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Re: dream digital camera?

> Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 13:14:22 -0500
> From: Shireen Gonzaga <whimbrel at comcast_net>
> Subject: dream digital camera?
> If you had $400 to splurge, what kind of digital camera would you get?
> One that's good for aquarium photography (macro) and for general
> use?
> Just wondering what people recommend ....

I'd buy a used/refurbed Sony Cybershot Pro DSC-D770. I have been using one 
for a couple of years now, and cannot find a single new camera to equal it 
for under $1000!

It is perfect for the person who is comfortable with a full, professional 
35mm camera, but may be despised by the "point-and-shoot" crowd.

I have a set of Tiffen close-up lenses that lets me do high-quality macros 
as close as any Nikon. The Zeiss-designed 5X zoom lens will let it beat 
almost any 3Mp camera for honest resolution of fine detail. [I have fooled 
film fanatics with 8X10 prints from it.] Fine firmware enhances things a 
lot, but post-processing is needed if you want the ZAP of snapshot cameras. 
Pros don't like blown highlights and utterly black shadows, so the pictures 
are slightly dull right out of the camera. I use Paint Shop Pro o/e to 
adjust before storing. For printing, I usually use QImage Pro. The camera's 
histogram assures perfect exposure on every shot on every field trip!

This is a semi-pro camera (the Pro version still sells as the DKC-FP3) so 
there is some learning curve on how to apply "unsharp mask" sharpening 
tools, etc. in post processing.

I bought 4 digital cameras before I found one that had:

Essentially zero shutter lag when manually set. [No more pics of fish 
tails.] Manual focus is essential!

Remote release, so the fine resolution could be realized on a tripod to 
remove all hand shake. [BTW, it is impossible to press the release on some 
of those tiny cameras without blurring the picture, even on a really heavy 

Decently ergonomic half-press to prefocus and set exposure. Many are 
impossible to hold for many seconds while waiting for the fish to turn around.

Hot shoe so I could use a Vivitar 285HV and 2 remote slave flashes. 
[In-camera flash only shows algae and scratches, IMHO. Great for red-eye, 
too. ;-)]

Anyone thinking of going this route might want to drop me a note off list. 
There are a few "gotchas" I may be able to steer you around.


PS. The P&S crowd may want to take a close look at the Kodak DX4900 or its 
successor. See them all at http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs.asp.

Wright Huntley -- 209 521-0557 -- 731 Loletta Ave, Modesto CA 95351

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