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ohlookits4n6
(@ohlookits4n6)
New Member

Hi all,

Our lab performs a large number of on-scene forensic imaging tasks and our imaging kits are currently outfitted with compact point-and-shoot cameras that have problems getting clear photographs of device serial numbers and other identifiers that are either in very tiny font, stamped on metallic/reflective surfaces, or have very little contrast with the surface it's printed on (most of the time it's all three). This issue gets worse when we don't have access to bright indoor lighting, which is also something we run into quite frequently.

The next time we do an equipment refresh I'd like to put forward some different camera suggestions so does anyone have any field camera favorites that can reliably get clear shots of small text with indoor lighting? I don't believe DSLR/mirrorless cameras would be in our budget; ideally we'd be looking at or below $300/per but if that's not a reasonable price point, any recommendations would be appreciated.

I know this isn't strictly a forensic hardware question so if the mods/admins think this should be in the general section, feel free to move it.

Quote
Posted : 06/08/2019 8:53 pm
(@passmark)
Active Member

Both are out of the price range I know. But for what it is worth, were were using the Sony Alpha 6300 (which was a nice camera).
But the Google Pixel 3 phone is equally good (or better) for close up work.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 07/08/2019 4:13 am
deeFIR
(@deefir)
Junior Member

$300 USD?

We have several Coolpix A1000 units which perform really well in the majority of conditions. They're $550 AUD, ~$370 USD

ReplyQuote
Posted : 07/08/2019 5:11 am
armresl
(@armresl)
Community Legend

Phones have never done me wrong.

Buying a wiped phone with a big MSD card in it allows for you to create an album with the case name and put all pictures inside.
Failed to see something I can't get a picture of yet.

On the other hand, beyond serial numbers, MB data, and manufacturer info, not sure why you would need to get smaller than that.
Phone cameras (from the past say 3 or 4 years is really more than adequate.)

Hi all,

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/08/2019 2:50 am
trewmte
(@trewmte)
Community Legend

Does the problem still exist having tried and eliminated different lenses?

Normal Lens The normal lens has a 50 to 55 mm focal length. It can be used for most photographs that need to be taken at a crime scene because it can capture as much area as half a wall. It can also take satisfactory photographs of pieces of evidence at standard distances.

Telephoto Lens The telephoto lens is like a telescope attachment for the camera, capturing a close-up image of a distant object or subject. This lens has a focal length of 100 mm or greater. This means that a 200 mm telephoto lens, for example, produces an image that is four times the magnification of the normal 50 mm lens.

Wide-Angle Lens A photographer who needs to capture a wider area uses a wide-angle lens with a focal length of less than 50 mm. The typical focal length of the wide-angle lens is 35 mm, and it can show much more area in one photograph than can a normal lens. For example, this lens is useful in photographing wide objects such as the façade of a building; it will capture more detail to the left and right of the centre of the structure than will a normal lens.

Macro Lens When very close photographs and good detail are required, the photographer might use a macro lens. The macro lens has a focal length of less than 50 mm and a 11 or 12 magnification ratio. It is especially useful for close-ups of fibre or tool mark evidence.

Multipurpose Lens A multipurpose lens, commonly called a zoom lens, can also be used for crime-scene photography. These lenses have a range of focal lengths, usually from 28 to 80 mm. This type of lens allows the photographer to take normal, wide-angle, and telephoto photographs without changing lenses

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/08/2019 9:07 am
(@jaclaz)
Community Legend

And - talking of phone cameras - a possibly useful add-on
https://www.smartmicrooptics.com/blips/#macro

About this

This issue gets worse when we don't have access to bright indoor lighting, which is also something we run into quite frequently.

Carry with you any "decent" led torch with
1) natural light
2) a diffuser
or get a specific for photography handheld light (example)
http//www.hkyongnuo.com/e-detaily.php?ID=375

jaclaz

ReplyQuote
Posted : 08/08/2019 10:38 am
ohlookits4n6
(@ohlookits4n6)
New Member

$300 USD?

We have several Coolpix A1000 units which perform really well in the majority of conditions. They're $550 AUD, ~$370 USD

Sorry, yes $300USD, will look into the Coolpix A1000s, thank you!

Phones have never done me wrong.

Buying a wiped phone with a big MSD card in it allows for you to create an album with the case name and put all pictures inside.
Failed to see something I can't get a picture of yet.

On the other hand, beyond serial numbers, MB data, and manufacturer info, not sure why you would need to get smaller than that.
Phone cameras (from the past say 3 or 4 years is really more than adequate.)

Both are out of the price range I know. But for what it is worth, were were using the Sony Alpha 6300 (which was a nice camera).
But the Google Pixel 3 phone is equally good (or better) for close up work.

I like the idea of phone cameras since we tend to keep a number of exemplar mobile devices around the office anyway, also could double as a hot-spot in case we need emergency internet access.

Does the problem still exist having tried and eliminated different lenses?

Normal Lens The normal lens has a 50 to 55 mm focal length. It can be used for most photographs that need to be taken at a crime scene because it can capture as much area as half a wall. It can also take satisfactory photographs of pieces of evidence at standard distances.

Telephoto Lens The telephoto lens is like a telescope attachment for the camera, capturing a close-up image of a distant object or subject. This lens has a focal length of 100 mm or greater. This means that a 200 mm telephoto lens, for example, produces an image that is four times the magnification of the normal 50 mm lens.

Wide-Angle Lens A photographer who needs to capture a wider area uses a wide-angle lens with a focal length of less than 50 mm. The typical focal length of the wide-angle lens is 35 mm, and it can show much more area in one photograph than can a normal lens. For example, this lens is useful in photographing wide objects such as the façade of a building; it will capture more detail to the left and right of the centre of the structure than will a normal lens.

Macro Lens When very close photographs and good detail are required, the photographer might use a macro lens. The macro lens has a focal length of less than 50 mm and a 11 or 12 magnification ratio. It is especially useful for close-ups of fibre or tool mark evidence.

Multipurpose Lens A multipurpose lens, commonly called a zoom lens, can also be used for crime-scene photography. These lenses have a range of focal lengths, usually from 28 to 80 mm. This type of lens allows the photographer to take normal, wide-angle, and telephoto photographs without changing lenses

Unfortunately the point-and-shoot cameras we currently use don't support lens attachments and I don't think buying cameras that support lens attachments (let alone the lenses themselves) are in our budget. We usually stick with the macro mode built into the PAS camera (or a text preset if it has it) but it still can take several shots to get a clear picture.

And - talking of phone cameras - a possibly useful add-on
https://www.smartmicrooptics.com/blips/#macro

About this

This issue gets worse when we don't have access to bright indoor lighting, which is also something we run into quite frequently.

Carry with you any "decent" led torch with
1) natural light
2) a diffuser
or get a specific for photography handheld light (example)
http//www.hkyongnuo.com/e-detaily.php?ID=375

jaclaz

We currently use small flashlights to get better light when we need it but it can get a little awkward to photograph with one hand while shifting the light source around with the other. I like the diffuser idea to keep it from washing out the print. Appreciate the BLIPS link, the Macro Plus looks like a cheap and small enough solution if we end up going the phone camera route.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 12/08/2019 4:17 pm
(@watcher)
Active Member

Normal Lens The normal lens has a 50 to 55 mm focal length. …

Telephoto Lens … a focal length of 100 mm or greater. …

Wide-Angle Lens …The typical focal length of the wide-angle lens is 35 mm, and …

Note that the referenced lenses only apply to 35mm sized sensors, commonly called full frame. Using a camera with a different sensor size would require very different lenses.

ReplyQuote
Posted : 22/11/2019 2:40 am
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