens on a camera with an APS-C size sensor. If you stopped it down more, even slower shutter speeds would be needed.

Sure, you could increase ISO speed. But, even if you shot at ISO 3200 and f/8 (which would degrade image quality some due to higher noise levels and/or noise reduction), your shutter speeds would still be "borderline" without using a tripod; and focus would still be "tricky" because of the very shallow Depth of Field you'd have, even if you stopped down the aperture to around f/8 or so. If you stopped it down even more, shutter speeds needed would be slower.

Now, I'm only guessing at light levels based on those two photos. But, keep in mind that you'll have a much shallower depth of field for a given subject framing and aperture using a dSLR model as compared to your little G6.

Is your goal to "fill the frame" as much as possible with paintings that small, so that they can be enlarged a bit later?

If so, I'd suggest a very steady tripod, as well as using a self timer or remote shutter release to help with any blur from caused by pressing the shutter button. A longer macro lens would also be desirable so that you've got enough working room, especially with a tripod. IOW, I'd go with something like a 150mm or 180mm if budget permits. But, the longer the focal lengths, the more expensive they'll be (and the steadier your camera will need to be to reduce blur from any camera shake, since blur is amplified as focal lengths get longer).

Have you got any photos using a different camera that include the ISO speed that was used in their EXIF? That would give us a better idea of lighting levels.

I'd give members a better idea of exactly what you intend to do with the images. If you're not going to enlarge them any past their original size for printing, that's different, and you may be able to shoot from further away and crop some later. Or, if they're for web use only, you may be able to take a different approach.
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 2:05 PM   #39
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I'm beginning to see the complications here, Jim. Thanks so much for all that thoughtful information. I need time to digest it all.

For now I have a big question: I'm not understanding why I'll have shallower depth of field with a dslr than with my g6. Depth of field and camera shake is already an issue.

I don't have any photos taken with another camera. But I can tell you that the detail shot (the close up of the 1-1/2") was taken in better natural light conditions -- flat on a white piece of paper in my studio, near a window. The g6 seems adequate for that at least. I don't intend to print those detail images at larger sizes. But I would like the option of cropping the installation images and retaining detail.
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Old Mar 21, 2010, 2:07 PM   #40
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p.s. I did lighten, color correct and fix (tried to, at least) the camera distortion in each of the first 2 photos
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