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Re: [APD] Re: Digital cameras

Wright Huntley wrote:
First, zero shutter delay is important if the pictures are to include any fish. That means all point-and-shoot cameras are out. Autofocus and exposure delays must be over-ridden by manual controls, usually.

If price was no object, then I'd agree and say that everyone should go out and get a Canon Digital Rebel or similar. But that just isn't going to happen. And there are ways to take good quality aquarium shots with less powerful cameras.

To overcome the shutter delay (or at least minimize it), most digital
cameras allow you to half-press the shutter button.  The camera then
focuses and sets the exposure.  Then when your desired fish comes by,
press the shutter down the rest of the way.

An external flash connection is a big help. Internal flash just glares off the glass, most of the time. Good flash, well placed, can overcome a lot of lens and sensor inadequacies.

The built-in flash is definitely worthless for aquarium shots. Even if you avoid the glare by shooting at an angle, the pics end up looking very flat. An external flash connection allows the use of an external flash, placed over the tank pointing down into the tank. The extra light from a good external flash makes a big difference. But, not a single one of my aquarium shots have used an external flash. With the higher lighting levels of a planted tank, it's often possible to get at least acceptable shots without any flash.

Remote shutter release is also important. In macro, the tiniest shake as the button is depressed will cause terribly blurring. Either an IR remote (that will work from behind the camera)

I just point the remote at the tank glass. It bounces off and triggers the camera just fine.

For those cameras without any type of remote, you can use the
self-timer.  Neither the infrared remote or the self timer
will let you take picks at the EXACT instant you want, but
if you are using a remote, you are probably on a longer
time exposure, and so moving subjects wouldn't work well

I'd be inclined to look at the Sony 828 (just out this month) or the Canon Digital Rebel, if you already have Canon EOS lenses.

Note that both of these are way up there in the price range.

Stephan had mentioned the Canon A70, which is in the $300.00
price range, not the $1000+ range of the 828 or Digital Rebel.

The A70's lens is an F2.8.   Not great, but it will probably
work.  The A70 does give full control over the exposure
settings, letting you force a slower shutter speed to handle
lower light situations.

There are a few "affordable" digitals out there that have
very fast lenses.  The older Olympus 3040 and 2040 have a
F1.8 lens.  The Canon Powershot G2/G3/G4 series has an F2.0

In the end, you probably aren't going to get a digital camera
that is ideal for aquarium photography without spending the big
bucks.  But, if the camera gives has a reasonably fast lens and
manual exposure controls, you can probably learn to take good
aquarium shots with it.  I've been taking aquarium pics for
a while, and I have gotten a few good shots.  With digital,
it's no big deal to shoot 100 shots and find a few good ones.

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