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Last Post 08/01/2013 6:22 PM by  Jud G.
Camera Purchase???
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moco
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12/18/2007 1:37 PM

    I am looking for opinions on the purchase of a new camera. Since beginning i have always used a digital point and shoot type camera ($130.00 panasonic), however i have never been satisfied with its inability to take good overall shots of rooms and roofs. I am not really up to par on cameras, but i have been researching the purchase of a new one and from what i have observed so far i am leaning towards a digital slr camera. The features i am specifically wanting or as follows.

    (1) I do not want to spend more than $550-$600 max on one.

    (2) In this price range what is a good overall camera (slr digital) ? What are you guys using, and happy with?

    (3) Is the 18-50 mm lens standard on new purchase, and does it take good overall view shots ? What is the best zoom for overall capture?

    (5) Is the slr memory card adaptable for quick dowload?

    (6) Does the slr display the view of capture on the lcd screen prior to the shot, or only through the view finder?

    (7) Are there any specific maintenance requirements for the slr?

     

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    Jud G.
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    12/18/2007 3:45 PM

    I've had a dslr camera for about a year so far and plan to take a community college course to learn how to better use it.  My patience is running thin after reading through my second how-to book.  I never planned on using it for work, but for family photos and scenery.

    Bringing a dslr (digital single lens reflex- I assume you mean digital as "slr" refers to film) camera to handle property inspections could be overkill unless you are doing some specialized investigations that require a higher level of photography.  This is due to both the cost of the camera and its cumbersome size.  Granted, your price range will put you right within the smaller dslr's, but they are still very large compared to your average point and shoot camera. 

    The 18-50 mm lens is small, but a great place to start if you still plan to use it for adjusting. 

    Memory card- it just depends on what camera you get.  You may need to get an adapter so that your card will fit in your computer or just use the usb cable that comes with your camera.  Again, the file size of your photos should be very small anyway, so quick downloading is like anything else once you have the proper adapters.

    You must use the view finder to view the photo prior to snapping the button.  The dslr viewfinder will show the picture on the viewfinder ONLY until after the picture is taken.  No slr camera does this because the image is being shown on a mirror and through the viewfinder.  If you take your eye off of the viewfinder, more light comes through and can affect the resulting image.  This can be good depending on your desired effect.  Too many factors come into play once you punch the button; shutter speed, aperture size, flash setting, iso, etc.  With a dslr, you have an automatic feature that works some of the time, but the camera expects you to know which setttings and when to use them.

    Maintenance requirements, not really.  Yet, if you plan to sort through several lenses throughout your inspection, you will expose the innards to dust and that dust may end up on your mirror.  If that happens, you need to get a special kit to clean it or take it to the store.

    My suggestion, get a wide angle lens that will attach to your point and shoot camera which will allow you to take great overall pictures.  This solution will cost between 80-150 bucks.  You'll likely need an adapter.  Armed with the macro feature (high detail in close up shots) and a wide angle lens, you can't get much better than that since practical measures only allow us to send photos in an extremely small file size (usually no more than 300 mb).

    In conclusion, by the time you butcher the file size of your Ansel Adams masterpeices to fit in your estimating software or to send through email, the resulting image will be equal what you can get from your average point and shoot models.

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    BobH
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    12/18/2007 4:26 PM

    I agree with Jud, the SLR type digitals are a lot more "bulk" than your really need these days. We used the old 35mm film SLR's for years, hanging off our necks like a brick. I love them, but will reach for my little pocket sized digital first.  I will buy a digital SLR one of these days - but just because I am a camera geek.

    If I had to buy a new camera today, my first choice would be the small Canon digital Elph SD800. (follow that link to check it out).  It is one of the  "Elph" models that has a wide angle lens, most of them don't. 
    (Edit: The SD800 was replaced by the SD870, and more recently the wide-angle SD880)

    Nikon has several models with a wide zoom, one of them is very affordable and was just released: the Nikon Coolpix P50 that goes from 28-102 and it is only $189 at Amazon.  It uses AA batteries

    Posted By GW Moco on 12/18/2007 1:37 PM

    (3) Is the 18-50 mm lens standard on new purchase, and does it take good overall view shots ? What is the best zoom for overall capture?

    Do you realize those numbers stand for "focal length"?  If you have worked with the old 35mm film cameras before, the lens you refer to would be "equivalent" to a 28-90 zoom, which is a great lens for adjusting work. The wide angle is important - for me it is more important than the magnification at the full zoom. I want the wide angle so I can show the full bathroom, small kitchen - rather than just one wall.

    If you shoot with the old film cameras, the 35mm film is 35mm tall as explained on this site. The imaging sensor is SMALLER on most digital cameras, some of the professional models use a digital imaging device the same size as 35mm film.

    Because most digital cameras have very small digital imaging sensors, the relationship of the lens to the imaging sensor is different than 35mm film cameras.

    For an explanation, here is something I posted on another thread

    I have a multitude of Canon lenses I use for my 35MM Canon Rebel. They will work on the new digital camera.

    Yep, they fit and work, but there is a conversion factor that happens because the imaging device on the digital camera is smaller than the old 35mm film negative. If you put a 28mm wide angle lens on, it acts like a 45mm lens.  There is a 1.6 conversion factor for most digital SLR's (Single Lens Reflex).

    If money is no object, there is a Canon EOS with an imaging sensor the same size as 35mm film, but still very expensive. They will keep coming down in price though.  If I had to buy a digital SLR today, I would buy the same camera you are talking about but get the lens made for it,

    Available only in the Digital Rebel XTi kit, Canon's compact EF-S 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 zoom lens approximates a 28–90mm zoom lens (in 35mm format).

    These numbers I am referring to are the "Focal Length" and I know Tom understands that.  For those who are not familiar, that is a measurement from where the light "crosses" (as the image turns upside down on the film) to the surface of the film (or imaging sensor on a digital camera).  That distance is the focal length, and it determines if you are zoomed in or wide angle.

    If you had a small cardboard box and pushed a nail into the side, so the light entered from that point to expose the film, that is the focal length from the "hole" to the film.  These were called "pinhole" cameras and had no lens at all.   The light "crosses" at that pinhole, and lands upside-down on the film.  Today's camera's do the same thing, but the lens helps to focus the image.

    A focal length of 28mm on a 35mm camera produces a traditional wide angle.  35mm refers to the size of the negative, and http://www.panoramafactory.com/equiv35/equiv35.html    

    A focal length of 50mm was a "normal" lens (what the human eye sees) that was neither zoomed -in, nor wide.  The 105mm is a classic "portrait" lens, it zooms in on the subject.  Sports photography requires powerful zoom lenses, a focal length of say 500 would be zoomed in to the point that it was only looking at only a very small part of the football field.

    Bob H
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    BobH
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    12/18/2007 5:02 PM
    Posted By Jud Gardner on 12/18/2007 3:45 PM

    My suggestion, get a wide angle lens that will attach to your point and shoot camera which will allow you to take great overall pictures.  This solution will cost between 80-150 bucks.  You'll likely need an adapter. 

    I had to do that in 1999, but then wide angle digitals started coming out.   I got one of the first ones (link to Nikon Coolpix 5000) which cost me about $1,000 at the time. It had lot's of issues that they fixed with later models.

    I have gone through several digitals since then - if you really look you will find wide angle models that don't need an adaptor these days.

    Bob H
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    Tom Toll
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    12/18/2007 6:29 PM

    This is the Digital SLR that I will get after doing reviews and research. Runs about $650.00. There is a good assortment of lenses available.

    The Sony á (alpha) DSLR-A100 Digital Camera is a top-quality 10 megapixel Digital SLR Camera that builds on a two-decade legacy of Minolta photographic leadership. It accepts all Minolta A-mount lenses sold worldwide (Maxxum & Dynax), and introduces Sony imaging innovations like high-sensitivity shooting with Super SteadyShot in-camera image stabilization, Dynamic Range Optimizer to automatically increase detail in bright and dark picture areas, Anti-Dust technology to keep the CCD imager clean for better pictures, and Eye-Start Autofocus system for faster camera response. The Sony á (alpha) DSLR-A100 Digital Camera incorporates a large, 10.2 megapixel effective resolution, 23.6x15.8mm APS-C-size CCD imager with Sony's advanced design that allows more light to pass to each pixel, increasing sensitivity and reducing noise, thereby providing greater detail when you make big prints or crop in close on your subject. Product Specification

    Key Features
    Image Sensor Type CCD
    Resolution 10.2 Megapixel
    Camera Type SLR/Professional
    Lens
    Interchangeable Lens With Interchangeable Lens
    Focus Range Varies With Lens
    Macro Focus Range Varies With Lens
    Focal Length Varies With Lens
    Image Quality
    Camera Resolution 10.2 Megapixel
    Image Resolutions 1920 x 1280
    Exposure Control
    White Balance Auto ? Daylight / Sunny (Preset) ? Cloudy (Preset) ? Fluorescent (Preset) ? Tungsten (Preset) ? Shade (Preset) ? Flash (Preset) ? Colour Temperature Adjust
    Storage
    Memory Type CompactFlash Card Type I ? Memory Stick Duo
    Compression Modes Fine ? Uncompressed
    Flash
    ISO Speeds Auto ? 100 ? 200 ? 400 ? 800 ? 1600
    Flash Type Built-In
    Flash Functions Auto Flash ? Rear Sync Flash
    Viewfinder / Display
    Viewfinder Optical
    LCD Panel With LCD Panel
    LCD Screen Resolution 230,000 pixels
    LCD Protected Position Without LCD Protected Position
    Interfaces
    Interface Type USB 2.0
    Video Interface Video Out
    Power Supply
    Battery Type Proprietary Lithium
    Included Features
    Self Timer 2 Sec. ? 10 Sec.
    Tripod Mount With Tripod Mount
    General
    Dimensions (W x D x H) 5.2" x 2.8" x 3.7"
    Weight 1.2 lb.
    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    moco
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    12/18/2007 6:48 PM

    Thanks for the input so far, and it looks like you guys have an assortment of experience with cameras. While i am not against a digital camera, my primary goal is to capture the overall view, and my current digital camera will not do this well.

     

    Is there a digital camera (not slr) that has a faster recovery time after each shot ? Mine takes approx 3-4 seconds to recover after a shot, not this this matter's adjusting but for outings, events or what ever i would like something with a faster recovery time. Additionally the pixels are not great with my current camera (terrible low light photos) even with flash on. So excluding the slr what is good digital camera that produces clear and blur free photos.

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    BobH
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    12/18/2007 7:19 PM
    You are having grief because you get what you paid for - and you have a $130 camera according to your first post.
    my primary goal is to capture the overall view, and my current digital camera will not do this well

    When you say "overall view" do you mean WIDE view? Do you have the feeling you need to push your back against the wall and step back 5 feet to include more of the room? Or more of the street scene? If so - that is a problem with most digital cameras. See my notes above.  There ARE digitals with a wide angle lens.  If you compare to 35mm film camera lingo, a wide angle is 28mm focal length.  Any wider than that and things get distorted, like a fishbowl.

    Additionally the pixels are not great with my current camera (terrible low light photos) even with flash on. So excluding the slr what is good digital camera that produces clear and blur free photos.

    I have had 6 digital cameras since 1999 and if you ignore the first 2, any quality digital camera will do great low-light flash.

    The old Canon S-60 I am using has a "focus assist beam" which is common with any decent camera these days, always in focus, and it will do great exposures with dim rooms unless they are the size of a commercial building.  I was under a mobile home yesterday, inspecting the fallen insulation, moisture barrier, and 2 prior losses.  Any digital with a focus assist beam will lock in a good focus - you sort of center the view on the spot your flashlight is making, and with the flash it will all come out perfect.  The old S-60 has a wide angle lens.  It is discontinued, you could get one on Ebay but there are newer ones that are a better deal.

    The prices keep coming down. The ones I listed above for $250 and below will do more than the ones I paid $1,000 for 5 years ago.

    Bob H
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    JGibbs
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    12/18/2007 8:15 PM
    http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Canon-Digit...LR-Camera-

    You can buy a new Canon Rebel XT that will do everything your wanting. Plus you can buy other lens that will fit the camera like a 28-300 or wide angle lens etc. Myself I shot with Canon 10 D. I have taken alot of pictures in the garage and pit area at Nascar Races and NHRA Drag Racing. Action shots are not a problem, my camera will shoot 3 to 4 pictures per second.
    I take alot of motorsport pictures from Nascar to dirt bikes, drag racing etc and sell some pictures except Nascar piictures because Nascar own all copyrights of Photo shot in the pit and garage area. The camera is to large to carry around you neck all the time so when I doing claims I use a Nikon Coolpix and it works grat for me.
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    BobH
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    12/18/2007 9:36 PM
    The camera is to large to carry around you neck all the time so when I doing claims I use a Nikon Coolpix and it works great for me.

    Yep. I had a Nikon Coolpix that I used from 2002 to 2004, one of the early cameras with a Wide-Angle lens. My current wide angle digital camera was released in 2004, with a great wide-angle lens, and was replaced toward the end of 2005 with the Canon S-80 which also has a wide-angle lens. This link goes to a review, and the final page has a good explanation of wide-angle

    ...while retaining the versatile 28-100mm optical zoom lens.

    ...Have you ever found yourself with your back pressed against the wall or corner opposite your subject when shooting indoors? The 3x optical zoom lenses of most consumer digicams have a maximum wide angle focal length in the 35-38mm range, limiting the camera's field of view and making certain interior or landscape shots difficult, if not impossible, to capture. If you value the wide angle end of your camera's zoom range, the S80 is quite worthy of your interest. Its focal length at full wide angle is 28mm, offering plenty of field of view for interiors, group portraits, and landscapes. And shots of your distant subjects won't be compromised; the versatile 3.6x zoom extends to 100mm at the telephoto end of the range.

    I just quote this as an example, and I was planning on getting the S-80 when it came out   But another year has passed, and I would opt for the smaller Canon digital Elph SD800 that came out later, with the same wide angle capability.
    (Edit: The SD800 was replaced by the SD870, and more recently the wide-angle SD880)

    Always get a spare battery, and rotate them as they are used.  If you want a wide angle digital that uses AA batteries, look at the Nikon Coolpix P50 that goes from 28-102 and it is only $189 at Amazon  (Edit: now it's replaced by a newer model)

    Bob H
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    moco
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    12/18/2007 11:40 PM

    Well maybe i am un-coordinated about inspections, but i am leaning toward a mid size camera that will hang around my neck during inspection, though not to bulky or heavy. I carry a camera case on my side, but i am developing an annoyance about pulling it in and out during inspection.

    When i exit my truck upon arrival i take, or attempt ot take shots of all of the exterior walls, and then go up top if need be,but i generally have a digital tape in one pocket, a flash light for the interior in the other etc. My inspections or generally on lender placed foreclosures. I do not like to put the camera in the pockets with the other listed items in them, so i tend to remove and replace the camera inside the case on my side, and if not zipped it will fall out especially on the roof if steep, as i will be monkey walking at times LOL. And while inspecting the interior i have the scope pad in a hand and a pen in the other. I walk through the entire interior diagraming, mentally noting damages and then take the photos in the same order.

    Though it never fails while taking photos i will see something damaged, or that is of interest that i did not initially see, and have to set the sketch pad and pen aside, reach over and take out the camera and snap. Dont  know why but this makes me feel un-organized and boggled.

    So i am thinking that with a mid size camera around the neck, it will be quicker accessed, and i want need both hands to take it out of the case (as pulling on the zipper with one hand) tends to pull the case all at once, hence keeping it from unzipping, therefore i need both hands. Around the neck access i can simply clutch the pad under an arm, pull up the camera and take that sudden shot of interest that was not previously observed.

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    BobH
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    12/18/2007 11:46 PM
    a mid size camera that will hang around my neck during inspection

    They make a neck strap for smaller digital cameras, I use this one from Amazon for about $7.   It's like a wrist strap, but much longer.

    If I am totally done taking photos, I will stuff the camera in my tool belt, but I will hang it from my neck if I am still walking the property and checking it out. That is why I am looking at the tiny Canon Elph SD800 because it is so small, but takes great shots and has wide angle. I have 2 family members with them. 

    The SD800 came out a year ago, and now they just released the wide angle Canon SD870 IS Digital ELPH but I don't like it as well.  They made the screen even bigger, and eliminated the viewfinder.  I like to have a view finder in case it's been a really long day and I forgot to recharge my 2nd battery.  You leave the display off, and set it to simply display the picture you took - but not "on" all the time.  The older SD800 is still in production, and discounted for it's age.

    Bob H
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    Tom Toll
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    12/19/2007 8:56 AM

    GW, a camera may be an annoyance and a PIA to carry around, but always remember, a photo is worth a thousand words. You cannot take enough photos of a loss. You don't have to use them all, but you need to take them. They can be stored, if in the event, the claim goes south. A good digital SLR camera is an absolute necessity in today adjusting world. A wide angle lens cuts down on the number of interior photos you have to take. An SLR with a 28mm/50mm is a good lense for adjusters. Just do some reviews and go to a camera shop and get the feel for the camera. I have used the Tilley Vomp vest many times, as it has a pocket for everything, including camera and is very comfortable. Expensive, but guaranteed for life.

    http://www.tilley.com/detail.asp?ca...160; 

    (copy and paste in your browser)

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    moco
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    12/19/2007 10:03 AM
    Posted By Tom Toll on 12/19/2007 8:56 AM

     A wide angle lens cuts down on the number of interior photos you have to take.

     

    My point exactly, but i want to get the wide angle shots, and with quick accessibility to the camera. And i agree with the fact that a wide angle lense will reduce my photo sheet on a cut and dry inspection from 50-55 to 25-30 if the entire rooms are able to be viewed through the shot. I generally take a minimum of 100 photos or more depending on the extent of damage with 100 being the minimum in most cases. A large loss fire i may take 250 or more photos. The size of the camera is not as important to me as the quality of shots and reduction in photos,as i generally inspect a loss in 45 min or, 1.5 hours if there is an insured. As of now i am having to include at minimum 4photos of a room to depict the floor, ceiling and walls. I know this can be reduced.

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    Tom Toll
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    12/19/2007 7:11 PM

    GW, you could use a fisheye lens, but the proportions of the room would be out of sync. A good wide angle lens will be costly, but well worth the purchase in time saved. You cannot get a good wide angle on most of the smaller digital cameras, it must be an SLR camera. Wait until after Christmas and many will be on sale.

    Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
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    HuskerCat
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    12/19/2007 9:32 PM

    If you are working only 1st party property losses due to storms, it's my thought that a basic digital camera will do the job & pure clarity is not of the utmost importance as long as it shows the damage you are writing.  A couple extra photos here & there will document your scope, and there's less problem with space/data transfer.

    However, if you are also handling large liability losses with bad injuries, fatalites, etc. that require intricate scene photos, the additional investment would be warranted.   This would also apply to large non-storm property losses involving subrogation issues, namely fire amongst other. 

    Some call it boys and their toys.  Use what works best for you and your expected needs.

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    BobH
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    12/19/2007 9:59 PM
    You cannot get a good wide angle on most of the smaller digital cameras, it must be an SLR camera.

    Actually you can get a good wide angle without an SLR (Single Lens Reflex)

    Your Sony Mavica won't go wide without an adapter, and mine drove me nuts in the '90's for that reason.  But since then I have had 3 good wide angle digitals that were not SLR's, and listed out some current choices earlier on this thread with Wide-Angle lenses.

    One of them is very affordable and was just released: the Nikon Coolpix P50 that goes from 28-102 and it is only $189 at Amazon.  It uses AA batteries

    Olympus has had several generations of  wide zoom range.    Panasonic has a model with a Leica high quality lens with a wide zoom that my brother in law is very happy with. So there are lots of choices, but if an adjuster isn't aware of the issue - you will simply be frustrated on a daily basis. You will feel like you need to keep "stepping back" to get the full view of the room, but can't go back any more.

    These wide angle lenses were standard back in the day, with 35mm film cameras. It's the only way to show the whole roof, before you zoom in on the damage.  You need a wide angle lens to show a street scene and actually see the cross-street on either side of the intersection.  And if something is in a junk yard, crammed in with other vehicles, it's the only way to show the whole vehicle as you cannot step back far enough from the other wreckage that surrounds it. 

    If you go to Digital Photography Review they have a buying guide where you can select criteria like Wide Angle Zoom and see the choices for "compact", then "ultra compact" etc.


    I love the camera I am shooting with now - but there are newer ones. Believe me, I shoot with a 28-100mm Wide-Angle zoom every day in a compact digital.  Don't buy that one I link to - the 2004 model is obsolete.  But it takes awesome photos, like any high quality digital will.

    However, if you are also handling large liability losses with bad injuries, fatalities, etc. that require intricate scene photos, the additional investment would be warranted.

    I do a mix of Liability work and Property. Although I don't use an econo camera like the $130 Panasonic one that started this thread - I find that a high quality compact digital is absolutely adequate. I did a claim last month on a girl that will never walk again after an accident that our Insured caused.   I took photos of her scars and injuries in a wheel chair at rehab hospital.  Did the scene, etc. with a compact digital - not a SLR digital (Single Lens Reflex

    I Shoot pics at 5 mega-pixels, great focus, sharp, then dumb them down to less than 1 mega-pixel (640 x 480 pixels) for Email. If (when) it goes to court the higher resolution is good, so I always shoot high and do a "batch conversion" of all images once the inspections are put in separate folders for their claims.

    Again I am not advocating buying junk - the compact wide-angle I got in 2002 was $995 and the prices drift down all the time.   The Wide-Angle compact digital I got in 2004 for $500 would now cost 1/2 that.   And I like a compact camera - as long as it is wide angle.  They are out there, if you look.  Check out those links poster earlier, you can't go wrong unless you get something that isn't from a reputable brand & too cheap.

    I just bought a digital SLR for my wife for Xmas, and eventually I will get one too - but will always have a good compact digital as well.  I used to hate lugging my old 35mm film SLR camera under houses for inspections, the dust and grit gets in the moving - focus part of the lens barrel no matter how careful you are.  I spent an hour under a 5,000 Sf mansion once - with 6 areas of rot "claimed" as it was rushing into escrow after the termite report.  Every bathroom, the kitchen, and 2 water heaters were leaking and trapped water in the insulation.  At least we don't have to change rolls of film in the dusty dungeon anymore.

    Bob H
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    Jud G.
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    12/20/2007 1:14 PM

    I just quote this as an example, and I was planning on getting the S-80 when it came out   But another year has passed, and I would opt for the smaller Canon digital Elph SD800 that came out later, with the same wide angle capability.


    Wow, I second Bob's recommendation as this particular model ('Elf') currently composes (pun intended) a perfect blend of features and physical dimensions.  That blend would make a terrific asset to any field adjuster.

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    BobH
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    12/20/2007 4:13 PM

    Yep. That camera is still in production, but was released a year ago so it is heavily discounted.
    As I mentioned before, I prefer this model to the newer wide angle Elph SD870 that was released subsequently, because the older SD800 still has a viewfinder so you can compose shots with the display off if your battery is about to die.   If you order a spare battery when you get the camera there is no shipping.  And get the neckstrap thing with it for $7 they work great.

    For anyone who is not familiar with a wide-angle lens, here is a definition (link to photo-site)

    Wide angle lenses are ideal when you are shooting in confined spaces like indoors. They have the opposite effect of telephoto lenses and 'push' your subjects away from you. If you use a wide angle lens to take pictures of people their faces can appear distorted.

    As the article says - if you zoom way out (wide angle) there can be some DISTORTION and that is just one of the compromises that occur when you are not shooting with a "normal" lens that simply focuses the light.  If you go to an extreme wide angle, called a "fish-eye" lens, the distortion is very obvious.  I find that full wide angle distortion on my camera is very slight - you don't notice it at all when looking at a wide angle photo of a room.  But if you are taking a pic of someone's drivers license for ID and it is set to wide angle it will make the outer edges curved.  So you use the wide angle when needed to pull in the whole room or street scene.  And set it in the middle (neither wide, nor zoomed in) for the best quality image without "barreling" or other optical distortion.

    In the old days of 35mm film, I would remove the lens and put on a dedicated 28mm wide angle that did not zoom, and there was essentially no distortion - because it just did one job, and did it well.  when you use a zoom lens there are some compromises. 

    You really don't want to be swapping lenses all the time with a digital SLR, because they are very sensitive to dust getting in the camera and onto the imaging device - which will create a black spot on the photo.  That was not an issue with the old film cameras.  You pop the back open, yank out your film - and put in a new roll of film.  With the digital SLR, the imaging device becomes your film.  If dust gets on it you have an issue.

    Here's another definition of wide-angle lens

    The normal angle of view of the human eye is approximately equivalent to a 50mm lens. That is, if you stood without moving your eye, the portion of the scene from left to right that is in your "normal" view. Less than that is considered wide angle- about 24mm to 45mm. Below about 24mm is considered "fish eye", and adds considerable distortion to the scene- a useful special effect. (See Focal Length)

    They mention 24mm and I had one of those as well as a 28mm for my old film camera.  If I was at a junkyard and the car was pushed against other cars or the fence, that 24mm would let me get the photo I needed.  Same for a really small bathroom or kitchen.  That's when you feel the pain shooting with a digital camera that comes with a "typical" zoom range that is not wide enough.

    Bob H
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    HuskerCat
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    12/20/2007 6:09 PM

    I wasn't advocating that anyone buy the cheapest available...just functional & economical.  If you are a storm adjuster only, remember the constraints in place....wireless or maybe dial-up at the best, and your ability to transfer your files.  And with carrier restrictions on the number of payable photos allowed, you need to take that into consideration.  Sometimes (maybe most times) the most valuable photos are those that depict no damage.

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    BobH
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    12/20/2007 7:54 PM
    I wasn't advocating that anyone buy the cheapest available...just functional & economical.

    Absolutely. I didn't get that from your post at all.
    I was forced to use a very cheap digital camera when working Katrina for State Farm (they won't let you use your own camera). The "basic" camera got the job done, but the lack of wide-angle lens drove me nuts.  And there was no "focus assist beam" for low light situations.  Yet most of the photos came out fine.

    If you are a storm adjuster only, remember the constraints in place....wireless or maybe dial-up at the best, and your ability to transfer your files.

    Yep. Someone like State Farm will ask that the photos be taken at low resolution (640 x 480 pixels) regardless of the ability of the camera to take higher resolution. At the orientation, they will have the whole room full of adjusters take out the camera they issue to you, and set it for the lowest resolution. Even the cheap $130 camera that started this thread is likely 3 megapixel resolution - way more than you need for viewing on a computer screen.

    If you are allowed to use your own camera on CAT assignment, all of these cameras can be set for 640x480 pixel resolution if that is all the client wants.  Paperless claim files don't require high resolution.  Kinda strange to use a 5 or 8 mega-pixel camera to take images less than 1 mega-pixel, but we don't buy these cameras for their resolution.  We get them for their other features.  When I work day claims, I set the camera to a higher pixel count, then "resize" all images to send to the examiner.

    Bob H
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