Just to delve more deeply into the topic of the Mobile PMP column I wrote in the September issue (p. 116), creating a digital pest ID program should include the following:
- A written guideline for image quality. It should include standards for lighting, magnification, clarity (sharpness via resolution), focus, and perspective (top, bottom, side, etc.).
- The proper photographic tools to capture an image, and access to photographic enhancement software such as Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.
- An entomologist on staff, from a university extension service or a hired consultant to make critical IDs when needed.
What phone camera should I use?
Currently, the top rated phones for macro capability are the Samsung Galaxy S8, Apple iPhone 7 Plus, Google Pixel XL, Huawei P9, LG G6, HTC 10 and the Sony Xperia XZ. My suggestion would be to test the focus in macro mode on each of these cameras and choose one you’re comfortable with. Of course, adding macro accessories is a good alternative, too.
There are a number of macro accessories for smart phones available at a wide range of prices. Buyer beware: At times you may get what you pay for (cheap price = poor quality). You can search Google for “macro accessories for smart phones” and start your search there, or look for a Wiki article called “The 8 Best Phone Camera Lenses.” If you want to get high tech, you can read an article on the B&H (well-known electronics camera retailer) website:
Buying Guide to Mobile Macro Accessories: www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/buying-guide/mobile-macro-accessories
What “regular” camera should I use?
Point-and-shoot cameras are another way to make quality images. Friend and colleague Dr. Gerry Wegner, who is a master of point-and-shoot macro photography, suggests three camera models: the Canon SX710 HS and two models of the Olympus Stylus TG-4 and TG-5. All of these have superior macro capability and allow for large files that can be cropped and sized with minimal image degradation.
Happy bug hunting (and photographing)!