Cameras forum


Dslr camera for closeup animal photography recommendations

I'm looking for a camera that can be used to take high-quality images of various small animals. Mainly snakes, chameleons, and fish. They'd be relatively closeup pictures to send to potential buyers. Color is the main thing I'd like to focus on. I'd perfer the camera be less than $500, but up to $750 is fine.

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Clarification Request
How close do you need to go?

In reply to: Dslr camera for closeup animal photography recommendations

It's not the camera but the right lens you'll want to look for. Keep in mind that the closer you get the more narrow will be the depth of field. As well, I don't know of any of the animals you mentioned would hold still as you moved in unless they're already dead. What are you trying to sell? The pictures or the subjects of the pictures?

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In reply to: How close do you need to go?

The species would be:
Panther chameleons - Relatively slow, should hold stI'll pretty well. The ones I would sell are less than 1ft, the parents are about 1.5 ft.
Kenyan sand boas - Not super fast, but often try to hide when you try to take a picture, as they are burrowers. Like the chameleons, they would be less than 1ft, but I'd get pictures of the parents as well, which are about 2ft.
Platty fish - much faster than the reptiles mentioned. They are a couple inches.
African dwarf frogs - these ones are pretty goof at holding still for a few seconds, but they do move about. They are around 1.5in.
Translucent danios - These would probably be the most difficult to photograph of them all, they are about .5 in and swim in small dart motions.

In addition to these, I'd like to get pictures of my ball python who is about 5ft long, but generally spends her time sitting still in a ball that is less than 1ft in diameter.

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In reply to: Animals

I'd be selling the animals, but would like to give potential buyers good pictured of the animals and their parents so they know what they are getting. Color is especially important in the chameleons.

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How close

In reply to: How close do you need to go?

I'd want to get pretty close, I guess. I want mainly the animal in the picture, very little background.

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Well within the price range:

In reply to: How close

All Answers

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Almost all cameras specify the minimum focus length.

In reply to: Dslr camera for closeup animal photography recommendations

Let's see what 500 to 750 dollar model you looked at then look at the focus distance. Even if it was say 6 inches, you could zoom in or crop the picture.

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Camera model

In reply to: Almost all cameras specify the minimum focus length.

I don't have a specific model that I'm looking at, I was hoping for some suggestions.

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This is always a matter of opinion

In reply to: Camera model

People get brand loyal but I think, for your purpose, you want good optics. I'd say you can't go wrong with either Nikon or Canon. They'll have a variety of lenses including those for "macro" use which allow you to get within range of being bitten in the nose. If you're wanting to exclude background. Your photo manipulation will be done with software. I've got both a low end Adobe product as well as Paint Shop Pro. For no cost you can use the open source GIMP. You'll be able to do all of your cropping, removing of background clutter, etc., with the software. You can do color correction too so your camera and lens won't be much problem in that regard. I'm going to say that, with animals that vary in size, you're going to want at least two lenses. A 5' snake will back you up a bit if you want a head to tail shot so you'll want a "normal" lens. You'll want a macro lens to get right into their faces. Good luck.

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Animal Photography

In reply to: Dslr camera for closeup animal photography recommendations

Your photographic focus distance is going to require more than one lens with a DSLR camera.
It will be difficult to stay within your budget. The macro lens alone will cost at least $300.
I suggest you look at the Canon G16 camera. It can easily handle all of your close-up (macro) and normal focus distant shots with its one lens.
It has the features of a DSLR, so it is more than a point & shoot camera.


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re: camera for closeup animal photography: Lights, not cam.

In reply to: Dslr camera for closeup animal photography recommendations

Short answer: lights are going to be more important than the camera.

Long answer: focal length affects depth of field. Specifically, the longer the focal length (the more you "zoom in"), the thinner the depth of field (the area that's in focus from front to back, near to far). The way to compensate for this (if, say, you want an entire 5' long snake in focus from head to tail) is to "stop down" (i.e. use a smaller aperture (higher f-number.) But this, in turn, affects exposure -- the smaller the aperture (the hole in the lens that the light goes through) the less light goes into the camera, and therefor, the darker the picture.* Thus, the importance of additional light.

The above is even more true for pictures of fish (in/under water) because water is more dense than air which means light penetrates even less. (Also note that the penetration difference in wavelengths (color) is more pronounced in/under/through water (which is why things tend to look blue; red light has the least penetration, blue the most).)

On your budget, I'd recommend going to your local hardware store and spending $100 or so on a few halogen workshop lights (and stands). Then pickup the best point-and-shoot you can afford with what's leftover. Maybe something like a Panasonic ZS100 which has a large-ish 1" sensor and 10X (25-250mm equivalent) zoom lens (and sells for around $700).

*for the sake of completeness, the two other ways to compensate for this are: a) increase ISO, but this results in more "noise"/grain and/or b) increase/lengthen/slow your shutter speed, but with living subjects (as opposed to inanimate objects) this will result in more motion blur. Which brings us back to: add light(s).

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