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Digital camera for taking photos of art

by jburnsart / December 9, 2009 9:35 PM PST

I am wanting to buy a digital camera so I can take photos of my art. These images will be used for submitting to shows and I would also like to see about making Giclee reproductions of some of my pieces. In addition this would be used for the usual trip, family, etc. photos so would like a smallish camera.
Is there a digital camera that would give me the quality that I need to do all this? I am not a camera person and would like a simple one to use.
The photograher that I presently use to photograph my art is less available and I tend to have my paintings sold before getting them photographed by him.

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re: Digital camera for taking photos of art
by MarkatNite / December 10, 2009 10:23 AM PST

Short answer: no.

Long answer:

>"making Giclee reproductions"

At what size? Even a smallish 11x14 print @ 300 dpi/ppi is roughly 13 megapixels. (The math is: (width X dpi) X (height X dpi) so you can calculate what you need for larger print sizes.)

>"Is there a digital camera that would give me the quality that I need to do all this?"

Just the quality part, sure: Canon 1Ds, Nikon D3X, Sony A900...

>"In addition this would be used for the usual trip, family, etc. photos so would like a smallish camera."

You're not going to get the above level of quality in anything that I would consider smallish. (Or cheapish, but you don't say that budget is a factor.)

Given that, I would recommend you get two cameras: one for art and the other for family stuff.


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camera for art
by jburnsart / December 19, 2009 6:32 AM PST

I checked the prices on the three cameras, too much for me. Will still take paintings to photographer if I decide to get large giclees made.
Still would like to take photos for my records and for digital submission to shows.
A friend has a Canon Power Shot SX200IS, what do you think?
I appreciate the information.

Thank you!

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re: camera for art
by MarkatNite / December 21, 2009 10:38 AM PST
In reply to: camera for art

>"Still would like to take photos for my records and for digital submission to shows. A friend has a Canon Power Shot SX200IS, what do you think?"

Depends on what your requirements are, and what the requirements are for submitting to art shows. But generally speaking, if you're looking at posting the images on a website and/or emailing them to the show organizers, the SX200 should be fine.

Although, if you can afford it, you might also want to take a look at the S90 - Mark

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The lens is most important
by LucJs / December 15, 2009 5:43 AM PST

Do read some reviews of digital cameras. The cameras as such are OK most of the time, I don't think that there's something as a bad camera.
You will need a camera that allows you to control the lens aperture manually, because you'll want to work with smaller apertures for better quality.

More important is the lens. You should pay attention to 2 things:
1. Distortion. Many cheaper (and expensive) zoom lenses have quite a lot of distortion, making straight lines near the edges appear curved. That's a killer when you want to photograph rectangular paintings.
2. Sharpess near the edges and especially in the corner. Working with small apertures will improve this, but if the lens simply isn't good enough you won't be able to get rid of that problem.

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Camera for Art
by jburnsart / December 19, 2009 6:34 AM PST

What do you think of Canon Power Shot SX200IS?
I tried to see if there is information about the quality of lens and ability to control aperture for this camera. Not sure how to interpret the specifications.
Is there another camera in the $400 or less range that you would suggest?

Thank you for your time on this. I appreciate the help.

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camera for art
by jburnsart / December 19, 2009 7:04 AM PST
In reply to: Camera for Art

just looked at the Canon Powershot S90. What do you think of this?

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Camera for art work
by hjfok / December 22, 2009 8:53 AM PST
In reply to: camera for art

You should definitely have the professional photographer do the job if the photo is intended for reproductions of any kind. You will not be able to use a compact camera and the on-camera flash to get a good quality reproduction. You need good lighting (a soft cube or multiple softbox) to avoid shadows. You will also need good exposure, white balance and accurate color/detail reproduction. In addition, you may need to correct lens imperfections and distortions if present.
I usually spent some good money on original paintings and artwork from known artists, only bought two high quality giclees because the original paintings were sold. As a customer, I will really get upset if I spent hundreds or thousands on a giclee that is poorly done from a compact camera. I'm not an artist but I can tell good and poor quality work, so do a lot of art customers and collectors.
The Canon S90 will be good for family and travel photos, not for art work reproduction.
I have used my D-SLR with a high quality lens to take pictures of the paintings/artwork I acquire for insurance purpose and uploading to the web to show my friends and family. Even the D-SLR has some visible color and perspective distortions from my originals, that will need Photoshop to correct. So don't even try with a compact. Get another professional who is more available to you, it is worth the extra money.

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Camera for art work
by taboma / December 22, 2009 2:22 PM PST
In reply to: Camera for art work

You are right on!!
I can recall my professional photographers using as much light as possible on a copy board with a good 50mm F1 lens. Crystal clear and no distortion. The results were outstanding for advertising purposes.

Today, I would use a Nikon D3 for copy work or any really good Canon SLR with a 50mm F1 lens would work as well for any professional copy work.
How can you go wrong? The cost of the camera will be out of reach for all but professionals. Close to $3K for the body alone.

A compact camera will not work for reproduction images at all.


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