Tuesday, April 29, 2008

HELP - Camera Advice??

"Below the Pass"
Oil on Panel

I'm totally scraping the bottom of the barrel trying to find decent pictures to post here. I've posted most of my recent paintings, and the old ones don't look good enough. Luckily I've got eight paintings sitting in my living room just waiting to be photographed today!!

Speaking of photographing paintings, I'm starting to feel like I need to upgrade my camera. I use a 5 MP Olympus with a big zoom that I love for taking photos outdoors and in all lighting conditions. Problem is that I'm starting to feel like I need higher resolution images.

Case in point? I've been working with an art consulting firm who were pitching my paintings to a couple of hotels. One of the projects was for guest room prints. I almost lost the job because I don't have high enough resolution photos of older paintings for them to use to make prints. Luckily, the client loved the actual painting I sent as a sample, so I was able to get a good enough image and got the job. But you can see why it would be nice to have higher resolution images, right?

I'm looking at what's out there now and there are a lot of affordable cameras in the 12 MP range. I need a good zoom and I like a camera where I can adjust everything manually (no point and shoot), so I'm looking at a minimum of $400, but I'm wondering if I should take the plunge and just get a Nikon digital SLR. Does anyone out there have a camera they LOVE?? I'd love to hear what you all use to photograph your paintings, and if you'd recommend something similar. I love my Olympus because it almost always gets accurate color, even with bad lighting conditions, but I'm willing to branch out...

In other news, I finally updated my blogroll and template. Of course, in the process Blogger reformatted half of my old posts, so now they all look kind of weird. Argh.


  1. Hey Stacey -- I have the Nikon D70 and it is fantastic. I love it.

  2. I've been very happy with my Canon Powershot G9. 12 MP, 6 X optical zoom and is able to take pictures in RAW format. Here's a link to a review of it on dpreview.com, which is a great site for researching digital cameras.

    I'm not an expert by any means but for me, the advantage of using an SLR is that you can use a lot of lenses or filters. Since I don't, I like the fact that I can keep the G 9 in my pocket. I'm much more likely to have it with me when I see something I want to capture.

    Love your work, btw.

  3. I have a Nikon D70 SLR and love it. Recently bought a used D200 (for less than I spent on the new D70) for similar reasons as you mention. I haven't yet found the time to play with it yet.

  4. Hi Stacey, I use the Cannon EOS Rebel XT.
    It is an SLR and you can also shoot in Raw. I don't usually shoot them that large, but I know what you mean for reproduction and I should. I also am looking at a 60mm macro lens for this one that will make the edges straighter. I get pretty good results, and I am no pro.
    I also use it for reference shots and it is very fast. I can shoot one right after another with no recharge time, which is good for moving targets.
    Ha, you will probably be more confuesed after all of the advice.

  5. Hey Stacey:
    Here is another vote for the Canon EOS Rebel XT.
    I have used it for several years with no problem.
    It has many user selected quality levels so you most likely do not need to use Raw unless you are doing serious changes in Photoshop.

    Oh, to Frank, any lens will get you straight edges if the camera back is parallel to the art work.

  6. Hi Stacey. I have a Nikon D70. Love it for both taking reference photos and photographing my work.

    Very nice piece!

  7. So far the Nikon is winning, which seems to be the norm among artists (which is why I mentioned it in the first place!). I'll have to do more research. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

  8. Hi, a late comment, but thought it worth a mention ...Sometimes you can improve your shots dramatically without shelling out for a new camera ...First tip, light...Take your painting outside in really good natural light & find a place for it where the wind won't knock it over ...always shoot with a tripod ...set your camera to take a really slow picture, so you get depth , the slowest shutter speed possible ...only use the automatic timer function to click the shutter button, so there is absolutely no movement ...only shoot one painting at a session so you are not rushing...frame your photo a little inside the edge of the work, so the camera can focus only on the painting, not having to differentiate at the edges...experiment with settings on the first painting, writing down what settings you used in what order- then when you review which ones are best, you can repeat the settings that were most successful...Light is often the difference between a sharp digital photo & a soft one...if you like your camera maybe you can stick with it...it's not the size of the megapixels it's what you do with them ...(just being funny)...digital-photography school sends free tips & has a forum, read about tricks voraciously & you may find you are fine with what you have...truth be told, for fine art prints that are sellable, paying a photographer friend might be the best route, or alternatively, shooting in old fashioned film...when you do it yourself, there might be some artistic compromise involved, which you might not be ok with...