Technologically challenged....what to get

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by iMacZealot, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #1
    My sister is technologically challenged and her work requires a lot of that from her. She's an artist, and she takes pictures of her work, uploads them to her PC, and puts them onto her website and on her brochures she sends out to galleries. She has an aging 3.1 MP Kodak that's just not cutting it. She wants the best quality possible but it needs to have great software with it. What camera should she get? I've always liked Canons. And as for software, she uses a five year old Dell laptop, so no iPhoto here.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2005
    #2
    Box Brownie. No technological knowledge required although some chemistry wouldn't hurt in getting a good mix of flash powder.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #3
    Well that sure helped. We have one in our basement! Seriously, we do, but what should she get? I think she'd like the Canon SD40, especially because it comes in colors. Afterall, she is an artist. But I do like the ease of use thing.
     
  4. cgratti macrumors 6502a

    cgratti

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2004
    Location:
    Central Pennsylvania, USA
    #4
    How about the Canon PowerShot G7?

    Here is a quick review of it....

    The PowerShot G7 features an incredible 10-megapixel CCD. It produces excellent image details even when printed large and also enables several new benefits such as Digital Teleconverter and Safety Zoom.
    6x Optical Zoom Lens with IS
    Features a 35-210mm equivalent zoom lens with image stabilization. Designed specifically for the 10-megapixel CCD, this lens features a new internal focusing system and an advanced dual-sided aspherical lens element for the best possible results.

    DIGIC III Image Processor
    Takes the performance and speed of DIGIC II to even higher levels of processing power including new face detection function, up to 1600 speed ISO, high-ISO noise reduction, lower power consumption, increased speed for SD media cards, and higher resolution image processing for enhanced LCD viewing.

    Face-Priority AF/AE
    Intelligent Face-Priority AF mode reliably detects faces and focuses on them. Detects three faces when shooting in standby and up to nine when shutter button is pressed halfway. When faces are detected the exposure is also biased for proper facial illumination while maintaining overall scene brightness.

    Large 2.5-Inch Color LCD Monitor
    Enjoy composing and reviewing images with wide view 2.5-inch LCD monitor. With this size LCD screen, it is quite easy to navigate through the menu and utilize the direct printing features.

    Hot Shoe
    Versatile design allows for use of any current Canon Speedlite including macro flashes and wireless TLL. (Off-camera flashes and accessories not included--must be purchased separately.)

    Digital Teleconverter and Safety Zoom
    "Virtual teleconverter" simulates the effect of a 1.4x or 2.3x physical teleconversion lens. With Safety Zoom, digital zooming is initially limited to preserve maximum pixel resolution.

    3:2 Guide and Widescreen Mode
    Helpful 3:2 guide masks the LCD screen to reveal the printable area of a standard 4 x 6-inch print. Also, capture still images in a 16:9 aspect ratio to view on widescreen computer monitors and televisions.

    My Category
    Improves playback experience by allowing user to put images into seven categories: People, Scenery, Events, Category 1-3, or To Do. With My Category deleting and protecting images has never been easier.

    Waterproof Case
    Expand creative photo opportunities with the waterproof case WP-DC11. Take up to 130 feet underwater and still utilize all of the controls the camera has to offer. (This case is not included. It must be purchased separately.)



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  5. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #5
    Art reproduction is tricky, I'd suggest seeing if there's a local photographer who can do a great job at a good price first. It's really mostly about lighting, and that part hasn't been automated if you're not just taking snapshots. Good shots sell art- I'd at the very least see if there's a good art photog around and have them do some shots and see if it increases gallery pick-ups and sales.

    For the screen, 3.1MP should be more than enough. For brochures, it really depends on the size of the picture, but unless she's doing full-page shots I don't think the issue is megapixels, though it may be in color, contrast and lighting.
     
  6. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Mar 11, 2005
    #6
    She could not have a local photographer do it. She paints too much. She probably painted close to 50 paintings this summer and she needs to do it herself.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    Oct 5, 2006
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    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    Number of paintings shouldn't have anything to do with it-- If you're selling something, it's a business and in business it's about the numbers. Getting pricing from a photographer who's good at it is a good first step.

    If you can move the art more quickly, you can move more of the art, or you can get representation in more galleries at a price point that makes sense for the per-print prices and number of prints you're producing, and it saves you from spending time not producing your primary product, then the business decision is easy. Being stubborn without getting pricing is counterproductive to the business.

    Someone with the right lighting and a copy stand is likely to be able to produce reproductions that could even turn into a lithograph business- a $600 point and shoot isn't going to get you the right lighting for that.

    Good photography isn't about megapixels and good reproduction work is about color managment, lighting and image control.

    If snapshots will sell the work, then almost any current production camera from almost any manufacturer will do the job-- because art is a visual medium, and people make purchase decisions almost immediately upon viewing it in a sales environment. They may waffle for an hour or so over the price, but you can tell almost immediately if you're going to sell a work to a client.

    Good photography isn't about the camera, it's about the photographer. Seriously if you're not going to outsource it to someone who can light it right, then pick the number of pixels based upon the sensor size and the reproduction size necessary- any of the well-rated modern cameras from {Canon, Fuji, Nikon} will produce a good image at whatever working distance is necessary to get the work in focus, though the size of the works and the amount of space you have to work in will affect which lens you choose, or if you can get away with a fixed lens camera. Learn to white balance well, and pick a camera where you *can* white balance, or keep a white card or gray card just at the edge of the frame to balance in PP (or better yet, a card with white, black and gray to eyedropper in Photoshop) and crop it out of the final result. Consider the cropping in the resolution of the camera, and if she has to do work of differing sizes.

    Slower lenses will necessitate more stable support, but cost less and generally have more chromatic variance. The dpreview site has really good reviews with test shots- try to pick one with good color accuracy, as you want to represent the work as it is for galleries, they'll get happier as they realize the art they're buying looks as it was advertised.
     
  8. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #8
    She isn't reproducing the images full size and selling them from a picture she took ---- no artist in his or her right mind would do that; she uses giclees.

    She just needs a new camera that takes good pictures. Is that so hard to understand???
     
  9. maxi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina
    #9
    I was thinking along those lines too, what she needs is a good tripod and some creative lighting.
     
  10. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #10
    But can you recommend a good camera to go along with it?
     
  11. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #11
    Fuji Finepix F30
    Canon Powershot A630

    Sony DSC-S600

    I'm not sure what camera would be "simple" because when you get to "really simple" you get to the low-end 2MP cameras they sell in the drugstores and whatnot, and those generally don't take very good pictures. However, with these cameras it shouldn't be too hard to just set it to AUTO or whatever and just snap some photos.

    Canon and Olympus have good software. I've never used Fuji or Sony, but a lot of people use Sony cameras so the software shouldn't be too bad. Casio has some good cameras, but HORRIBLE software.
     
  12. cr2sh macrumors 68030

    cr2sh

    Joined:
    May 28, 2002
    Location:
    downtown
    #12
    whoa whoa whoa... when did that happen?

    I've been watching for this camera for a year now and all the sudden you just drop the dets on it?

    :)

    Get this! No doubt about.. the G's are great cameras!
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    Actually, for repro work, good flat, even lighting that doesn't produce any hot spots is the key (no pun intended) if it's 2d work and good diffuse and creative lighting if it's 3d work.

    Good lighting is an art in and of itself. People spend more on lighting than you're planning to spend on a camera.

    You've got two choices in lights, strobes (flashes) or hot lights.

    Strobes take a lot of skill to use in a way that allows you to not make it look like the flash pictures you're used to seeing in family snaphots, and require either a camera with a pc sync cord socket or an on-camera flash that can be adjusted down to not affect the picture or affect the picture in a controlled way, or a hotshoe and adapter or trigger device. Your sister isn't likely to learn to do good flash photography inside several months without a metric buttload of time, some good books and some professional help.

    The other alternative is hot lights, like the work lights you get at Home Depot. They typically have color balance issues (hence the previous white balance points above.) They're also hot, so diffusing them requires a lot of care if you don't want to start a fire. They do allow you to do all the positioning and check for shadows/highlights a lot easier than any other kind of light. They're also cheaper.

    Almost any decent camera will work with hot lights, again, working distance, the ability to crop and color fidelity are going to make the most difference.
     
  14. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    If she wants profesional quality reults she will need to buy the "standard" setup everyone has been using for this kind of work. It's called a "copy stand". It has three arms one to hold the camera and two that hold lights. The camera needs to be held exactly square on and centered ove the work while the lights need to be on either side of the camera and aimed so as to hit the artwork at 45 degree angle.

    As for which camera. It maters little but you need a flat feild copy lens. Most true macro lenses are flat field. I'd use a 60mm Nikon macro lens on a D50. For smaller sized prints the D50 is good enough.

    Lights. She can choose either strobes or "hot light". Strobes can be cheap as they will be used in manual mode so you don't need the automatic TTL thing. Hot lights cam be bought at Home Depot but those reflectors might have "hot spots" so people buy video lights. or rig defusers. cheap video lights that run on AC power work well but they don't call them "hot lights" for nothing. I like strobes.

    Of course she could just use any old point and shoot and take the painting outdoors on and overcast day and do a hand held shot. It all depends on her quality requirements. Does she care about exact color matching? Geometric distortion? Noise?.... If she spends $1500 and does 150 paintings in three years that is only $10 each. and if this is a bussines less because the $1500 is deductable
    Before you buy equipment it helps to write down your requirements for image quality. What you can "live with" and what you can't

    The hot shoe actually makes this camera very atractive for this type of work. You really can not use on-camera flash for flat copy work. Hot shoe allows a sync cord to conect a pair of off-camera strobes. But the canon does not do RAW format. Look at the Olympuse sp350. It has a hot shoe also.

    But really a DSLR is the way to go here. That way you have the option of buying the right lens that can focus a flat object.
     
  15. extraextra macrumors 68000

    extraextra

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Can a "technically challenged" person work a DSLR though? And then there's the price of the body + good lens which will probably run to $1000, if not more. There's no point to buying a DSLR just to use it in the Auto mode.
     
  16. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #16
    I have to take issue with the numbers, they don't account for (a) the time spent doing this per print (shooting and PP) (b) The time taken away from creating the artwork (different than a, because you're now not spending that time on your primary business, though generally not used for accounting purposes and (c) loss of sales if you do a poor job (difficult to quantify, but probably the biggest issue.) If you're moving artwork, then A and B are crucial, if you're not, you really have to hope it's not because of C.
     
  17. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

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    Mar 11, 2005
    #17
    HA HA HA, nobody here seems to understand art!

    You're forgetting paint costs, paper, framing (ouch), shipping (double ouch), printing brochures for all those galleries, and mailing all of them. My parents gave her about $20,000 for a solo show she did in DC with 20 paintings. Getting going in the art industry is anything but cheap! And she's probably going to do close to 150 paintings this year. Framing and shipping are so expensive, and very tricky as she's had two paintings destroyed by UPS.

    Your comparison seriously makes me laugh! And duplications using 3.1 MP cropped images? You people made my day in terms of humor. You can stop now.
     
  18. VanMac macrumors 6502a

    VanMac

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Rampaging Tokyo
    #18
    Hey.

    Forget all the answers to questions you didnt even ask.

    If your sister has been getting by with a crappy old kodak, I'm sure most new point and shoots would be an improvement.

    I would stick with Canon or Nikon. I have a Canon SD550, and it has been a great little camera.

    You should try and take her to a store and have her play around with a few, and just get her whatever she likes best.
     
  19. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #19
    Finally someone that's not talking ****!!! I think I might get her to use a Canon, as everyone else in my family has been using. What do you think --- the SD600 or 630? or even the 550?

    Also, what's a good printer, too? Should I get a canon one or one from HP or Epson?

    Thank you, VanMac!!!
     
  20. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816

    fivetoadsloth

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    #20
    I agree. Take her to a store and see what she likes the most. Any newer point and shoot camera will do they job, and they are all better than what she has. Good luck getting a new camera is always fun.
     
  21. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #21
    Dude, why are you asking questions, and then when people who KNOW what they're talking about reply, you shoot them down while waiting for some answer you want to hear?

    Now you're asking about printers... but will you even listen to any advice people offer you?
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #22
    ^^Exactly.

    Any point and shoot will do the job if a 3.1 MP Kodak is only just becoming a limitation for her work.

    ChrisA meant that if you spent $1500 on CAMERA EQUIPMENT, and your sister created 150 paintings per year, it would only work out to be $10 per photo per year. The camera and equipment would last her longer than 2 years, so it's really not costing much at all.

    I think you should learn to read.
     
  23. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #23
    maczealot... it seems that you are asking for advice on a subject that you don't really want advice on, and most of the well-thought-out answers were well intentioned, and had a lot of great information, even if more information than you seemed to be interested in. Don't act as if you're being offended because folks try to share their knowledge. As for which point and shoot, i.e. the Canon SD 600, or SD 630, or SD 550.... well, really, what's the difference which one you suggest. They all do pretty much the same thing, and there is plenty of information on each of these cameras at dpreview and other similar sites. Basically it seems to me that if you are looking at helping her get a P/S camera, what's there to really say as to ease-of-use for the technologically challenged? You point... and shoot. That's all you have to know, it seems. I'm wondering what answers you really are looking for that you don't seem to already have figured out? If the color of the camera is a selling point, then does any of this matter?

    As for printers, they're all probably fine for the purposes you are looking for, since the camera is a point a shoot. I'm a bit partial to the Canon printers because of the lower price of ink cartridges, and really good quality prints, but HP and Epson will also do just fine. Maybe you should just take her to the camera store, and let her fall in love with something she wants. It's really that easy. Cheers, -pdx
     
  24. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #24
    Yeah, if you don't specify any particular requirement such as physical size or zoom ability, then we really can just suggest anything, and I'm sure it'd do the job. Your demands don't seem to be very high.

    I'm one of those people who's under the belief that almost all point & shoot cameras, and even most DSLRs, are going to give you great results. Just go with Pentax or Fuji or something. The Canon's are ok, but the battery indicator (or lack thereof) bothers me too much. They're not bad though.
     
  25. iMacZealot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2005
    #25
    Ok, I'm going to do a quick reply to every post here.

    Chundles: Perhaps a chuckle, but no help. Sorry!
    cgratti: Great help, but that camera seems a little too advanced for her.
    compuwar: Ok, good advice about the lighting, although she doesn't have time to run to a photographer for every little painting. I might talk to her about the lighting and we could try taking these two desklamps I've modified (i'm a film editor) into good camera lights and placing them around the painting and taking the picture way at the top. And I think Megapixels are somewhat imiportant as we put her pictures full screen on her PC and they weren't looking so good. But overall, also looking at your second post, we'll sort of make a make-believe copy stand by putting the painting on the floor, the lights on either side, and the camera directly over it as much as possible. We'll see how this goes. My aplogies about thinking that you thought she was selling duplications from pictures she's taken.
    extraextra:Thanks for the recommendations, but are they easy to operate? What she's pretty much looking for is a good quality camera, ease in use, and good software.
    ChrisA: See above about the copy stand. And when you said $1500 over three years, I was thinking about art supplies, not photo supplies, sorry. But this does need to be rather inexpensive, too. I am thinking about getting some lightstands for myself at the camera store, but she could maybe use them if I get some.

    To be continued.......
    I'm tired, so don't reply until I edit this message.
     

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