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 Post subject: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:27 am 
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Location: Prescott, Arizona
Hello all,

Can someone offer some guidance on what to purchase camera wise that will give me the ability to actually look up close on spiders etc? I found a jumping spider today. greyish white in color. Reasonable size. I couldnt get very good pictures at all with the camera. Get up too close and its all a blur. Id like to be able to take nice shots like Ollie I think it was in another Thread that was made for the harvestmen. I would LOVE to be able to capture something close to that level of detail with a camera!


Also, in the TKG they refer to having a Headband Magnifier as well as a magnifying lens. Can anyone give me a better understanding of what exactly Id be purchasing here? This is an example of what I was looking at and became confused with. I assume a basic model is sufficient but really wouldnt know.

http://headbandmagnifier.net/default.aspx

Id naturally choose a cheaper one but, for example, if for $10-$20 more I could get a notable steup up by going to the next model etc I would reather do that!

Any tips and/or help is greatly appreciated!


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:29 am 
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OK, first I'm going to move this to the "photography and video" forum. Secondly, you can get nice shots with point and shoot cameras. If you search the user "Frank" he worked on photography for a while using a point and shoot camera with an extra lens attached to it. Very nice stuff, tunedbeat used a similar system a few years ago as well.

As for the harvestmen links, those photos were acquired with a camera which runs a couple of thousand dollars and a very nice lens. Are setups which cost thousands needed to get great pictures? Nope. I know RobC takes great pics, and I think he's still using non-professional camera equipment.

Diane just needed practice using her camera, and in less than a year, she's uploading really great shots! Are you using a point and shoot? If so does it have a macro feature?

A headband magnifier is what you found, a goofy looking set of lenses on a band. What were you hoping to do with them?

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 8:22 am 
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I am using the following:

Canon 40D Body
100MM macro UMV lense
430EXII Speedlite flash w/ a 12" softbox diffusser.

The set up will cost a couple grand but it is WELL worth it!


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:44 pm 
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Location: Prescott, Arizona
Thats what Id like to get eventually. My wife and I do hike places like the grand canyon etc so eventually we would like to get a setup like that Rob.

Sorry for posting this in the general forum. I for some reason hadnt noticed the photography section lol.

The headband was intended to be able to get a more up close look at spiders I come across like the jumping spider from last night. Does noone get a close up look at their spiders at all? THe TKG recommends them for a kit whose function I have forgotten now. Id like to get them to do hat Ive said....look closer!

I dont know specifically what type of camera you are refering to when you say point and shoot. I assume a simple model like this one my WIFE...cant stress taht enough....WIFE...owns that I USE for these pics. It cant get anywhere near fine enough to get even a basic close up. Zoooming in maybe 1/4 of its max zoom produces a zoom. Sometimes it can resolve it and pull a good picture out but most of the time it fails. Oh and I dont have a clue about the camera. Havent even bothered to look into the instructions for it. My wife has them so maybe Ill take a look there.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sanyo-VPC-X1250P/14170516

Thats it. I would like to think it is capable of more, but Im not too confident it is....


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:32 pm 
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http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=w ... jg&cad=rja

If that link works, that's the users manual. It does have a "macro" feature, which should get you a bit closer. The trick is to not zoom all the way in, most point and shoots, which is what that lovely pink camera is, have two types of "zoom". One is optical, the second is digital. When we zoom in past the optical, the digital takes over, making things appear bigger. Digital zoom, in my opinion is garbage usually. I suggest, playing with the camera when it is set on the "flower" or macro mode, and getting close to something, while it is still in focus, and then zooming only optically. Most cameras have some sort of light or display or noise when they cross that line into the digital zoom. Then once you're in focus and zoomed in, hit the ol' shoot button.

The autofocus on many of these cameras likes to slide around. I know it took Diane a while to figure out how to trick her camera into staying focused! As she learned, and you will too, a 12 megapixel camera with a macro setting is usually enough to get nice shots of tarantulas and insects.

Keep practicing!

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:24 pm 
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While the higher level dSLRs from Canon and Nikon are absolutely amazing if you can afford them, the entry-level models are more than sufficient. There's some amazingly good macro photography taken with the kit 18-55mm f/3.5 lens, and a 60mm macro is relatively affordable as an addition.

National Geographic did an experiment a few years back to lay to rest the never ending "Does the camera make the photographer?" question. Most people are under the impression that the better the equipment, the better the photography, but after handing out Canon Rebels to all the staff photographers and telling them that was all they could use, the results were quite the opposite.

In addition to that, and I will try to track down the name if anybody would like, there is a famous elderly gentleman who takes absolutely stunning photos with an amazingly cheap point-and-click. I apologize in advance for a bit of a cliche, but the best equipment is truly whatever falls in your price range and feels best to you. The features do get neater as you move up the scale, no denying that, but all they boil down to is bells and whistles.



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:18 am 
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So the knowledge of the camera wielder is the post potent tool, regardless of the camera of choice.....generally speaking =). Thanks for the feedback Christian and animalinstinct! Greatly appeciated. I will tinker with this camera which I literally only point and shoot with atm.


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:49 am 
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He did say it better, but yes, camera really doesn't matter much. It's just practice and a little know-how. Keep after it.



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:02 am 
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Christian, when you said that the camera has a "macro" feature, what did that mean?

Ive gone through the menus but most of it I am clueless as to its function. Would you mind if I went through the different options it has here and you could possibly provide an explanation of each? I have a picture or 2 I want to take but I dont think I can get the camera to take a decent picture of it with my limited knowledge at this point!


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:40 am 
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Just to cover a few terms quick, I noticed you mentioning them earlier:

dSLR or SLR: (digtal) Single Lens Reflex, this is the higher end (read, more expensive) camera that uses a mirror that gives you the ability to look through the viewfinder and see what you are taking a picture of directly through the lens. Most if not all of these have interchangeable lenses (aka glass) that are responsible for the amount of optical zoom (from 10mm wide angle lenses to ridiculously large telephoto lenses in the 5200 mm range, most come with an adjustable 18-55mm, macro is usually done in the 60-200mm range) and focal area of the photographs.

Point & Click: The name given to lower end (read, affordable) cameras due to the fact that you generally don't maintain much control over a lot of the settings, cannot change your lens and will turn one on, point it, click it, and you're done.

If you're using the camera you linked to earlier, the macro feature Christian mentioned is activated with a button on your circular keypad on the back of the camera. The bottom/down button has a Flower on it for "Macro Mode" and attempts to set your camera up to be best suited for close up shots. This is done by using wider apertures and faster shutter speeds, and can be surprisingly effective on point and click cameras. I know somebody on another forum that uses one for macro shots of her jumping spiders and they're just amazing.



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:49 am 
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Does your camera have a little "flower" on the dial or somewhere in the menu?



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:18 am 
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When I press the "flower Button", left to right. The first one has 4 options. I can set it to:
Photograph 1 image
Self-timer 2 sec
Self-timer 10 sec

Hi-Speed SeQ.
Sequential
Video Clip

These are the options under the "Flower Button" =).

Under the menu button I have:
Resolution
Compression
Photo Stabilizer
Focus Mode
Exp Measure
ISO
White Balance
Ex Compensation
Distortion Correct.
Insert Date on Image. ......I get this one =p.

The Scene button has the following options:
Auto
Sports
People and Objects
Landscape
Night Portrait
Smile Detection
Fireworks
Lamp
Photo with Audio
Best Shot
Face Chaser
Monochrome
Sepia
Contrast
Vivid


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:35 pm 
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Hmm. I think we're having some communication difficulty. Could you repost that model and make again? I will try to hunt down the users manual. In my experience, you set the dial to "flower" = macro. Some of those other things are shooting modes, and vivid might work well, but only after you get it into macro mode.



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:29 pm 
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This is the camera I linked earlier.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sanyo-VPC-X1250P/14170516

It is in fact the X1250.


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:31 pm 
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The one we have says VPC-X1250. There is no P at the end like the one in that link.


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:49 pm 
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OK, so the user's manual is here:

http://www.sanyo.de/produkte_daten/digi ... GB_2_E.pdf

Check out page 54, and set the camera for "macro" which is the flower. This will allow you to focus on things within a few inches of the camera.

Now then, this is what I suggest... practice on something which is small, but not a tarantula. I like to use pens or my watch face, coins work too. Now then, we don't want to get too close to our tarantulas, because they can spook, so I would suggest starting at roughly 6". Allow the camera to focus on your object at 6", then zoom in up to 3x. Anything over 3x on your camera is an electronic zoom, which usually looks not so good. Then gently depress the button. If you start way out and zoom in, the camera will usually hold focus. If you get bad blur, look at the images and see if ANYTHING is in focus. If the table or whatever is, then the focus point moved, and you'll need to work on that. If NOTHING is in focus, then it might be too little light, which keeps the shutter open for too long, and your hand shaking is causing the blur.

The biggest mistake people make is getting the camera too close and not allowing it to focus. Anyway, give that a go, and see if that helps with some of the up close shots. Once we get this down, we can start talking about improving our tools and skill set.

OH! You might want to try a desk lamp to help light things up. I skip flash whenever I can, and by increasing your light, you decrease blur from movement.



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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:57 pm 
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Your awesome Christian thanks! I will work on it!


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:39 pm 
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Desklamp! Facepalm! the electronic flash on my camera is really annoying, and covering with tissue to diffuse it was not working nearly as well as I would have liked. Time to practice with the camera.....


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:11 pm 
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I have tried, and occasionally succeeded, balancing a flashlight and camera to get the increased light without using the flash. Sometimes while also standing on my head to try to get the shot and not disturb the spider.


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 Post subject: Re: Cameras and magnifiers!
PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:38 pm 
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Isn't it fairly standard to stand on your head while taking T shots? It seems only logical that's why the center bar on my tripod can also mount upside down.



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