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Some simple questions that I can come up with are:

Do you use a tripod?
Do you use a special lens (i.e. macro) when taking your pictures?
Do you use a flash.
If you use a flash is it on camera or off.
Do you add supplemental lighting?
Do you edit your images in an image editing software before posting them?
Are you using auto focus or manual?
Are you using other special camera settings like manual exposure or manual aperture?
Do you use specific white balance settings?
Do you have any suggestions for the best settings on the specific camera that you are using?
Are you using special metering modes?

I am sure that some of you can come with some more questions that I might have missed that will help everyone take some awesome pictures.
 

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With the Canon 10D, doing plant photos, with no interest in getting fish:

Long exposures of 5 to 10 seconds at F-22 for good depth of field

Tripod with some black cloth draped over the shiny aluminum legs to prevent reflections of legs.

Time delay so that I don't shake the camera when I press shutter button.

I use a macro if I need extreme close ups, but the 28-135 zoom has a pretty good macro range, too.

I use manual shutter and manual aperture. Indicated exposure seems over exposed to me, so I go one stop below.

I set the ISO (equivalent of film speed) at 100. Actually quality is very good through 800, and then you begin to see some speckling at 1600. 3200 is pretty bad.

If I were to use a flash, it would have to be off camera, lighting the tank from above.

To reduce reflections off the glass, it is best to have other tank lights off and take pictures at night so that you don't see a window reflected in the picture.

The white balance seems pretty good. The 10D seems to do much better than film at producing a pleasing balance with different kinds of light.

I edit images with Photoshop. They usually need a contrast increase and often an increase in saturation. The 'sharpen more' filter does a nice job, too. Off color balances can usually be taken care of in photoshop, also.

For sending pictures here, I reduce image size to about 6 or 7 inches width, pixels per inch kept at 72, and pick the "Save for Web" option. This reduces the size of the file down to what is allowed on this site. By the way, has the allowed size been reduced from 128 K to 100 K? I tried to send a 108 K picture this morning and was told it was too big.

If you really want to fuss, you should record raw images. Raw images must be opened with the Canon File Viewer utility, and you can adjust white balances, etc. there. Photoshop can not open raw images. They have to go through File Viewer, first.

The 10D has high enough resolution so that it can be used to digitize your color slides. Cut a slide-sized rectangular hole in some cardboard, tape the slide to the cardboard, illuminate the slide from behind with a reasonably white light source---cool white fluorescent seems OK---and take a picture of the slide with your macro lens at a 1 to 1 magnification ratio. You will find that your image has virtually the same resolution as the original slide. Old slides that have undergone color shifts can be fixed up in Photoshop.
 

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If you have some decent 150-200 dollar digital camera I can give a few pointers on how to tank some tank pictures.

First of all, I hate flash. Whenever you use flash, not only do you get a big bright sun in the middle of your picture because of the reflection off the glass, you also lose 25-70% visability because of all that reflection. Solution: DOn't use flash.

But for a camera worth 150-200 dollars, it's hard for the image to focus. Solution? Tripod. Tripod and natural light is the best way to get images. You can also use some soft light lamps and shine it on the tank from an angle rather than straight on(or else you'll get reflecting light).

Invest in a tripod. You won't be disappoiinted.
 

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Here's my replies....

(I use a Canon A70, Nikon F2, Minolta SRT100 and Nikon D100)

Do you use a tripod?
Always!

Do you use a special lens (i.e. macro) when taking your pictures?
On the fixed lens A70 I use closeup rings and polarizing lenses. The SLRs I have a lot of lenses/filters for.

Do you use a flash?
Not always but yes, depending on the photo you want. Many people say no to flashes but all it takes is placing the camera on an angle to avoid reflections. The biggest difference is the lighting, plants are better taken without flash, fish are easier with the flash so you don't have to use long exposure times. Entire tank shots are better with a low flash during a long exposure to eliminate shadows in the lower parts of the tank.

Here's some samples with the flash on:
http://www.gpodio.com/gallery/fish4.jpg
http://www.gpodio.com/gallery/fish5.jpg

If you use a flash is it on camera or off?
Both, usually on if the tank lights are providing all the light from above. If I need a full frontal shot of the tank then the flash is either turned off or placed at an angle away from the camera. The A70 and other cameras without a hotshoe or remote flash trigger require a little DIY to use a remote flash but it's worth it if it's the only camera you have.

Do you add supplemental lighting?
I do at times place a light strip on the floor a few feet from the tank, this reduces the shadows created from having light just on top. This is helpful if you have some overgrown plants that are too close to the front glass to get any light under them. It eliminates the need for a flash for full frontal shots.

Do you edit your images in an image editing software before posting them?
Very rarely, if it's a perfect shot but under/over exposed I do edit the histogram and contrast settings but most of the times I prefer not to touch the photos. Coming from a film background I like to make the photo perfect from the camera or during development.

Are you using auto focus or manual?
Both, closeup shots I usually use manual focus but my eyes are not very good so at times I have to rely on autofocus. Full tank shots I rely 100% on autofocus as the depth of field is sufficient to place everything in focus. Fish shots have to be manual focus as the fish keeps moving and the autofocus rarely picks it up correctly.

Are you using other special camera settings like manual exposure or manual aperture?
I only use manual settings besides the autofocus.

Do you use specific white balance settings?
Manual setting on the digital cameras using the white sample in the tank. For film, different films have different sensitivity ranges so this is the easiest way to correct white balance (Kodak for example is sensitive to blue, Fuji to red....). A more expensive method is to take the first shot of the white sample in the tank and instruct the processor to use that as the white balance during development.

Do you have any suggestions for the best settings on the specific camera that you are using?
As others said, time delay or remote shutter is best. The A70 is quite easy to use, doesn't take very good shots at anything over 200 ISO but longer exposures and lower ISO is better anyway. Oh yeah.... turn your filters off!! You want the plants to sit still during long exposures. If you have the opportunity to darken the room properly, early morning is the best time as this is when the water is at it's clearest and when plants are not pearling.

Are you using special metering modes?
No.

That's about all I can think of, the rest is all trial and error.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Do you use a tripod?
Yes

Do you use a special lens (i.e. macro) when taking your pictures?
No. But the CoolPix 4500 has exceptioinal built-in macro.

Do you use a flash.
No.

If you use a flash is it on camera or off.
--

Do you add supplemental lighting?
No.

Do you edit your images in an image editing software before posting them?
Heavily.

Are you using auto focus or manual?
Both. Manual is better for extreme close ups.

Are you using other special camera settings like manual exposure or manual aperture?
Manual aperture.

Do you use specific white balance settings?
Fluorescent.

Do you have any suggestions for the best settings on the specific camera that you are using?
No. Depends on the subject.

Are you using special metering modes?
Center weighted.

--Nikolay
 
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