Thursday, June 02, 2005

[Photography] What camera do you use?

My camera is crapping out! I'm just starting my search for a replacement. I'd really like to get one that allows for better close-up shots. What camera are you using for food photography and do you recommend it? Thanks!


Sam said...

Hey Amy, Check this out!

If you want a small, non slr thing I recommend the casio exilm for its macro settings.
If you want to spend big big bucks i can hardly fault the canon 20D but you have to buy the lenses separately and they alone cost 100s

drbiggles said...


What's your budget? There's an awfully large volume of decent rigs out there.

I took a trip to and found a handful of Nikon 5700 digital rigs for sale, used. It'll focus down to 1.4", has a hot-shoe for an external flash (real handy for lighting) and is only 379 bux. I've been buying from them for about 7 years, even used digital cameras. No problems yet. Here's a review:

Amy Sherman said...

I thought there was a thread on this but I couldn't find it--if anyone has more suggestions for me, post here or I can delete the thread.

As for budget of course I hadn't hought much about it yet--maybe $500? Less if I can get away with it. Lee (husband) bought a Sony Cybershot T1 for under $400. But I want something with more zoom.

Sam said...

Amy I put a link to the previous thread in my first comment under the words "Check this out"

no need to delete this thread - we have new users since then and fresh opinions are always welcome + it's the kind of info that changes rapidly and fast.

drbiggles said...

Hey Amy,

I just bought (used) and sold again the Sony Cybershot W1. It was okay I suppose, but the manual settings were really odd. The aperture settings were dependant upon what focal length you were set to. I couldn't use f10 zoomed in close, what's that all about? I also wondered why Sony chose to set the JPG output to 72 dpi, annoying. The 72dpi notion was debunked years ago, I know it's all changable in Photoshop. It gives me the jeebies to get a 72 dpi image the size of a volkswagon bug.

Culinary Fool said...

Hi Amy!
I posted the original thread so I've just been through this, too. Good luck the options are unlimited! More than price (of course that's a consideration) I found I needed to decide between a "spycam", as Sam so aptly describes them, and a full-size camera.

I opted to go with spy-cam first since I wanted something I could take into restaurants and out and about without needing a giant handbag.

Once that decision was made my top two choices were the Casio EXILM (Sam's camera but newer version) and a Sony DSC-P200. Both are just under $400 at Amazon and at Costco - probably other places, too.

I opted to go with the Sony because the Macro distance was as short as 2.5", while the Casio is 4" and for me that was important.

I'm still figuring out all the bells and whistles - of course I just started shooting and now I'm working on what all I can actually do with it. :-)

If you look at my blog, photos starting with the IMBB entry on 5/22 and up to present are with this new camera. I found the conditions for the Chef in da House entry challenging, mostly because I was tyring to catch photos without getting in the way, the kitchen was pretty dark (and sometimes steamy) and I couldn't really compose shots.

The one feature I haven't checked out yet (and another thing I thought I'd like to use) is the ability to set White Balance (mentioned by Dr. Biggles on the original thread) for different conditions: flourescent, cloudy, incandescent lighting, etc. Now I just have to remember what menu that's on.... :-) The LCD on this camera is really great!

Good luck - let us know what you end up with~

Clare Eats said...

The Fuji Finepix s700 is good,
has all manual functions and all automatic, has a 6* optical zoom, macro (10cm) and a super macro (1 cm) and 6 megapixel. Have a flash and you can put an external one on too. Have a 30fps movie making feature, that will shoot till you run out of memory.
and you can get them for $500

Barbara said...

You also need to consider which downloads to your computer the easiest. I have a Pentax and just plug a lead from the back of my computer into the camera to download. No need to remove the memory stick to download.

Clare Eats said...

Most cameras should download like that

the baker said...

hi amy,

well i use the canon ixus 500 (5-megapixels) and it works just fine. It's fuss free and the macro setting is superb. i usually use that when i take close up shots of my food. to read more about the camera, go here:

hope it helps! this cam is really stylish and functions well too.

kitchenmage said...

You might not want my opinion because I just bought a good camera and I am totally in love with it. After much hassle--some of it on the other thread--I got a Nikon D70 and I am just thrilled. It was 1100 bucks, and it's not exactly a small, slip in your pocket thing, but if you want things like swappable lenses, it's sweet.

I've barely begun to have a clue what I am doing with it, but I am pleasantly surprised at both the simplicity of getting a decent photo and the frequency of getting a really good one.

In fact, I am so happy, I am going to start a photo blog. Just soo I can justify the time I spend playing with the darned thing. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have the Casio Exilim and am very happy with it (would be happier if it came with an anti-steam button though! LOL) it is much better than my archaic old canon. The pictures are great, its tiny and the charge lasts a long time. I dont take photos in restaurants (normally) so cant say how it works there, but overall, its a great little camera.

I think the real trick to good food photos (aside from just taking a well composed pic) is Picasa. What a dream that program is! It has saved many an ugly shot for me.

Rachael (Blogger has locked me out for no real reason, its been days since I could log on. I wish I could post a question about THAT, but alas, without login, no posting. SIGH.)

Sam said...

Rachael - email me if you need me to send you another invite under a different name or something?

Or if you can't do that you can compose a question via email and then I can post if for you. If you want to do that email my B&P email, instead of the fbs one.

good luck!

Culinary Fool said...

I should have mentioned that the DSC-P200 also has available several additional lenses, an additional flash unit, filters, 3x optical and up to 14x "smart" zoom, video (which I haven't even tried0 and several manual functions (if you want).

Of course purchasing all those and lugging them around will negate the "spy cam" idea.... :-)

Clare Eats said...

Digital zoom means nothing though.. you can do the same thing in a decent art package. If you want to get close you should only focus on the optical zoom as this is what the zoom the lens is actually giving you.

paul said...

Make sure you get something with a macro (almost all digitals have them now). Using a zoom to get close (I mean detail close) is difficult since you'll be depending and how still you can hold your camera. Zooming takes extra light, which means lower speeds, and the magnification means you'll be magnifying your camera shake without a tripod.

I've got an aging Nikon 880, and am in the market for a new one. I'm torn between a pocket size, and a more serious unit with a hot-shoe and more than 2 f-stops. Those used 5700's look like a good comprimise. However I have several lens that will fit on the D70. Hmm, maybe I should start excepting advertising after all.

Elise said...

I use a FujiFilm FinePix 2650 2 megapixal camera. It's a few years old and was pretty cheap then. You can get them for about $150. The trick? Always use the macro setting for closeups, don't use the flash, and use Photoshop or similar tool to blur the background, sharpen the foreground, adjust the contrast and color. The nice thing about the camera is that I don't ever worry about it. If it breaks or I lose it I can always get another. It's also pretty light and fits easily in my purse.

rae said...

i had a heck of a time deciding on my FIRST digital camera. i am a long time film buff and was reticent about the transition, but wanting to post on the internet and considering the cost of printing and scanning convinced me to give digital a try.

after months of research i settled for the panasonic dmc fz20. it was that or a full on digital slr, which i didn't feel ready to commit to at the time (even though i have a large stable of nikon af lenses). now, panasonic is not known for their cameras but what really sold me is the leica 12x OPTICAL zoom lens it has built in. plus it's almost as big as my nikon slr, which i like. i like size. i like zoom. a lot. having said that, it has problems auto focusing in low light situations (but no more than my slr), and it's difficult to manually focus in said lighting. other than that, i'm really quite happy with it. it has a manual focusing ring so it's more intuitve if you're used to slrs.

if i had to do it again i'd bite the bullet and get an dslr. probably the nikon since i have all the lenses, but if i didn't have them i'd get the canon rebel. a great feel in the hand and very responsive. if i were to go down a notch i'd probably consider the canon g5. it's smaller and has a lot of bang for the buck. photosig, photonet and steve's digicam (as someone already mentioned) has a lot of reviews. if you're just considering nikons, is a good resource. good luck and i'm glad i'm finished with the anquish of such a major purchase. at least for now.

Clare Eats said...

I really like the super macro function too as it lets you get 1 -2 cms from your subject, and gives great texture

stef said...

hi amy! i don't know if you've bought your camera already, but i love our panasonic dc-fz20; it's 5 megapixels with up to 12X optical zoom. got it at abe's of maine for under $500. now if i can just learn how to take better pictures....

Rose said...


Whatever you do, don't go with the Canon A series. While it's great for other types of shots (like landscapes and night scenes), closeup macro it is not good for. I've been quite frustrated since my food pics on my trip are turning out less than what I had hoped (I have the A70).

If I could buy one today, I'd personally go with the Casio. Several of my classmates have it here in Taiwan (newly bought) and its pretty sweet.


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