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If you like cheap, it's hard to beat the old 4.1 megapixel Nikon Coolpix L4. It has a 3X (3-power) optical zoom and macro mode, plus a self-timer and flash. It will take an SD card, and runs on 2 AA batteries. Battery life is good, better than some cameras with higher resolution.

New, it's around $245, but you can get them used for less than $20 on Ebay.

I have one I bought years ago, new, and another one I bought recently that looks just like new, for about $25.

You can easily load your photos into your computer through any USB port, but the best thing about it is the free web download of the Nikon ViewNX 2 photo-editing suite that's easy to use and very complete (and is compatible with Windows7 and later...which was an issue, because the PictureProject photo-editing software that comes with the camera only works up through XP)

This is what it will do. (NOTE: Close work like this WILL require a tripod. I got the one I use for shooting models for $15 at a pawnshop. The nice thing about the timer and zoom is that you can compose the shot, then set the self-timer, and it will make the exposure without jiggling and ruining the focus)

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Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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I have a Sony Mavica FD73. It has a 10X OPTICAL zoom. If you want close ups that are in focus, optical zoom is what you need to look for. I paid almost 400 bucks for my 73 when they came out but I just picked up another similar camera at GoodWill for 5 dollars. They save to the 3 1/2 floppy discs. I can zoom up to within a 1/2 inch; with the 73. Check on eBay or any thrift shop. They are cheap now and they take excellant photo's. Just search Sony Mavica.

Mark

Edited by astroracer

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If you REALLY want close-ups that are in focus, what you need to look for is a camera that will allow you to select the aperture and focus manually, but that's getting into REAL camera territory, and more complexity than most modelers are interested in.

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Every photographer I knew in school always said that photography is all about lighting. Learn how to light things and you can have awesome pictures. I suggest using a lot of light, the brighter the better. Diffusing the light through something translucent such as frosted mylar or thin cloth will help to cut down on glare and reflective sports. Light the model from the front and from the sides. Never from behind. Its sorta like those old west movies where the hero rides off into the sunset and all you see is silhouette. Same thing will happen with your model. Using a tripod will help with shakiness or blurriness in most cases.  High end cameras often have a remote that then you press it it takes the picture. Timers are a great way to get around using a remote if your camera can not use one. Both ideas work on the same principal in that you don't need to push the shutter, where you could shake the camera and cause blurriness from your touch. Keeps the camera rock steady.

You can get great photos with your iphone if you use lots of lighting. I have seen tripods or mounts you can use for phones. A neat little trick a lot of people do not know about the iphone. You can take photos with the volume increase or decrease buttons on the side of the phone. What makes this cool is that the head phones that come with the iphone have a volume increase and decrease button built into them. You can set your phone on a tripod or mount and hit the buttons on your headphone and take photos. No shake or accidental nudging while taking the photo. 

Edited by Helper Monkey

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Just a thought about shooting models... If you don't have the room for a tripod, like me, get a  camera that has a movable monitor. The kind that sits flat against the unit when not in use, but can rotate away, tilt, etc. This way, you don't have to place your face right up against the viewfinder in very awkward positions!

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