Cultural Heritage Imaging


Canon Vs Nikon by marlinlum
June 1, 2012, 8:37 pm
Filed under: Commentary, Equipment | Tags: , , , , , ,

I was recently asked, ‘What DSLR camera is better for RTI data capture? ‘Canon or Nikon?’ The answer is like Godzilla Vs King Kong. Its gonna be a good fight.

The Short Answer is that either camera will work.

In the hands of a professional photographer, they are both very similar. The difference is the workflow – what you’re familiar with, what high quality lenses you own, and what equipment you’ve already got in your gear bag and studio ——— and what “Capture/acquisition Software” you decide to start a relationship with. (think Mind/Body – these two need to be pulling on the same oar)

Capture Software

Before you purchase a camera, you need to examine *how you’re going to interface with your DSLR when you’re shooting in *tethered* mode. Here’s the scenario, your stage is setup, your object is in place, you’re tethered to the camera via USB cable, and you launch your ‘capture software’ App. You need complete command of the basics : Composition, Exposure and Focus.

DSLR Remote Pro for Macs (Canon -> Mac)

http://www.breezesys.com/DSLRRemotePro4Mac/index.htm  |  http://www.breezesys.com/products.htm

The most stable Capture Software that we have used (bare in mind that we use Macs and Canons), is coded by a third party guy, Chris Breeze. He has taken the (Canon and Nikon) SDK and developed for a “combo” of Canon, Nikon – Mac, PC configurations. I’m not going to deep dive into the setups, but what I am going to state is that (at this moment in time), the Breeze software is stable, solid, is easy to use, and hardly *ever crashes. The user interface is Ok, a bit bare bones, but this tool gets the job done, and thats what we all want. Again, bare in mind that we use Macs and Canons (we have only used the Canon—Mac version). This software is installed on all our computers is our goto tool for image acquisition procedures.

The main user interface is a bit bare bones, but DSLR Remote Pro is solid and can handle minute focus adjustments needed for RTI production environments.

The last version of the Nikon Control Pro 2 software that I experienced worked really well, *except for the fact that it was difficult to check focus and scroll around bc that particular window has/had a restricted pixel size. It wasn’t as small as a thumbnail, but lets say that it did not take advantage of your screen size. All of the other functions were well behaved. Check it here: http://www.nikonusa.com/Nikon-Products/Product/Imaging-Software/25366/Camera-Control-Pro-2.html

The Canon Capture Utility (free with the purchase of a new camera) has a great interface, looks clean, works well, but it could be better, much better — it could be more stable. Sometimes it just flakes out and crashes. We used it for years with lots of happy moments, but towards the end we had a bitter break up. As RTI grew and we pushed the technology, we began to experience flaws. Specifically, with the ‘Live View Focus Controller functions’ (and its algorithms). Numerous frustrating crashes occurred when we asked it perform fine focusing adjustments in the ‘magnified mode’. This is pretty important considering that RTI *requires the subject to be in focus. Software crashes were even more problematic when we used a modified IR / UV camera — for some reason(s) that we can not explain, the software just didn’t adjust well to the different wavelengths of light under those conditions.

 A few more comments:

If you use ‘good Glass’ (think prime lenses+superior optics) both the Canon and Nikon are going to get you professional results. We know many many Canon RTI shooters as well as a few Nikon shooters (and hasselblad-er(s). I think that the majority of users tend to be Canon. When we are asked to purchase equipment for client(s) we always steer them towards the Canon family.

With that said, I have seen professionals purchase a suite of Nikon gear and then *re-convert all the new gear and go to Canon. (and from ongoing conversations, they didn’t go back to nikon).

At CHI we’re Canon all the way.

Thanks for reading, Happy F-stop.

-marlin.

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