Choosing the right crime scene photography equipment

Crime scene photography is a demanding  field. Photographers can be called into court as their photographs can be used as evidence. Photographs must be clear and focused, reflecting the photographer’s ability and knowledge on what equipment and procedures are needed to get the job done. Check out these highlights from this article.

Photographers must ask themselves several questions before taking any photographs: What am I looking for? What is this scene showing me? What am I trying to record for others to see? What do I want them to know about this scene? How much of this do I need to show? How clear does it need to be? How much detail do I need to show? After these questions are answered, move on to equipment. The following are general guidelines to help you make decisions about what equipment is best for you.

What camera should I use?

For crime scene photography the camera of choice is a single-lens reflex (SLR) camera – film or digital – with interchangeable lenses and a manual mode. Film cameras require different kinds and types of film as well as post processing. Digital cameras use memory devices to store photographs and allow for immediate feedback with an LCD screen.

Camera lenses

Lenses determine the clarity of your photographs. Lenses with large openings (small F-stop numbers) let in more light than lenses with small openings (large F-stop numbers). Vibration reduction compensates for camera movement, allowing you to take pictures in low-light situations without a tripod. Lenses come in different focal lengths, which determine how close or how far away you can be and still get the shot. The following are major lens types:

  • Normal lens: photographs subjects as we see them with our normal vision.
  • Prime lens: has a fixed focal range and is usually sharper than a zoom lens.
  • Zoom lens: comes with varying focal ranges and can cover everything from wide angle to telephoto.
  • Macro or micro lens: allows you to focus very closely on your subject to capture very clear, minute detail such as fingerprints, fibers, or other small items of evidence. In photography, ‘macro’ and ‘micro’ are interchangeable.

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