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Best Camera for Online Photos

Discussion in 'Inventory Software Support & Best Practices' started by Blake Arbogast, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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    I have tried numerous cameras and have had bad results with each...

    - Camera 1: Sony Point and Shoot = created tunnel vision picture
    - Camera 2: Canon EOS Rebel = Even on the lowest setting the pictures were to big to upload
    - Camera 3: Canon EOS 20D = My personal camera, 8 years old...lowest setting to big to upload

    I'm sick of putting my photos through a re sizer before uploading!!! :banghead: I want the best camera for the job, what are you all using?
  2. Billfred

    Billfred Jr. Refresher

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    We use a Nikon D60 kit, run through iPhoto for tweaks and exporting (and organization--can't forget organization!). Photos get deleted the first of the month after the car was sold (e.g. a car sold January 14th would get deleted March 1 as a measure of protection against a reversed deal), or if the car gets wholesaled or DT'd. Great balance between image quality, flexibility, and usability.

    (Oh, and buy two batteries lest you get the camera out first thing in the morning and you realize you forgot to charge the one battery the night before.)
  3. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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    So you can make the pictures small enough with a Nikon? I called Canon support and they said Automotive Dealers have had this problem in the past and there is nothing they can do.

    Geeze wish I would have know that before I shelled out $500 bucks.

    CANON :rocket:
  4. Matt DoCampo

    Matt DoCampo Refresher

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    Here's what you need:

    Canon EOS Digital Rebel
    Polarized Lens Filter
    Lens Hood

    You can resize photos in bulk using MS Office Picture Manager. If you don't have that installed on your PC, download FastStone Resizer on your computer. It's free. I know you don't want to resize them, but that's about the only way to post quality images of your inventory is to shoot them in the highest resolution possible.

    Shoot your photos.

    Dump them into a folder. Open FSResizer, point it to the folder, resize down to around 1024x683 and blast them onto your web provider.

    It sounds complicated but it really isn't. You're not going to get much better interms of camera than a Canon EOS Rebel. I have an 8MB XT and that's what I shoot all of our cars with.
  5. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Any SLR camera might have issues getting down to the 640x480 pixel size most sites require. I wouldn't want to lug a SLR around myself (and I have carried 40lbs of Canon 1D bodies with the big white lenses around Antarctica, so one body and a small lens is nothing) jumping in and out of cars. We use whatever the just-under $200 Canon Point and Shoot with Image Stabilization there is. I just want a Macro feature, a built-in flash, and up to 400 ISO and I need nothing more for shooting cars around the dealership.

    At 640x480 there is not enough of a difference in the image quality to justify a Digital SLR on a dealership lot.

    When I'm out shooting stuff like this: Axspot Photography - Images of Alex Snyder then I thumb my nose at a point and shoot (I posted that link of my photography site just to show that I know what I'm talking about on this topic).

    This is where you buy your camera: http://bhphotovideo.com

    P.S. Yes, when it comes to photography, I'm a cocky bastard :lol:
  6. Jarrett

    Jarrett Refresher

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  7. JoePistell

    JoePistell Super Moderator

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    Alex,

    The image above is AFU. You are the camera guru here, what's gone wrong and whats needed?

    I train the data entry peeps how to shoot pics here, here's what I see:
    Overexposed, camera trying to optimize for the dark side of the car. Do I see the flash reflecting in the turn signal? What is that hot bright spot on the front bumper cover, a flash? Looks too large for a flash.
  8. ghen

    ghen Jr. Refresher

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    Matt is dead on. Get a great camera with a large lens. The polarized filter is absolutely necessary to make your pictures jump off the screen. You will have to resize your photos but with a good tool that becomes easy . Because I'm an IT guy I took a slightly more complicated software

    Batch Picture Resize

    It takes some setup, but once you do it correctly you just right click the folder and choose the option you created. I made one for 640x480 and one for 800x600. I usually prefer the latter on our site. Unnnnfortunately we use crappy cameras so our pictures are dull :P
  9. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Ghen - You don't want to use a circular polarizer on a car. It puts rainbows on the windows if you don't have your angles right. A polarizer is good for taking the glare off of water, helping clear some things in the sky, and enhancing deepness of colors. BUT it all only works when you're at a 90 degree angle from the sun. I have yet to find a reason to use a CP on a still image of a car. It would help with the background in some situations, but that isn't the focus here.

    Joe - the blown out part of that could have been helped by getting a little higher and changing exposure settings for a high sun.

    A very simple lesson: The sun is the biggest problem in outdoor photography. Overcast days are the best! If you remain conscious of where the sun is showing on your subject, you'll find a way to take a better outdoor photograph.
  10. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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  11. Jarrett

    Jarrett Refresher

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    I agree! Nice shots Alex.

    How do most participants here get their used images? We have highly trained lot tech's taking them... (JK) I think scanned Polaroids would increase our image quality.

    Do you pay a 3rd party or internal staff?
  12. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner Founder Staff Member

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    :iagree:

    You are not going to get any better advise than from Alex. He sorta knows what he's talking about with cameras and photography. :)
  13. mikeelmore

    mikeelmore Getting Refreshed

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    Since were not trying to re-invent the wheel.....or are we?? I use an ancient Canon "PowerShot" A70, and it works just fine in 640x480 display, if you get bigger, better quality photo's the customer may not/or want not to be able to view the rig and if you average 25 pic's per rig, the file size can hamper one's viewing panel, and if I forget to use the automatic feature and blow out my pixel size, well, I just adore Irfan View's free download resizing tool...way easy to do, and quick too!
  14. Craig

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    We have an in store picture taking graphic artist who handles photos, descriptions and does the graphics for our sites. He uses a Nikon D60. We hired an outside photographer to come in and spend a day with a few employees working on some technique specific to taking good car shots. Inexpensive investment and made a big impact, also she is a customer so we were able to give back a little as well as strengthen that relationship.
  15. ajholland

    ajholland Refresher

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    Does anyone have a free, quick, easy to use program I can use to watermark our photos with our Logo?
  16. mattwatson81

    mattwatson81 Getting Refreshed

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    Usually the company you use for inventory management to send data to all of your 3rd party classifieds offers that feature, you might ask them about it. (like to your website, AutoTrader, Cars.com, etc)

    I've also heard of people using FastStone to do it if you have to do it manually.

    FastStone Photo Resizer - Powerful Image Converter/Resizer
  17. AutoArchitech

    AutoArchitech Refresher

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    We have found that pointing the car into the sun will solve most of the sun issues. Many Dealers are now asking to have the photos taken in 1 spot, usually against a wall. I try and show them that you will get better photos if we are not restricted to 1 spot. The best outdoor photos are when the lot is big enough to position the car relative to the sun.
  18. Alex Snyder

    Alex Snyder Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks Blake, Jarrett, and Jeff :thumbup:

    AutoArchitech - yep, that's the best way to do it.
  19. Blake Arbogast

    Blake Arbogast Refresher

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    I usually hire kids right out college...I know I won't have them forever but I find they are easy to teach and do a good job. I really don't think you need to hire a vendor who charges $15 per car. You can do it yourself better and cheaper.
  20. amart41

    amart41 Noob

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    We have a small dealership in MA I do the photos for all the cars. We found the best way to get around overexposed cars or sun flare or any of those issues is to shoot inside. This will require some extra lighting some times but we come up with great results.

    We use a Canon 5D MkII with a Canon 580EX II speedlight flash, two 1000W studio lights and some times a secondary Canon 430EX flash remote triggered. It sounds like a lot but if you have the people who know how to do it the results can be great. Also you can get buy with a much more inexpensive camera. We are in the process of revamping our lighting situation (lighting is everything) so we can do video in the studio too, which is most of the reason we got the 5D so we can use it for video too.

    Me and my co-worker are both photography nerds so we went a little overboard with the equipment we have, but really the key is having the lighting be on your terms not dependent on the sun or the weather. you could get the same results we have with just a Canon Rebel and two of the lower end Speedlight flashes as long as your indoors and can control the light the way you want it.

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