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    Default advice from the 'wise ones'

    I realize that this should be in the tech thread but all of you seem to be in here most of the time, so....
    What type of camcorder and digital camera do you use on the fire scene and seem to take the best pictures from far away?

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    Default Re: advice from the 'wise ones'

    Originally posted by tk1918
    I realize that this should be in the tech thread but all of you seem to be in here most of the time, so....
    What type of camcorder and digital camera do you use on the fire scene and seem to take the best pictures from far away?
    Something with a zoom lens

    I have a Sony DSC-S75 digital still camera and it seems to work well for just aboout anything.
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    What are you going to use the pictures for? I have heard if they are for investigative use then most courts do not want digital photo's becaues they can be altered. They want 35mm film for evidence use. I know our investigators all use 35mm. George can shed some light on that subject. Now if you are just wanting to get some shots for the scrapbook get the best that your budget will allow.
    A "Good" fire is not measured by how big it is, but by the fact that everyone is going home safe, and that we possibly learned something new about firefighting. Member:IACOJ

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    Originally posted by Station2Capt
    What are you going to use the pictures for? I have heard if they are for investigative use then most courts do not want digital photo's becaues they can be altered. They want 35mm film for evidence use.
    That's true on the west coast. They'll throw digital pictures outta court faster than Anna Ayala can throw a finger into her chili cup.
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    Originally posted by Station2Capt
    What are you going to use the pictures for? I have heard if they are for investigative use then most courts do not want digital photo's becaues they can be altered. They want 35mm film for evidence use. I know our investigators all use 35mm. George can shed some light on that subject. Now if you are just wanting to get some shots for the scrapbook get the best that your budget will allow.
    I belive thats changing. Our Sheriff's CSI uses nothing but digital.

    Every digital photo is time stamped automaticly by the camera. You find this in the jpeg file information once the photo is downloaded to a computer. If you try to modify a photo, this time stamp will change to the time/date of the modification.

    As long as your photos match the time/date documumented at the scene, the courts will accept them. Proper documentation is the key.
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    Any photo can be modified anymore......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    got Kodak web site.

    Look at their proffesional camera series.

    Investigate the link up with Garmin GPS units and discuss your options for formats etc.

    Will it live as evidence. NO, but if you use the digital to then examine and go back for fil, why not.

    Hmmm. Photo embedded with DPOF info and GPS locaton, date time stamp from GPS constellation.

    Gives you a bit more credibility. Unless you are wanting the "Gee-Whiz what a fire" photos.
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    I shoot with a Canon 10D. It's a 6+ Megapixel SLR, and while it is bulky and somewhat expensive, the pictures are top shelf. Combine it with an Image-Stabilized Lens, and you have got snapshot gold.

    For point and shooters, each manufacturer has pro's and con's, but I might make a few general recommendations.

    1. Get the best OPTICAL zoom you can. Digital zoom only reduces your resolution.
    2. If you have a big zoom, and are far away, either get a monopod, tripod, or Image Stabilization. It is almost impossible to handhold the slow shutter speeds required for nighttime fires, especially if you are zoomed in. Working off a car roof, mailbox, or other fixed object often helps.
    3. Learn to use your features. Most point and shoots rely on the "Auto" mode, but that won't give you the best results in difficult light or fast actions situations. Learning to use backlit modes, fill flash, and exposure compensation, can improve your images dramatically.
    4. Don't forget to change your ISO. In the "olden days" we picked film speed based on lighting conditions. Today with digitals, you just turn a dial to change the "film" speed. Learn to use this feature to maximize your range.
    5. Practice, Practice, Practice.
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    Originally posted by firenresq77
    Any photo can be modified anymore......
    Correct. But my point is, once you modify it, the time/date in the jpeg file will change so you know its been moodified. So if you set your camera to display the time/date on the photo, and this matches the file information, it can be used in court.

    Like I said, our Sheriffs office has been doing this for years. I had heard as well that digital photos are not accepted by the courts, so I asked. This what I was told the courts (at least in Fla) have ruled.
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    Originally posted by Station2Capt
    What are you going to use the pictures for? I have heard if they are for investigative use then most courts do not want digital photo's becaues they can be altered. They want 35mm film for evidence use.
    This just isn't true. Digital cameras are very common and readily accepted in courts today. I'm not a LEO, but I do work in IT support for a LE agency. Our investigators regularly use digital cameras.

    edited to add: For that matter, we're even using Digital Video cameras. Some of you may be too without knowing it. Just because the media is tape, doesn't mean that the image format isn't digital.
    Last edited by EFD840; 06-04-2005 at 04:13 PM.

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    Thank you everyone for your input. It is difficult to locate the best of the best without breaking the budget. I have spoken with our local state patrol post and they are going to be switching to digital soon, so that will probably be the way we go as well.
    I have, since posting this, thought about spending a lesser amount of money on a digital camera and putting that toward buying a camcorder with a 30x zoom. We plan to use the photos and videos for everything that you all touched upon (presentations, scrap books, evidence, etc...). Don't you agree that when it is necessary to take footage of possible evidence or specific scenes that it would be better to use a camcorder rather than a camera?

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    Yes and no. You can certainly record more data, but getting video into court can be very tricky. Around here, insurance investigators and most lawyers don't even want to see amatuer recorded video unless is was taken by a trained cameraman with evidenciary value in mind.

    Angles, content, colour and resolution all come into play to make video a touchy subject. Check with you services lawyer or local LEO's to see how video is viewed in your area. George might have some more input from an investigator's point of view if he is lurking around.

    If it is only for training and scrapbooking, it is more flexible than still images.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 06-06-2005 at 11:38 PM.
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    I bought myself a cannon powershot a510 last night. I'm still trying to figure it out. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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    About a month ago I got a Kodak EasyShare DX7590. It's a really nice digital camera, though I wouldn't suggest it for use while you're working at an incident, but for investigative work it wouldn't be bad...or just do what I do and hand it over to a junior to take pictures with.

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    Being the kind of guy who is very frugal (read as cheap !!) I did a LOT of research and shopping and comparing before I bought my camera. With that in mind I can tell you that the advice from mcaldwell is top notch. I suspect he is either a pro fotog or a very big buff (I'm still learning).

    I opted for a Panasonic Lumix FZ15. It's a SLR Like 4 MP w/ 12X optical zoom & 4X Digital Zoom w/ image stabilization.
    Using a 512MB High Speed SD Memory card.

    The FZ15 has since been replaced by newer models but I have been very pleased with the results that I am able to obtain with it.
    I'll try and post some sample clips & links to the full images later tonight.
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    About a month ago I got a Kodak EasyShare DX7590. It's a really nice digital camera, though I wouldn't suggest it for use while you're working at an incident, but for investigative work it wouldn't be bad...or just do what I do and hand it over to a junior to take pictures with.
    We just got the Kodak CX7330 a couple months ago. It is great little family camera...takes good pictures and short video clips and very easy to download onto pc. Next purchace will be the printer dock for it.

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    Originally posted by N2DFire
    ...I suspect he is either a pro fotog or a very big buff...
    I used to own a small photo lab and camera store here on our resort. I got out clean before the Digital Revolution really took off.

    No money in film processing these days.
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    Original Size 2304 X 1728
    resized to 400 X 300 to fit the forum requirements.

    No Zoom (1X)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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    Full Zoom (4X Digital over 12X Optical = 48X)
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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    What type of projectors does your department use for programs, etc...? This will be an entirely new subject for me.

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    Originally posted by N2DFire
    Full Zoom (4X Digital over 12X Optical = 48X)
    Holy Sheet, That is one helluva zoom! And really good clarity! Where did you get that camera again?
    Shawn M. Cecula
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