Hello,

I'm pretty new to stop motion, I made a couple films about a year or 2 ago and would like to get back into it but with proper equipment.

I'm not sure what camera I would need though. I would like to control it with my laptop, so I can take pictures using my laptop (and not press the camera) but I usually make films with small toys - army men, lego etc - so it needs to have macro to capture the minute detail clearly. I guess I'm looking for a webcam but a good quality one?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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I don't mean to push for only the most expensive framegrabbers and cameras - of course you can get great results with a good webcam and onionskin if your grabber doesn't do step-to-live. It's a lot better than using surface gages, which is how stopmotion was done in pre-grabber days, and any of these choices beats working completely blind. 

The more people I speak to about this the more I hear that I may as well save a bit longer and get a DSLR. Plus I was speaking to my dad today about getting a DSLR and he said he's always wanted one, and will go halves with me and we can share it. Seeing as I recently moved out of home I'll sort out a rota or something but I think it's a good opportunity to get a much better camera than I originally thought I'd end up with.

I was looking at the cameras on this page: http://www.dragonframe.com/cameras/nikon_d3x.html that Steve sent to me, it says the live view for camera X is 640x300 (for example). I take it that's just the live view but every time you take a picture it is saved at a larger resolution?

For example, it says "The Nikon D3X provides a live view via its USB connection. The live view size is 640 x 426" but that camera can take pictures of much higher resolutions. Will the actual resolution the photo is saved in be 640X426?

Thanks again for your help.

Please send me links to your videos, I'd like to see them!

No, you're right - the live view is quite small - the software just uses that for checking the animation, then when you capture a frame it will import a full-size image from the camera, which will be at least twice as large as HD size. when you've finished a shot you assemble these high res images into an image sequence, reduce it to HD size, and do your editing. 

Here's a thread that goes over a lot of pertinent information you should be aware of if you're considering getting a DSLR for stopmotion: http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/forum/topics/i-would-need-some-h...

In fact, here are several threads about using DSLR's:

It can be a bit complicated if you want to use prime lenses, but as I mentioned in the first thread I linked above, you don't have to do that - you can just get a DSLR with the kit lens (a nice cheap zoom, like around 18 - 55mm or so I think) and Dragonframe can control it for you. 

Years ago this wasn't possible - it would result in massive flicker, but it seems Dragonframe has worked out the problems, and I know of at least one person who has been using his DSLR that way with no flicker issues. Personally I think I'd start out that way - much simpler and easier on the pocketbook, and if I ended up getting flicker then I'd look into getting some prime lenses with adapters. 

Oh that's right, I had forgotten you're looking for macro capabilities - in that case you would want to get a 50 or 55mm lens that has macro. These are just essentially normal 50 or 55mm lenses but they can be easily converted to work up super close in macro mode - either by pressing a lever of some kind or just by twisting the focus ring all the way toward the wide angle end - it will go way past normal wide angle mode and all the way into macro. 

Oh and surprise surprise - I have another link!!   (aren't you excited?)

http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/forum/topics/getting-close-while...

You might not really need a macro lens - you can zoom in and just crop down to a portion of your image area to get a small part of it for your final image. This could be done with the kit lens, so even working in macro you might not need to buy prime lenses with adapters. 

Hi Strider, thanks very much for your help, plenty of useful information there I will read through. For budget's sake, I think I will start off with the kit lens as these have worked quite well previously. If I find it difficult I can wait till next payday and get a 50-55mm lens.

As for software, I don't think I'll be able to get Dragon Frame and a DSLR. I'd rather get a DSLR camera now and cheaper software. If it goes well I have something to aim towards! I used to be into pro audio and audio engineering, so I know studios can't be built over night.

I'm looking for a DSLR and taking into consideration my dad will be sharing it with me. I'm looking at lower end Nikon and Canon EOS series.

Thanks all for your help! It's much appreciated.

That sounds like a good way to go about it. 

If you're going to start off with a DSLR and lower-end software, I'm not sure if the software can trigger a frame or not. Maybe it can, I just don't know. So I'll just throw this out in case it can't - for most cameras you can get a remote accessory so you can take frames without having to touch the camera. In fact these days you can usually choose beween a wired or wireless remote. Just google the name of your camera and remote. 

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