BAJR Federation Archaeology

Full Version: Choice of Camera
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For photographic work, do you have a preference of camera type (SLR, compact etc), make or model?
Is there an ideal archaeologists' camera, or is it a matter of horses for courses?
What is important, simplicity, waterproofing, resolution, dynamic range, low light capabilities, undistorted images, interchangeable lenses, ruggedness....etc?
For site work we use old Pentax P30s - gives the workforce something to break with knobs on, but these days 'normal' site photography seems to be successfully catered for with Ricoh G600 point-and-press digis with a skylight filter screwed in the front - robust, dustproof, apparently waterproofish and, most importantly, I'm not aware that anyone has managed to break one yet (over 3 years!) and I don't know of anyone who's bothered finding out what any of the mystery buttons do, I certainly haven't! They even take good moon shots on the default setting! They take OKish pictures at least for archive/grey lit purposes, have a selection of more high-tech SLR digis etc for more specialist stuff.

Can't remember what the small expendable thing is that we hang off the kite - not that many that'll just keep taking shots every 2 seconds till they run out of memory, old one was a Pentax but they stopped making them
The current Pentax WG-1 has an interval (time-lapse) mode that works down to 10 second intervals and there is a GPS version.

Cameras that work with a short-range IR remote can have a GentLed fastened to the front and then you have a wider choice of interval settings.
Most cameras have a continuous shooting mode. Just lash down the button and take pictures till the card is full - if needed.
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Heath Robinson alternative:
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Dinosaur - Are you on our list of kite aerial photographers?
We are trying to compile an up-to-date list.
We have used both compact digital and DSLR cameras in recent preference is for the latter as I prefer looking through a viewfinder rather than a screen on the arse-side of the camera. Our last field project we were using a Canon D7000, which I accept is maybe not as durable as the Ricoh, but has managed so far to survive through spring summer and early autumn (with a little bit of care, consideration and a very sturdy camera box). It can also be used for archive photography back in the lab so multi-functional in that sense.
John Wells Wrote:Dinosaur - Are you on our list of kite aerial photographers?
We are trying to compile an up-to-date list.

Afraid I just tell the guy what wants photographing (in the unlikely event he can get the kite up and the camera ever swings past roughly the right orientation), and then don the heavy-duty leather gloves to help haul the thing back in when the camera's run out of memory (no fingers lost yet). Like the heath-robinson, better than our current suitably-sized-small-pebble-and-masking-tape approach :face-approve:

Until I can convince them to get a more high-tech kite (one string doesn't allow for much stability or control), think 10 sec delay between shots would be far too long since the shots are pretty random anyway and it takes an age to shoot off 1400 shots even at 2 secs - afraid in the commercial world there's a site needs digging!

The ?1500 spent on the 60' telescopic mast with remote steering was a good investment though, impresses the clients if nothing else :face-approve::face-approve:Cool
I prefer the option of a viewfinder too as out in the field, with my eyesight, I can have problems seeing the screen.
I now have a [url=]Fuji X10[/url] for this purpose for use in the visible spectrum.
What kite do you have? All the best ones for KAP are single line.
Stability is more in the choice of kite but more especially in the choice of tail or drogue

Our group archaeologist uses a Canon compact camera which can be programmed for time interval use - but then, Jim is something of a techie!
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Near infra-red converted Fuji F30 left, visible spectrum Canon right.
Links to this approach:
and KAP specific:

The 60' masts are wonderful!
Nikon SLRs for film are the best and last for ever..................for digital it depends on the brief....lots now state use of DSLR minimum of 10 megapixels.
monty Wrote:Nikon SLRs for film are the best and last for ever..................for digital it depends on the brief....lots now state use of DSLR minimum of 10 megapixels.

True ;o) I like the sentiment.
I worked with Nikon and Leica cameras in the laboratory.
It's a shame that the same cannot be said for film - if production continues, it is likely to become very expensive.
However, 10 megapixels is meaningless out of context, as I mentioned on
The number of megapixels that is 'satisfactory' is often also defined by camera magazines in relation to available cameras...primarily in relation to the magazine's function as an advertising medium, including articles!

I still have many of my old film cameras and lament their redundancy, but not processing faults,'tram lines' etc. I once took 36 pictures from a helicopter, only to find two lines across the images when the film was processed.
Even when film has gone, I do not think that I could part with my cameras.
In the 60s and early 70s, many magazines would only accept transparencies, preferably on Kodachrome 25 or 64 (and ektachrome for large formats). I managed an A4 page image with Agfa CT18 around 1973 and a two page spread shortly after. The film size was 127....the camera was eventually redundant when 127 ceased to exist.
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