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Best Digital Camera for Macro Photography?

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Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:30:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each chip
and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras would
give the best results for this application?

Additional requirements would be that the camera be able to attach by USB2
to a computer and send each photo to a particular directory on the attached
computer's file system, as each picture is taken. What we are hoping to
avoid is the time required to remove a flash card, insert it, navigate to
the source image, copy and paste to the hard drive, eject, reinsert to
camera, etc. We are trying to create a business process that is quick and
easy.

--
Will
Internet: westes AT earthbroadcast.com
May 18, 2005 7:02:00 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Will wrote:

> I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each chip
> and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
> board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras would
> give the best results for this application?
>
> Additional requirements would be that the camera be able to attach by USB2
> to a computer and send each photo to a particular directory on the
> attached
> computer's file system, as each picture is taken.


Some can also can be controlled by the PC when connected to it, i.e. shutter
fired via a mouse click in software so you could set the camera up on a
tripod in a fixed location, put the board "under" it and then snap the shot
and it transfer the image to the hard drive.

I suppose another piece of info you left out, what size file do you need
(MP) and how much do you have budgeted for this?
--

Stacey
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 7:07:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Will" <DELETE_westes@earthbroadcast.com> writes:
> I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each chip
> and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
> board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras would
> give the best results for this application?

That's asking quite a lot. You may have to take several shots to
cover that much area at the resolution you need. For example, you
could have a copy-stand setup with several cameras connected to a
computer, you'd put the board underneath the cameras and take several
pictures at once under computer control, covering different areas of
the board. I'm not sure if it's worth it. How many of these boards
do you need to shoot? You could probably do 1000 or so boards an hour
with a setup like that.
Related resources
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 11:28:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I just snapped pix of a motherboard with a Finpix A330 covering a 2 ft wide
area. It is a 3 megapixel camera. It delivers images sharper than many 4 mp
models, yet it is not sufficient. I could read some numbers off the board
and larger chips, but the smaller sizes were just a blob. Having experience
with a 6mp dSLR, I still think that would not quite cut it either. I think
12mp will work on all but the smallest ICs. I think the lowest price dSLR
with a true 12mp sensor (not interpreted) is 3 or 4 grand.

Another issue I noted was at some angles of the lights, the numbers on the
chips would become illegible.

-S

"Will" <DELETE_westes@earthbroadcast.com> wrote in message
news:V-GdnRnsrKdkfRffRVn-iA@giganews.com...
> I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each chip
> and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
> board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras would
> give the best results for this application?
>
> Additional requirements would be that the camera be able to attach by USB2
> to a computer and send each photo to a particular directory on the
attached
> computer's file system, as each picture is taken. What we are hoping to
> avoid is the time required to remove a flash card, insert it, navigate to
> the source image, copy and paste to the hard drive, eject, reinsert to
> camera, etc. We are trying to create a business process that is quick
and
> easy.
>
> --
> Will
> Internet: westes AT earthbroadcast.com
>
>
>
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:00:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Don't know if you can do this with any commercial digicam, perhaps the
Canon 1DS, but Canon images tend to the soft side and need sharpening
to get the full result. With the production restrainsts you are
describing you would probably have to look into industrial grade
cameras. There maybe one designed just to do what you want, they are
generally made for very specific tasks. They other solution would be to
look into one of the 22mp medium format camera. Hassleblad has the best
lenses. My experience with 6 or 8mp cameras discussed here is they just
don't have the absolute resolution needed for critical work.

Tom
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:59:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Stacey" <fotocord@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3f07j8F56k6cU1@individual.net...
> Will wrote:
>
>> I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
>> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each
>> chip
>> and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
>> board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras
>> would
>> give the best results for this application?
>>
>> Additional requirements would be that the camera be able to attach by
>> USB2
>> to a computer and send each photo to a particular directory on the
>> attached
>> computer's file system, as each picture is taken.
>
>
> Some can also can be controlled by the PC when connected to it, i.e.
> shutter
> fired via a mouse click in software so you could set the camera up on a
> tripod in a fixed location, put the board "under" it and then snap the
> shot
> and it transfer the image to the hard drive.
>
> I suppose another piece of info you left out, what size file do you need
> (MP) and how much do you have budgeted for this?
> --
>
> Stacey

Fuji Finepix S20 pro. It's got 2 different macro modes, you can hook it up
via USB 2.0 of firewire. It's software also allows you to control the camera
& save to the PC. It's a bit pricey, but you'll get exactly what you're
looking for.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:59:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Tom McGarr" <mcgarrf@indigo.ie> writes:
> Fuji Finepix S20 pro. It's got 2 different macro modes, you can hook it up
> via USB 2.0 of firewire. It's software also allows you to control the camera
> & save to the PC. It's a bit pricey, but you'll get exactly what you're
> looking for.

I don't think any point and shoot will have the necessary lens
quality. You want a DSLR with a dedicated flat-field lens, e.g. Nikon
D70 with 60/2.8 Micro Nikkor or the Canon equivalent. If you want to
do just one shot per board, you may need an EOS 1DS. The application
as described is going to be very demanding.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:17:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Will wrote:
>I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each
> chip and printed label on the surface of each board, and the
> dimensions of one board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet.
> Which digital cameras would give the best results for this
> application?
>
> Additional requirements would be that the camera be able to attach by
> USB2 to a computer and send each photo to a particular directory on
> the attached computer's file system, as each picture is taken.
> What we are hoping to avoid is the time required to remove a flash
> card, insert it, navigate to the source image, copy and paste to the
> hard drive, eject, reinsert to camera, etc. We are trying to create
> a business process that is quick and easy.

It sounds like you should have a digital SLR. Likely you will want a
Nikon or Canon and a macro lens. Both makes have bodies and lenses that
should take care of your needs.

As an aside, I got the Canon 20D with the kit lens. I do some macro
work and I had a compatible Canon macro before. The cheap kit lens performs
almost as well as the expensive Canon macro, which is very good. It does
not go quite as close, but fine for my work.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:17:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Joseph Meehan" <sligojoe_Spamno@hotmail.com> writes:
> As an aside, I got the Canon 20D with the kit lens. I do some macro
> work and I had a compatible Canon macro before. The cheap kit lens performs
> almost as well as the expensive Canon macro, which is very good. It does
> not go quite as close, but fine for my work.

I think 2nd choice after a real macro lens is a standard 50/1.8 lens.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:21:00 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> I suppose another piece of info you left out, what size file do you need
> (MP) and how much do you have budgeted for this?
> --
>
> Stacey

Agreed......I was about to recomend the Eos D1s :) 
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 6:29:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

> Another issue I noted was at some angles of the lights, the numbers on the
> chips would become illegible.

Would a Ring flash help in this case?
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 7:37:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Paul Rubin wrote:
> "Joseph Meehan" <sligojoe_Spamno@hotmail.com> writes:
>> As an aside, I got the Canon 20D with the kit lens. I do some
>> macro work and I had a compatible Canon macro before. The cheap kit
>> lens performs almost as well as the expensive Canon macro, which is
>> very good. It does not go quite as close, but fine for my work.
>
> I think 2nd choice after a real macro lens is a standard 50/1.8 lens.

From the way the OP described his needs, you may well be right.

BTW that kit lens has a remarkably flat field considering.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
May 19, 2005 3:12:15 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

John Ortt wrote:

>>Another issue I noted was at some angles of the lights, the numbers on the
>>chips would become illegible.
>
>
> Would a Ring flash help in this case?
>
>
No - if the photo was taken with the board 100% parallel to the film
plane, then it's going to reflect back at the lens off the top of the
chips, and probably the board itself. Diffuse lighting at an angle, and
surrounding the board will give the best result.
May 21, 2005 9:51:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Will" <DELETE_westes@earthbroadcast.com> wrote in message
news:V-GdnRnsrKdkfRffRVn-iA@giganews.com...
>I need a digital camera that can take very detailed pictures of printed
> circuit boards. I need to be able to read the small numbers on each chip
> and printed label on the surface of each board, and the dimensions of one
> board should never exceed 2 feet by 2 feet. Which digital cameras would
> give the best results for this application?

Ricoh digital cameras have had an excellent macro function. My RDC-5300
from 5 years ago has a minimum focusing distance of less than one inch. You
can still pick them up used on eBay for under $80.00

Rollei is currently marketing rebadged Ricoh cameras in the US, and the
model I saw still had that excellent minimum focusing distance, along with
one of the smallest shutter lag (if not THE shortest) of any P&S digital
camera. The rollie model is something like "DR5100," and it is in the 5MP
range. You might want to have a look at one.
May 21, 2005 9:54:24 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"SimonLW" <anon@anon.com> wrote in message
news:428b2700$1_2@newsfeed.slurp.net...
>I just snapped pix of a motherboard with a Finpix A330 covering a 2 ft wide
> area. It is a 3 megapixel camera. It delivers images sharper than many 4
> mp
> models, yet it is not sufficient.

Are you certain that it might not have been an autofocusing issue? If your
camera offers a manual focusing override option, you might want to give it a
try. It is possible that your camera has more capabilities than it at first
exhibited.
!