Dr. Neil Snow nsnow at BENTLEY.UNCO.EDU
Tue Feb 8 07:58:20 CST 2000

Continued from DC-1

I took a Nikon digital into the field last summer and we got great
results for field vouchers on fishes.  YOu need to take a laptop with
you to keep downloading the images, unless you have a lot of the small
storage devices (that are rather expensive).

We have a couple of Olympus digital cameras that we purchased for staff
andpostgrad use. I've not used the TTL model we have much, but am
reasonablyfamiliar with the lesser quality one, the C-830L - I've been
using it foraround 8 months (it's a 1.3 million pixel CCD).

It has a lot of features, macro (min dist 100mm, 4"), tele, panorama
mode,4 flash modes, 4 image resolution modes (with a 4 meg card you get
60 standard quality images - 640X480; 18 High Quality - 1280X960; 9
HighQuality -1280X960 with minimal compression; or just a single
uncompressedimage, also 1280X960).

Also has a 45mm (1.8") LCD monitor which is useful in macro mode as this

isa viewfinder type camera (not TTL), a selftimer, sequential exposures
and apanorama mode. Using the LCD, you can view the images you've taken
and delete any or all that are useless - but difficult to see in bright
and burns up the battery power. Comes standard with a soft case/strap,
video cable, 4 alkalinebatteries(AA), RS-232C PC serial cable and Mac
adapter, software. It costaround $Aus800 without tax. We also purchased
an extra set of
batteries, afast charger and a flashcard adapter. 8 and 16 meg
smartcards are also
available and interchangeable.

I find it pretty easy to use, I get good results and it's very
lightweight(235g without batteries). I think these things have quite a
way to go before they've reached the standard of a good SLR though -
especially in

the lab/studio, or using artificial lighting outdoors. I use it mostly
forimages that I place on the web - using the lowest standard quality
thenreduce the image size and resolution so that the images load
quickly. If

you are planning on putting images on the web it's pointless having a
resolution greater than 72 dpi as computer monitors do not display
greater than 72 dpi. The postgrads have used the camera on higher
settings for
printed images in their theses and get results comparable to
conventional photos. Most of the time they use it for their Powerpoint
which seems to be replacing their use of transparency film - which means

there is quite a cost saving if used this way.Like all automatic cameras

there are limitations to the control of focusand exposure (centre
weighted average metering), and typically, this
modelis all plastic - so not too rugged in the field, but then I guess
most cameras of any type are pretty much plastic these days. Seems to be

upset by high temperatures very easily.

If you want total control over lighting and highly detailed images then
I'd stick with transparency film and a good SLR. A lot of time can be
spent manipulating digital images to correct poor exposures - but there
is the

advantage of cropping etc that you don't have with tansparencies.

I recently purchased a Microlumina digital camera, which can be attached

to a microscope, copy stand, etc. (c. US$ 7000). It has proved
invaluablefor photographing herbarium sheets. Details are available
through the
following website:
http://www.emsdiasum.com/ems/microlumina/microlum.html. I think
this is a similar camera to the one used for the Catalogue of the Type
Specimens of the Dutch herbaria
(http://www.eti.uva.nl/typecollectie/typecollectie.htm). This would not
be suitable for field use, however.

We have also recently bought a Nikon Coolpix 950 for field use, however,

and have found it to be excellent, with superb macro facility. Although
it is expensive on batteries, it will save money in the long run by
avoiding the costs of film, developing, etc.; it is also wonderful to be

able to view the pictures that you have just taken, and to know that
taken a good photo without having to wait for the film to be developed!

We have one that is a Nikon camera on a Kodak computer body.  We love
it.  I'm sure there are newer models out there, but we like this one.
It's a joy to use and takes great pictures.  It will take any Nikon
lens, a regular
flash, a ring flash, a tripod, and all sorts of filters.  With a macro
lens you
can get great hots of itty bitty things.  It will hold 300 images on a
mini-hard drive, not one of those little memory cards.  Fill one
up--just plonk in
another one. Pull off the images you like, then blank the whole thing
and you're good
to go again.Alos, the thing is a tank.  It and its case went flying off
back of a motorcycle and it didn't even hiccup.
Drawbacks: It was expensive (ca. $8,000) and it is heavy.  It recharges
by plugging in the whole body, so if you're in the field and run out of
juice, you're out of luck.  The flash seems to eat a lot of battery
power, so you have to remember to switch the camera off if you're going
longer than a few
minutes without using the flash.Anyhow, as I said, there are probably
newer models, but this Nikon/Kodak hybrid has done good things for us.
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