Question for you serious photo bugs? [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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joefan68
05-20-2011, 13:35
Hey guys...This is alittle O/T, but since this is a photography forum...Im looking to get a new digital camera...Have a Powershot A530 now...Is there a compact digital out there that any of you pro photographers like...or recommend?....I dont like relying on the recommendation of a sales clerk at Best Buy, so I thought I'd check with some of you guys that actually use yours alot...Thanks...

Matt

Broadshore
05-20-2011, 17:33
I would invest in something that has over 7MP. Good clear zoom.

edwick
05-20-2011, 19:19
This tutorial (http://gmtristan.com/toy-photography-setup/) I found recently goes into some things to look for if you want to take toy photos. Personally, I'd go for a starter-level DSLR, which will give you better photos and more control over taking them than the best point-and-shoots. These days, you can get some really solid DSLRs for not a lot of money (though definitely more than good point-and-shoots), and I think a good DSLR will last you a lot longer.

I'd definitely look for cameras with a good macro mode. I'd also fiddle with the thing in the store to see if you can figure out how to do some things without the manual (like force the flash off or change the ISO for lower-light shooting). If you're going to fumble it then, you're going to fumble it whenever you want to change it for real.

I've been using a Nikon D70 DSLR for years and haven't felt much urge to upgrade the body, though if I did, I think the bottom-of-the-barrel Nikon DSLR today has more features than my camera does now. 6MP, and I'm perfectly happy with the photo quality.

joefan68
05-20-2011, 20:11
That's the thing...Ive never known alot about changing settings, shutter speeds, etc. for different environments...Im use to just setting the thing on auto and going for it...And thats on a little compact, so I dont know how I'd fair with a DSLR...Feel like I need one of those little yellow "digital cameras for dummies" books....lol...

Doktor Von Evil
05-20-2011, 21:13
If you like your canon I would recommend an SD1xxx series canon camera. They are smaller and and have a lithium-ion battery which I prefer over the A-series. I found the canon cameras Ive owned very easy to use. Whatever the brand the most important feature for 1/6 is image stabilization, which really helps when you aren't using a tripod. Of course macro is more important but I dont know of a camera that doesn't include that feature these days. If you want something more powerful but still small, look at the S-series line which will give you lots more zoom capability, but they will be more useful for shooting things other than miniatures. Megapixels arent all that important if you are just shooting pictures for the web.

edwick
05-21-2011, 13:19
That's the thing...Ive never known alot about changing settings, shutter speeds, etc. for different environments...Im use to just setting the thing on auto and going for it...And thats on a little compact, so I dont know how I'd fair with a DSLR...Feel like I need one of those little yellow "digital cameras for dummies" books....lol...

Well, there's no shame in getting one of those little "for dummies" books if you don't know what you're doing. That's why they make them ;).

Seriously, most DSLR's today have an auto setting that makes them almost as easy to use as a point-and-shoot, except there's no shutter lag (the gap between pressing the button and taking the picture). Admittedly not as big a deal for toy photos, which are probably not moving when you hit the button, but useful in other contexts (photographing kids and pets). SLRs also give you a much bigger light sensor and therefore better photos, which is why a 6MP SLR can produce a better looking photo than some 10-12MP point-and-shoots. However, if you're just going to use an SLR as a point-and-shoot, you'll be spending a lot more money and lugging around a much heavier camera for nothing.

The good news is that all you really need to know about using an SLR hinges on understanding that photography is about light management. Using an SLR effectively is about knowing how the camera controls light management and what that light management will do to your photo. The most visible trick an SLR lets you do is control "depth of field," which is a fancy word for a simple idea. Check out this photo of one of my Snake Eyes bashes (click if you want to see it bigger):
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5218/5521209157_3427bcb4bc.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edwick/5521209157/)

His head is in focus, but his pistol isn't. That's SHALLOW FOCUS. You get a very narrow range of stuff that's in focus: I focused on Snake Eyes' head, and stuff in front of it and behind it are out-of-focus, even though this is a distance measured in inches. Compare that to this photo of an outdoor ad for one of my favorite shows:
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4151/5063588195_be1e0affc3.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/edwick/5063588195/)

I focused on the ad, but the "no standing" street sign, the ad, and the building behind it are all in focus, even though this is a distance measured in dozens of yards, if not close to half a mile. This is called DEEP FOCUS. You see deep focus and shallow focus in use in photos and movies all the time.

There's also only 3 ways that any camera controls light management. That's it! Once you know what they are, you'll be ready to "read" a DSLR's specs (or, more importantly, the lens attached to it), but I'll hold off on longer discussions of this until I know you want to hear it :).

And, if you whip through my Flickr album, you'll also realize that you can understand all this stuff and still take crappy photos :D.

joefan68
05-21-2011, 14:19
Thanks guys...I really appreciate all this help...Actually, one camera I had looked at was the Canon SX20IS...or SX30IS I think it is now...big, compact camera, but with a alot of zoom and a decent wide angle view....Course, alot of cameras today focus on their "video" capabilities...But I dont care about all that, I just want to take a good camera...Plus it has an external flash dock on top, which alot dont...

I like the idea of a DSLR...And actually wondered if my lenses and stuff from my Canon EOS SLR would be compatable with a Canon EOS DSLR...But I havent checked yet...

Your right about the light thing though...I took my camera to the Air/Space museum over near Dulles Airport...And even with flash, the pics came out so dark and kinda grainy looking because of the low light in the place...

So...we'll see...I need to go check out some next week...

Matt

edwick
05-21-2011, 15:25
I like the idea of a DSLR...And actually wondered if my lenses and stuff from my Canon EOS SLR would be compatable with a Canon EOS DSLR...But I havent checked yet...
They are, kind of. Older lenses may not match up the motors, and if they don't then autofocus won't work. The other thing is that digital lenses are a little different than film cameras lenses. You need to add about 15mm to the lens length of a film camera lens to get the equivlent digital length, so a 50mm film lens (which is a flat, no distortion length) becomes a 65mm lens on a digital (making it a slight but noticeable zoom).

Unless it's a really expensive specialty lens it's probably not worth it.

Ivan1GFP
05-23-2011, 19:40
If I had to buy a camera today for toy photography, I would probably get a Canon G12. Expensive, but its a really excellent point & shoot. For general use, it doesn't have enough zoom though. My current camera is a Canon S5IS. Quite excellent for its time, but they don't even make it any more. It doesn't do particularly well in low light, but that isn't really important for toys. These days, for a general use camera, I would probably get something in the Canon SX-something line. I keep coming across those that are quite good but they aren't that much better than my current camera that I am ready to buy.

If you want to take good pictures of toys like Action figures, get a small tripod. (Mine only cost $1 from a computer store.) Try to find a place with decent lighting. Use the smallest aperture (High F-stop) and long shutter times. Also, figure out the timer on your camera. Get everything set up, push the button and then don't touch the camera when it shoots the picture. Most of the time, when I shoot Joe stuff, shutter times are somewhere around 5-10 seconds.

If you are shooting indoors with artificial lighting, figure out your white balance to avoid everything coming out yellow.

- Ivan.

Retrogrouch
06-03-2011, 17:13
I agree with Ivan. I bought my first Figure to use to practice posing and lighting for photography. I have had both DSLR's SLR's and digital compacts. I mostly use my G-9 for it's great pictures and convienance. If tyou take the time to go though one of those thin little books about digital photography, you will make your photo's so much beter, in a real hurry. It sounds intimidating at first, but the joy of digital is you can mess withit till you get it for no cost. For shooting minitures, as Ivan said, getting a handel on the white ballance is cool, because then you can use desk lamps or the like to set up realy good lighting for cheap. I would argue that good lighing is more important than a good camera.

Good luck and enjoy the Process

AP

joefan68
08-04-2011, 19:00
Hi guys...Been alittle while since I posted in this thread, but Im back...lol...I mentioned to a couple of you that I was in the market for a new digital camera...Well, Im thinking of going with Canon's new entry level EOS T3...Most of what Ive read about it seems positive, but I'd kinda like to know if any of you have read anything about it and what your opinions are...Thanks...

Matt

Ivan1GFP
08-05-2011, 21:40
A few weeks back, two people in my office both bought the Canon T3i in a package because it was such a nice deal. Not a bad camera from what I could tell. I don't think they will beat what I can get with my S5IS for toy photography though. Those two would need a bunch of lenses to get the Super Macro and 12x optical zoom that I can get with just a couple buttons. No doubt they have better cameras though. If you are photographing toys, Macro / Super Macro is most important.

I don't generally "Photoshop" my pictures. I am the documentation type of photographer rather than the artsy type, so being able to have a RAW format doesn't really buy much.

One of the folks commented that the Canon D60 was in a better value package from Best Buy. I had to agree. I thought about buying it, but didn't really have a need for it. If I needed a Digital SLR, I would have bought the D60 package over the T3i.

- Ivan.