scanners for slides and digital camaras

Dr. Gerald Stinger Guala stinger at FAIRCHILDGARDEN.ORG
Mon Jun 3 12:09:58 CDT 2002


Our experience has been that the Nikon Coolscans are excellent scanners for slides and rare in that they have an optional autoloader which has been very convenient for us. As for field cameras, In the $1K price range, the new Sony F707 5mp camera would solve your focus problem - it has a great lens and autofocus system which does decent macro work but the storage is still limited to their stupid memory sticks, the new Nikon 5mp camera has good lens too but I haven't tried it myself, the cool thing is that it uses compact flash (like your nikon) which means that you can get an IBM 1 Gigabyte microdrive for it (yes it is a 1 gigabyte drive on a compact flash card). I have seen this setup in use and it works well. The Minolta Dimage is another 5mp digiatal in the range but I haven't used or seen one. Beyond that, you need to move into the digital backs which are more expensive, the Canon D60 is only $2000 though and uses compact flash as well so it would also take the microdrive and it is over 6 mp so that might be the best choice if you have the cash. btw I have had several reports of mechanical problems with the twisty mechanism in the older coolpix cameras. We have Toshiba PDRM's some of which have more than 15,000 shots on them so at least some little digicams are durable. 


Gerald "Stinger" Guala, Ph.D.
Keeper of the Herbarium
Fairchild Tropical Garden Research Center
11935 Old Cutler Rd.
Coral Gables, FL 33156-4299

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG]On Behalf Of
Heike Vibrans L
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2002 12:33 AM
Subject: scanners for slides and digital camaras

Dear taxacomers,

I am working on a grant proposal and would like your
opinion on

a) good-quality scanners for slides. I am thinking of
scanning a collection of 12,000 slides, in the best
quality possible. So I suppose it would be worthwhile to
buy a scanner (vs. have the scans made). What are your
experiences on price vs. quality, technical problems, and
time investment per slide? I must add that it would
probably have to be a product of a world-wide company, as
it is often too complicated to buy products of small
foreign companies without local representation here in

b) digital camaras with an optical (e.i. reflex-type)
system. We have been working with a Nikon Coolpix 990 for
two years, with quite satisfactory results, in general.
However, there are two
disadvantages: the autofocus doesn't like diffuse
subjects, such as grass inflorescences, and it is very
difficult to work with the manual focus under field
conditions, because the small display is almost invisible
in the sun. Also, the cards the camara uses only permit
the storage of very few images in the high-quality mode.
Finally, we would like to be able to use a proper macro

I am also interested in the robustness of these camaras -
has anybody tried using them in the field for months? We
have had some mechanical and electronic trouble with our

I am aware that we had threads on these subjects a while
back, but these products are change almost by the minute

Thanks and all the best,


Dra. Heike Vibrans L.
Laboratorio de Etnobotánica
Especialidad de Botánica
Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agrícolas
km 35.5 carr. México-Texcoco
53230 Montecillo
Estado de México, Mexico

Tel. +52 (595) 95 20 200 Ext. 1335 (directo), 1331
(secretaria), 1330 (dirección)
Fax. +52 (595) 95 20 247
Correo electrónico: heike at (trabajo)
heikev at (casa)

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