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billyO

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Hello all. I'd like to take one step up from using my phone for knife pics. I have no other plans for the camera, just want something to use with my tripod (I had an older what I'll call full-bodied camera) and light tent to take better knife pics. I suppose I could make a phone holder for the tri-pod, but I would like a dedicated camera and keep my phone just a phone.

It seems as if there are a bunch of options in the $99-150 range, then the price jumps to $250-300. Like many, cheaper would be better for me, but only if I'm not throwing money away.

Thanks
 

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Hello all. I'd like to take one step up from using my phone for knife pics. I have no other plans for the camera, just want something to use with my tripod (I had an older what I'll call full-bodied camera) and light tent to take better knife pics. I suppose I could make a phone holder for the tri-pod, but I would like a dedicated camera and keep my phone just a phone.

It seems as if there are a bunch of options in the $99-150 range, then the price jumps to $250-300. Like many, cheaper would be better for me, but only if I'm not throwing money away.

Thanks
i have a 10 year old canon ixus ultracompact at work. it takes better pics than any phone made today.
otherwise you could look into a slr that is a few years old.
maybe a used nikon d5600, d3400, d7200 with the kit lens.
no phone will ever get even close to that image quality.
 

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Pick up some used APS-C DSLR with whatever lens it comes with. Phones did get better, but unless you get a high end one all you get is a wide angle lens - really not great for product photos. Also - the more important step up is the light source. Today you can find some LED lights with build in diffusors (often meant for use in kitchen and such).
 

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I just upgraded my phone last week, it's amazing how far they have come. My old Lumix shoots raw files, Apple is supposed to have a ios update that will use their own version of raw, it should be interesting.
 

billyO

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Thanks for the input, everyone. It looks like I've got a bit of searching/researching to do.
 

Bobby2shots

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Thanks for the input, everyone. It looks like I've got a bit of searching/researching to do.
Good luck with that. Nowadays, there are more dedicated-purpose cameras and lenses than ever before. Prices can get astronomical in a hurry, and since moderm-day cameras are basically "electronic" devices, with never-ending upgrades around every turn, they'll also depreciate rather quickly. If you end up going with an interchangeable-lens camera,,,, choose the lens-system BEFORE choosing a particular "camera body". (Inferno made some good recommendations above, especially the Nikon D-7200) Black Friday deals are also just around the corner.

That said, your existing camera may already meet all of your needs. If you buy "used",,, buy from a trusted source. The last thing you need is dealing with a "used" lens that has "fungus issues" or some other problem. You really don't need anything special for shooting "stills". You've stated that you have a tripod and a light-tent, and those will be a big help in achieving good results. Do you have a decent ball-head?

The new higher-end systems are more about elaborate auto-focus capabilities and rapid processing speed,,,, which is fine for someone who's shooting "sports" or "wild-life", "birds-in-flight", etc. "Fast" lenses (f2.8 or f;1.8 etc) can allow shooting in low-light conditions,,, but those lenses can quickly run at 4-or 5 times the cost of the camera-body.

Regarding "resolution",,,, you have to consider what you're going to do with those images. If you intend to post pictures on the web,,,, you most certainly don't need a high mega-pixel camera.

I'd recommend that you visit a web-site called Digital Photography Review,,, and read their forums. They have discussion forums for any category that you can possibly think of.

In the price-ranges you've mentioned above, you'll probably end up looking at smaller-sensor "point & shoot" cameras with fixed lenses,,, and there's nothing wrong with those, if they meet your needs,,,, but take your time and read the reviews carefully.

FWIW, I'm in Canada, but I've often purchased my photo-gear in the U.S. at Adorama. They've got a vast selection, and prices are quite good, especially as the Holidays approach. I've bought a ton of lighting from those guys (strobes, flashes, light-modifiers, etc). For heavy gear, such as tripods, light-stands, C-stands, booms, etc, I try to buy locally,,,, mostly to avoid or reduce shipping costs. I never shop "grey-market" cameras or lenses,,,, I stick to authorized dealers,,,,,,, strictly.
 

billyO

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I'd recommend that you visit a web-site called Digital Photography Review,,
Thanks for the suggestion.
you have to consider what you're going to do with those images.
Like I said in my original post, I'm looking for something to allow me to take and publish better pictures of my knives for the internet.

PS- really like your sig line!:D
 

billyO

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Which means you don't need anything expensive, pretty much.
Thank you, and I'm guessing that means I'd be OK in the $150-200 range, but because everyone has a different definition of expensive, I'll ask for your patience to clarify. Are the $250-300 cameras going to be that much better than a decent $150?
I saw a used Canon XS400IS Powershot locally for $100. Is this something to jump on?
Thanks again, and I apologize for my obtuseness regarding cameras.


PS - I'm beginning to think this question is akin to asking people what the best shoe for walking is....

PPS- I'd rather be thinking about a TIG welder.
 
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Bobby2shots

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Thank you, and I'm guessing that means I'd be OK in the $150-200 range, but because everyone has a different definition of expensive, I'll ask for your patience to clarify. Are the $250-300 cameras going to be that much better than a decent $150?

Just to put "expensive" in context,,,,the cheapest price-category that you'll find at Digital Photography Review's buying guide is,,,, "Cameras under $500." Mind you, there are a ton of inexpensive "under $200." pocket-cameras available that you'll find on websites like Best-Buy, or Wal-Mart,,, or Amazon.


I saw a used Canon XS400IS Powershot locally for $100. Is this something to jump on?
Thanks again, and I apologize for my obtuseness regarding cameras.

I'd stay away. Again,,,, read the reviews. There are probably more recent models of Canon PowerShot cameras available in that price-range. Canon's PowerShot cameras are fine cameras, and you may also want to check out Sony's CyberShot cameras (Zeiss lenses),,, or,,,Panasonic Lumix Cameras (Leica lenses),,,, or, some of the Olympus pocket cameras,,, or,,, Nikon's CoolPix cameras.

Simply put,,,, "price" buys you features,,,, for example, some cameras will have view-finders, while others don't (you have to compose your image on the LCD screen). Some camera screens are "fixed", while others have flip-screens that can articulate (good for taking selfies, or, improving visibility/reducing reflections/ enhancing shooting angles. Some have screens with better brightness and contrast,,, some have a higher degree of sharpness,,,some LCD screens are larger,,,, an on and on and on,,,,,, and that's only talking about the viewfinder.

You could write a book about lens choices. Many of these pocket-cams feature high-powered zoom lenses,,, which may seem desireable at first,,, but many of those will sacrifice low-light capability as well as image-quality and sharpness at longer focal lengths. (A good tripod and ball-head can be a big help.)

Video capability is also something which may, or may not be important to you,,,, if so, you'll want to pay attention to the auto-focus capability of the camera. Even when shooting rapid-succesion stills, you may tend to want a camera with a higher claimed frame-rate,,,say 10 FPS (frames-per-second),,,, but that's not of much use to you if 8 of the ten shots you take, are out of focus. Also be aware that while some cameras claim high frame-rates,,,, some can only sustain that rate for a VERY short period of time,,,, sometimes a mere fraction of a second. Once the buffer has reached it's capacity to transfer images to memory,,,, things can slow down dramatically.





PS - I'm beginning to think this question is akin to asking people what the best shoe for walking is....

Speaking of "shoes",,,, some cameras have a "hot-shoe" and some don't. (for mounting flash/accessories, etc)

As you can see, there's a lot of points you CAN consider,,,,,,if you want to make the effort.

If not, you can simply visit a local camera store and buy whatever a competent clerk recommends.


PPS- I'd rather be thinking about a TIG welder.
 

juice

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PS - I'm beginning to think this question is akin to asking people what the best shoe for walking is....
Pretty much, and a lot of it comes down to what you do with it (that's what she said).

Good lenses cost money because of the R&D/manufacturing involved, and they're what makes the image that you set up, which is controlled by lighting/vision/technique. Which is why I still contend that if people have a phone with a decent camera they will be ABLE to (not necessarily will) get good shots with it, because lighting/vision/technique can be done for free/very little, just takes a bit of learning.

I know this isn't super helpful, but it's one of those subjects where there's so many variables that it is hard to give direct answers to a specific case. Most people would be better off buying a phone with a good camera these days, rather than a separate camera, is my contention.
 

inferno

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i'm seriously unsure any of the phones today will beat my 2006 nikon d40x with kitlens for image quality. quite sure they wont.

if you want an ultracompact look into the canons (even though i'm a nikon guy i always likes canons compacts better).
lots of easy to access settings. like light measuring modes such as matrix/spot/center weighed.
different AF modes and zones, different white balance. most ultra compacts have a fairly good macro mode. they use memory cards that you can remove and put in your computer in like 1 second for editing.

had a fun discussion at work a month ago. one of the new guys wondered why i didn't use my phone to take pics of the broken stuff that we service.
i told him i have a real camera (the ixus) so why the hell would i use a phone. he didn't get it. then a few hours later he had massive problems getting the phones pics into his computer over bluetooth. while it took me about 2 seconds to dowload all my pic onto the computer.

biggest problems i have found using the phone vs ultracompact is:

the phone makes everything in focus. and most of the time i just want 1 since thing in focus. and i may want that single thing correctly exposed/ultra overexposed/underexposed depending on what i want to show with the pic (its usually a scratch or crack in polished metal deep inside a machine or similar). now this all pretty easy to accomplish quickly with a real camera, not so much with my phone.

blowing things up / cropping out something and enlarging it. the phone lose bigtime here. basically the phone pics looks good on the phone display and thats pretty much it.

phones dont really like lots of light, images gets washed out. but with the camera i can stop down/decrease iso. no problem.

can't select iso on the phone, it selects it for me. sometimes i need fast shutter speed to capture things that are moving without everything turning into a blur, then i need to increase iso at the cost of image quality. or the other way around, i can have the camera non handheld and therefore stable, then i can lower the iso to base and get the best possible image quality.

so there is a lot of things that are either hidden from you on a phone, hard to adjust, or simply not adjustable at all. on top of the hardware limitation already built into phones. such as: the smaller a lens gets the harder/more expensive it is to make it good.
 

Kippington

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the phone makes everything in focus. and most of the time i just want 1 since thing in focus. and i may want that single thing correctly exposed/ultra overexposed/underexposed depending on what i want to show with the pic (its usually a scratch or crack in polished metal deep inside a machine or similar). now this all pretty easy to accomplish quickly with a real camera, not so much with my phone.

blowing things up / cropping out something and enlarging it. the phone lose bigtime here. basically the phone pics looks good on the phone display and thats pretty much it.

phones dont really like lots of light, images gets washed out. but with the camera i can stop down/decrease iso. no problem.

can't select iso on the phone, it selects it for me. sometimes i need fast shutter speed to capture things that are moving without everything turning into a blur, then i need to increase iso at the cost of image quality. or the other way around, i can have the camera non handheld and therefore stable, then i can lower the iso to base and get the best possible image quality.
Dude, how old is your phone? Modern phones have settings for all that.
 

tostadas

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If simply used as point-and-shoot, modern high-end smartphones are highly capable and can produce better results than a $200 camera with automatic settings, and with no post processing required. I feel like the benefit of using a dedicated camera would be in manipulating manual settings to get exactly the shot that you are looking for. If buying new, I wouldn't recommend spending $200 on a camera because there would be minimal benefit. If you are willing to look at used, then you should be able to find something nicer than your phone, with more functionality.
 

juice

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can't select iso on the phone, it selects it for me. sometimes i need fast shutter speed to capture things that are moving without everything turning into a blur
Yeah, it's really difficult capturing photos of a quickly-moving knife, as it flashes across the landscape...
 

tostadas

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Yeah, it's really difficult capturing photos of a quickly-moving knife, as it flashes across the landscape...
Great for those juggling pics where you need to post 3 knives to BST but only have enough memory left on your computer for 1 photo.
 

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how much is a new phone with good camera(s) today? how much is a used camera? i think thats the main question.

a new phone will sureley have lots of built in cpu power to do a lot of near realtime trickery. but you will be paying a good chunk of money for that.
also what is the projected lifetime of the product? a real camera will usually last 10 years. a phone usually wont. i have a camera here that is 14 years old. it still works and still takes good shots. and when i bought it, it was the cheapest nikon dslr.
 

tostadas

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how much is a new phone with good camera(s) today? how much is a used camera? i think thats the main question.

a new phone will sureley have lots of built in cpu power to do a lot of near realtime trickery. but you will be paying a good chunk of money for that.
also what is the projected lifetime of the product? a real camera will usually last 10 years. a phone usually wont. i have a camera here that is 14 years old. it still works and still takes good shots. and when i bought it, it was the cheapest nikon dslr.
Exactly the questions I asked myself not long ago. I expect 2-3 years out of my phone. I don't see a reason to get a $1000 phone and a $100 camera. Instead, I spent a decent chunk on a good mid-range camera got a Fuji Xt-20 (was $1100 at the time with lens), and just bought the cheapest phone I could that worked, around $150. 3 years later, I still feel like the investment on the camera has been worth it. Last year I upgraded the phone to the budget Google phone, which has the same camera as the flagship model. The phone has the benefit of being super convenient; it's always with me, and takes more than acceptable photos. When I want really nice shots that can also be blown up to a canvas, I carry the camera (it's really not much of an issue).

The OP however was asking for just a cheap-ish camera to take knife photos, so $1000 may not be an investment within his budget at this time.
 

inferno

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no of course. 1k on a phone or a camera is still 1k.

i got my phone for free, and the ixus at work i got for free too. and until one of them breaks i will keep using them.
probably gonna bring my old d40x to work since i now have a d750 with a 35mm and an xh1 with the xf80mm macro at home.

a phone will probably be just fine if one dont want to spend a lot of money. and the phones pretty much killed the compact camera market. personally i'd always choose the camera though. i have lost several phones, and some have broken etc.
 

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Nick Wheeler has 2 or 3 videos on how to photograph knives - I find them pretty good. This is the first one:

 

billyO

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Again, I thank everyone for the input. It's all helpful.
Nick Wheeler has 2 or 3 videos on how to photograph knives - I find them pretty good. This is the first one:
Thanks for the link to the videos, but were you referring to Nick or Water Sorrells?
 

billyO

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i have not met anyone that only uses their camera for one single thing. have you?
No. But I have been on a quest to try and turn my phone into just a communication tool. Unfortunately, the google maps app is just too useful....
 

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i have been LOVING my camera purchase. i bet it is 3 years old, and still kicking. i find it better for travel pics. the food pics were a bonus. it is compact, does video, great battery life. i put a sacrificial clear lens filter on it and i just leave it out. i hate lens caps.

it is a FujiFilm (something..i forget) X-es something...hahha..

6F539FFF_EAB7_44A4_8D33_0BBDDF27DBC11590278046.jpg
 

inferno

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No. But I have been on a quest to try and turn my phone into just a communication tool. Unfortunately, the google maps app is just too useful....
i know what you mean. i try to use my phone only for messages and calls. i dont like putting my whole life into a spying device.

see if you can find any of these cheap used locally. these are really good cameras. they take just as good pics as the bigger ones like the 7000 series.
 

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Again, I thank everyone for the input. It's all helpful.

Thanks for the link to the videos, but were you referring to Nick or Water Sorrells?
Sorry, indeed I wanted to say Walter Sorrels ...
 
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