Good, Cheap Camera for Close Ups? Macro?

Hey Michael, by the way- if you are ever interested in doing it, there is always call for local theater groups and that sort of thing. The gigs are of course usually unpaid or at best a token payment, but you do get visibility and experience that is hard to get otherwise-- and theater people are a quirky amusing bunch. As you are into the Steampunk/Ren/etc fair scene, it’s pretty much that same, odd subset of folks that are the theater folks. They also tend to get really amazed and appreciative of any technical assistance on props- Making a “haunted” table jump (solenoid) and bang… that’s a miracle to them, frequently. For Blithe, they needed a crystal ball to light up, but had no way to do it without a cord. I slapped a three watt power LED and a cell phone battery in the base, and it’s the best thing sliced bread as far as they are concerned. Low effort, but amount of comments and accolades for it has been just silly. I haven’t even done anything actually involving an Arduino yet… but it will happen I’m sure of it.

If you give a call to the local arts groups, you will rapidly be inundated with requests… and though not usually rewarding cash wise, it’s usually very much so, amusement and challenge wise… over the next couple of weeks I’ll be doing Wizard of Oz, Annie, Blithe Spirit, and MacBeth. I’m sure there’s plenty around Ayer- it occured to me after chatting at KRF that if you aren’t already, you seemed the type that really ought to be well ensconced with the local theater groups.

Attached is a shot of “Charles” for “Blithe Spirit”, local theater doing it. Took the press shots for the local paper last Thursday. Supposed to come across as 1940 ish British and snobby… but look at it from the Depth of Field standpoint-- that’s where those lenses that you can drive a truck through really shine. No flash used, this is 100w Halogen PAR sidelit at about 6000K, hair and balance at about 2500K, 50w halogen and 20w LED. Next to it is a still from the original 1945 film, where Charles is played by Rex Harrison. The shot was taken with my Canon Rebel T2i, you can buy the camera with stock lens at Walmart for under $500. A Canon 50mm prime f1.8 is another $89, the f/1.4 (only recently purchased, the King Richard’s Faire gig paid for that lens) is more like $600, and still debating whether that upcharge for that increase is really worth it. I know that you are another who takes pride in good results from minimalist equipment :slight_smile:


Making shots like this happen is a LOT of fun :slight_smile: I am quite pleased with the work I did, it doesn’t look out of place even next to the original cinema work. As the guy with the camera, you become the director. Getting the “Charles” look right took quite a while, but I think it came out pretty decent ;). Not bad considering he’s a local accountant. “Elvira” will be coming over to the house later tonight, so I can shoot some stuff with her that emphasizes that she is quite dead, while still elegant, flirty and witty. That’s right, an attractive zombie.

(okay I promise no more hijacking the thread, didn’t mean to get so far off track!)

OP: The thing is, I would recommend that you go and search around Craigslist or something, and see if you can buy yourself a gently used digital SLR with a basic lens (usually they come with 18-55mm or similar basic zoom lens). A Canon Rebel XT or XTi with that lens could probably be had these days used for two hundred dollars and would give you a tool that you won’t regret having gotten! I’m a Canon guy myself, but Nikon and Minolta and Sony (among others!) also produce a decent entry-level digital SLR for several years now- so the secondary market is easy to shop for a bargain. Maybe try a Adorama or another well-known vendor of refurbs also.

I did a single search on ebay, and “Buy it Now”, here’s the first hit that came up- I am not recommending this one or anything, it’s just to show it’s typical pricing and setup:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Canon-EOS-Digital-Rebel-XT-350D-8-0-MP-Digital-SLR-Camera-Black-Kit-w-/161005063785?pt=Digital_Cameras&hash=item257ca64e69

It’s selling for $140… so there’s going to be quite a few for the under-$200-price tag range. My Rebel XT was my first digital SLR, and it’s still going strong today. Several shots for Blithe came from it.

Used for Macro, that camera and lens can do quite well. This stop-motion shot I took with the XT and 18-55mm, using Arduino to trigger a flash timed for the impact of a paint drop into a bowl:

codlink: All I have is an IPhone to take pics of my work. Was looking at getting a cheap camera for close ups and macro work of the PCBs I make.

Anybody got any input?

for basic macro photos, a camera phone will be a lot easier to use than a semi-pro camera with non-macro lenses. That is because the phone's tiny CMOS sensor will focus better on a near object.

The problem, however, is lighting: you need really good lighting to get good shots.

I don't have an iPhone (I am an Android fan), but my Galaxy S III's camera has a "Macro" focus setting, that allows me to take very good macro photos, specially considering the effort required (turn lamp on, adjust settings, point, focus, click).

For my Galaxy S III, I don't use it's built-in flash for macro photos. Good ambient light is way better.

the image below was taken with my Galaxy S III in the macro mode. It is a shield I am building that will host a L293D motor controller and a LM317T voltage regulator with an on-board digital voltmeter.

Considering it was taken with my cellphone, and zero investment was made in lenses or expensive lighting, I consider this an excellent result.

That is a good pic. But I want to get closer and to see more details than that. My IPhone just won't do it.

My old Canon does a much better job. Plus, I don't do this for a living nor do I do it as a hobby. I just wanted some nice pics of the boards I made. I am looking for an all around good camera. But, I don't have to have one..

codlink: That is a good pic. But I want to get closer and to see more details than that. My IPhone just won't do it.

My old Canon does a much better job. Plus, I don't do this for a living nor do I do it as a hobby. I just wanted some nice pics of the boards I made. I am looking for an all around good camera. But, I don't have to have one..

That pic was taken in 8 megapixels, and I had to resize it (to less than 3Mpx) to upload. With the original image you can see a lot more details than that.

What is your real intention for this photo? What kind of details do you want to see? Solder whiskers? What Axl posted (reduced sized even) is enough for use in an assembly guide for the user.

Are you looking to do an optical inspection of SMD parts? An 8MP photo can also do that too.

Have you tried the scanner method? I scanned one of my boards at 1200dpi and it freaking humongous. You can see the thickness of the silkscreen paint applied.

vasquo: What is your real intention for this photo? What kind of details do you want to see? Solder whiskers?

Probably not that close. And it's really not a big deal. I am surprised at how many replies this subject has gotten.

Are you looking to do an optical inspection of SMD parts? An 8MP photo can also do that too.

Yes, that would be a plus.

Have you tried the scanner method? I scanned one of my boards at 1200dpi and it freaking humongous. You can see the thickness of the silkscreen paint applied.

First board is done with my scanner. http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,158280.msg1188396.html#msg1188396

My scanner only goes to 600. But it was still better than I though it would be.

Thanks gents for all the advise.

Hi all!

I'm building a photogrammetry wheel for shooting insects and very small objects, and I'm now trying to find the perfect camera to pair it with.

In order for the photogrammetry software to be able to process the shots, I need the footages to be: perfectly on focus, high res, and RAW format. I want to avoid stacking images.

Do you guys have any good recommendation? I bumped into ArduCAM, anybody tried it before and confirm I can obtain great macro?

Thanks a lot in advance and Merry Christmas :)

You just resurrected a thread from 2013 to ask questions?

Another Zombie in the bar....

I already responded to this question in the guy's other Thread

...R

Someone didn't read the read me before posting sticky thread. Too busy chasing answers to bother with rules.