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Photographing Inscriptions: Nikon Coolpix 8800 or Canon Dig Rebel XT?

 
 
dmango1
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      06-29-2005
I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
majority of them carved in stone.

My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.

I have decided between either the Nikon Coolpix 8800 or the Canon
Digital Rebel XT. The Rebel may be a better camera, but with the extra
lenses required to match that of the 35-350mm lens of the Nikon, I am
not certain if I can justify the extra cost for
the lenses.

The only necessary item that I have been informed to bring by
my friends in Europe, is a zoom lens. I may also use photoshop
to enhance the images if necessary.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, as well as any tips/suggestions
for photographing inscriptions in general
(ie time of day, flashes, etc)

Thank you

 
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John A. Stovall
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-29-2005
On 29 Jun 2005 14:01:48 -0700, "dmango1" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
>photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
>Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
>majority of them carved in stone.
>
>My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
>them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
>accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
>results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.
>
>I have decided between either the Nikon Coolpix 8800 or the Canon
>Digital Rebel XT. The Rebel may be a better camera, but with the extra
>lenses required to match that of the 35-350mm lens of the Nikon, I am
>not certain if I can justify the extra cost for
>the lenses.
>
>The only necessary item that I have been informed to bring by
>my friends in Europe, is a zoom lens. I may also use photoshop
>to enhance the images if necessary.
>
>Any suggestions would be appreciated, as well as any tips/suggestions
>for photographing inscriptions in general
>(ie time of day, flashes, etc)


You need to look at the many articles on the net regarding
photographing tombstones.

You'll find you need a reflector board to provide oblique light to
bring out the inscription.

As for the time, you'll need to consider the orientation of the
particular inscription relevtive to the sun. Early moring and late
afternoon are the times I find best for tombstones.

http://www.genealogy.com/64_gravesto...ome=1094760387

Just one of many article on this.
************************************************** *******

"A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters.
Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its
mouth: "I, the state, am the people." "

_Thus Spake Zarathusttra_
by Friedrich Nietzsche
Chapter XI
The New Idol
 
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SB
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      06-29-2005
I would go for a Nikon 8800 in your case.

It is a fantastic camera if you are shooting outdoors and your subjects do
not move - which is exactly your case.
The 35-350mm lens is a piece of art, and will bring the inscriptions which
are all the way up there, right under the roof,
so close to you that you'll cry. The "in-built" image post-processing in
point-and-shot (which in fact is the 8800) will give
you sharp and crisp images. And you wil have the whole thing +(NB!) a spare
batery and mre memory in a relatively small bag!

I had an 8700, moved up to 8800, then to EVOLT - ust because I need a faster
camera. Otherwise, Nikon Coolpix 8800 is
a great camera.

Cheers,
SB

"dmango1" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) ups.com...
> I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
> photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
> Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
> majority of them carved in stone.
>
> My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
> them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
> accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
> results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.
>
> I have decided between either the Nikon Coolpix 8800 or the Canon
> Digital Rebel XT. The Rebel may be a better camera, but with the extra
> lenses required to match that of the 35-350mm lens of the Nikon, I am
> not certain if I can justify the extra cost for
> the lenses.
>
> The only necessary item that I have been informed to bring by
> my friends in Europe, is a zoom lens. I may also use photoshop
> to enhance the images if necessary.
>
> Any suggestions would be appreciated, as well as any tips/suggestions
> for photographing inscriptions in general
> (ie time of day, flashes, etc)
>
> Thank you
>



 
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Stacey
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      06-29-2005
dmango1 wrote:

> I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
> photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
> Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
> majority of them carved in stone.
>



Off camera flash will be your friend. If either won''t work with an off
camera flash, that would be a deal killer for me.

--

Stacey
 
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Misifus
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Posts: n/a
 
      06-30-2005
If I were to tackle that project, I would use a Nikon D-70, the
kit lens (18-70mm) and an SB-600 flash. For photographing
inscriptions you wouldn't normally need a long telephoto, the kit
lens should work. Either the SB-600 or the SB-800 will work as a
wireless flash with the D70, enabling you to get the oblique
lighting you will need to bring out inscriptions.

-Raf

--
Misifus-
Rafael Seibert
(E-Mail Removed)
http://www.ralphandsue.com
 
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dmango1
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      07-01-2005


Misifus wrote:
> If I were to tackle that project, I would use a Nikon D-70, the
> kit lens (18-70mm) and an SB-600 flash. For photographing
> inscriptions you wouldn't normally need a long telephoto, the kit
> lens should work. Either the SB-600 or the SB-800 will work as a
> wireless flash with the D70, enabling you to get the oblique
> lighting you will need to bring out inscriptions.
>
> -Raf


I have a Sony 10/20W video light. Could this be used in place of
an off camera flash? Are there any advantages to flash lighting
over constant/video lighting? Thanks.


>
> --
> Misifus-
> Rafael Seibert
> (E-Mail Removed)
> http://www.ralphandsue.com


 
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John McWilliams
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      07-01-2005
dmango1 wrote:
> I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
> photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
> Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
> majority of them carved in stone.
>
> My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
> them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
> accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
> results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.
>

I'd go for the Rebel XT with the kit lens and the 1.4 50mm lens for
natural light and sharpness combined with speed, should you be shooting
in shade or indoors.

Good luck with your project.

--

John McWilliams
 
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DoN. Nichols
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-02-2005
In article <(E-Mail Removed) .com>,
dmango1 <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>
>Misifus wrote:
>> If I were to tackle that project, I would use a Nikon D-70, the
>> kit lens (18-70mm) and an SB-600 flash. For photographing
>> inscriptions you wouldn't normally need a long telephoto, the kit
>> lens should work. Either the SB-600 or the SB-800 will work as a
>> wireless flash with the D70, enabling you to get the oblique
>> lighting you will need to bring out inscriptions.
>>
>> -Raf

>
>I have a Sony 10/20W video light. Could this be used in place of
>an off camera flash? Are there any advantages to flash lighting
>over constant/video lighting? Thanks.


For your subject matter, I would suggest that the only nuisance
might be that the batteries for the video light source would weigh more.

For live things, like small insects, the extra heat might be a
problem.

A *benefit* of the video light is that you can more easily judge
(by naked eye) the effects of light placement without spending a lot of
time zooming in your display and examining the results.

Good Luck,
DoN.
--
Email: <(E-Mail Removed)> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
--- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---
 
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Deedee Tee
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Posts: n/a
 
      07-02-2005
(cross-posting to other groups eliminated)

>dmango1 wrote:
>> I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
>> photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
>> Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
>> majority of them carved in stone.
>>
>> My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
>> them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
>> accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
>> results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.


A good illumination of the inscriptions is far more important than
which camera you will use. Illumination is very critical with
inscriptions - probably you need a grazing but uniform illumination,
so the light source cannot be very close to the subject, and its angle
to the surface of the stone must be low. This means that you are going
to need a strong to very strong light source, unless your inscriptions
are one foot or less in size. Make lots of practice before you travel
(any graveyard or church should offer plenty of test subjects).

A flash will not let you check the quality of the illumination except
on the small LCD screen of the camera, which may be insufficient to
judge the results if the subject contains a lot of detail. A
battery-operated video lamp is much better in this respect, but also
heavier and the battery may not last long. Also, the lamp will be
completely ineffective in sunlight or even light shade, so a powerful
flash would be better in this case. Likely you will need also a
foldable black screen (the round shape is fine, black colour) of
appropriate size to cut off direct sunlight. You will also need a
third hand to hold the screen, of course, and/or a tripod or two.

Probably most point-and-shoot cameras with about 5 MP and higher and
all DSLRs are adequate, but most likely the built-in flash is useless
for this subject because you cannot change its angle to the surface.
 
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kashe@sonic.net
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      07-10-2005
On Sat, 02 Jul 2005 22:01:22 +0900, Deedee Tee <abuse@localhost>
wrote:

>(cross-posting to other groups eliminated)
>
>>dmango1 wrote:
>>> I'm leaving for Europe in a few weeks. While there, I hope to
>>> photograph and cataloque any ancient inscriptions (ie GreeK, Latin,
>>> Etc) that I may find. Most of these inscriptions are outdoors, the
>>> majority of them carved in stone.
>>>
>>> My primary goal is to preserve these inscriptions by photographing
>>> them, with the intention of publishing them in a book with an
>>> accompaning illustration. I'm not interested in national geographic
>>> results, just a sharp, high quality image of the inscription.

>
>A good illumination of the inscriptions is far more important than
>which camera you will use. Illumination is very critical with
>inscriptions - probably you need a grazing but uniform illumination,
>so the light source cannot be very close to the subject, and its angle
>to the surface of the stone must be low. This means that you are going
>to need a strong to very strong light source, unless your inscriptions
>are one foot or less in size. Make lots of practice before you travel
>(any graveyard or church should offer plenty of test subjects).
>
>A flash will not let you check the quality of the illumination except
>on the small LCD screen of the camera, which may be insufficient to
>judge the results if the subject contains a lot of detail. A
>battery-operated video lamp is much better in this respect, but also
>heavier and the battery may not last long. Also, the lamp will be
>completely ineffective in sunlight or even light shade, so a powerful
>flash would be better in this case. Likely you will need also a
>foldable black screen (the round shape is fine, black colour) of
>appropriate size to cut off direct sunlight. You will also need a
>third hand to hold the screen, of course, and/or a tripod or two.
>
>Probably most point-and-shoot cameras with about 5 MP and higher and
>all DSLRs are adequate, but most likely the built-in flash is useless
>for this subject because you cannot change its angle to the surface.


With all the variables expressed in this and oher good
postings, you might do well to find out how many you can implement
easily, then go out to a local cemetery, preferably one with lots of
old, weathwered stones, and spend a day in different light conditions
to see which are most useful . It would be quite disappointing to
accept suggestions only to find they don't work well after arrival.

Good luck on the project.
 
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