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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Hillsboro, OR USA

    My Head is Spinning!

    Ok, it's spinning maybe because I'm working on 2 hours of sleep...but hey I'm a woman on a mission!

    I currently have a Kodak DX4900 that I'm trying to do apparel (children's & maternity) photography with...and I'm just not getting the job done. I have 2 S&V 500Watt Hot Lights...I'm really only guessing here...and I have about a 6x6 space to work....well by 8 if you count that I hang my forms on the wall...

    Anyway, I want a new camera, for various reasons (One being that I hate the way that the zoom works now that I'm using it for something other than snapshots of my kids swimming in a pool). So I've looked at a bunch of different types of cameras. After visiting 3 different shops in my area I've pinpointed it down to me not needing to spend $1000+ to get a camera to work for what I want to do!

    I have attached a sample of a recent picture I just took...I hate it! I know I can do better and maybe the camera will now you know what I photograph...

    Here's what I'm looking at and really like: Konica Minolta DiMage Z1. Any thoughts, comments, recommendations, warnings, etc? Before I spend another $400 on a "great" camera (the salesman and Office Depot swore I'd never want to buy another yea right!), I want to make sure I'm not going to be saying, but I want another one, in 6 months!

    And hey...if you have any recommendations about my lights that would be great. I'm thinking of ditching them cuz they are driving me nuts and I'm tired of paying $12.00 for a lightbulb

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  2. #2
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

    Tell Me More

    Welcome. I hope we can help. And I think I saw you also posted on the Studio and Lighting forum.

    So what don't you like about this photo? It doesn't look too bad to me. It's a bit on the dark side, but nothing that can't be fixed. You should buy some seamless backdrop paper. It's cheap and it will give you a nice, smooth, plain background. You can buy it at a good pro camera dealer or a theatrical supply company. White is the best color to start with.

    I think your lights are fine. If you aren't shooting moving objects then the light doesn't matter that much. I would recommend blocking all light other than what's coming from your hot lights as mixed light can be a big problem. You want to keep the light "temperature" as constant and consistent as possible. I have a tabletop studio at home and I close all the shades if I'm working in the day. I prefer to work at night because then I don't have to worry about mixed light. I'd recommend setting your camera's white balance to tungsten as that usually works a lot better than auto for hot lights. You might also want to invest in some soft boxes. That will be a better way to spend your money than new lights. Light modifiers will make a bigger difference than the lights themselves.

    I'm not sure what the problem with the camera is besides the lens. And you didn't actually say what you don't like about the lens. For selling things on the Web, resolution isn't that important. Would you prefer a camera with a manual zoom ring? Maybe you can find a used Olympus E10. That's a great camera with pro features and great image quality. It's just a few years old. Anyway, if you could tell us more about why you want a new camera, maybe we can help more. I'm thinking that light control and technique is more of the problem here, though.

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  3. #3
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    The first thing that came to mind looking at the photo wasn't any shortcoming in the camera, but improvements in using the lighting. Then I looked again and saw that John had already suggested that.

    Personally, I'd want to use more diffuse light rather than have those patches of highlight on the boots. About the only thing I'd change in your photo is to move the right hand boot (or the light) to get rid of that distracting line of light to the left of the big flower.

    I'd want to change the setup to remove that straight line where the bench and wall meet. If you're on a tight budget then wallpaper or lining paper can substitute for backdrop provided the subject is small. Worked for me when I was a poor student!

    This is a path I've been down recently, looking at the Canon EOS300D to replace my Minolta A1. After trying the Canon and looking at the results, I realised that I wasn't at the limits of what could be achieved with the technology I have.
    The Z1 has been joined by a new and improved Z2 model. So you may find in a few weeks that the Z1 prices fall.
    I bought one for my wife and it's a great camera. I borrowed it for the weekend and used it at a conference alongside the A1 and EOS300D and the resulting photos were taken up by the client - regardless of the camera I used. So technology may not be the answer.

    On our Z1 I'm concerned about the way the lens flops up and down by about 2mm, and that it's all plastic and probably subject to wear. I like it for the good low noise in very low light, and for the 10x zoom and good macro capability.
    Last edited by SmartWombat; 03-24-2004 at 06:29 PM.

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