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Author Topic: recommend a camera  (Read 449 times)

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Offline bluedepot

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recommend a camera
« on: June 07, 2018, 07:08:15 pm »
hi

i would like a camera that can take decent pictures of model trains.

I'm not that into photography really and reading all the technical info bores me tbh! I do enjoy making videos and taking pictures of real trains, I have a pretty out of date video camera but it can do 1080p and a point and shoot camera too, which are fine for what I use them for. I don't do anything fancy with the settings on either. to take good still photos of models though neither is any good.

can anyone suggest a not particularly expensive camera that can take good model pictures where the whole shot can be in focus? I realise I may have to read up on image stacking and depth of field and all that but preferably a camera that is fairly simple would be my preference!!

any recommendations appreciated!

thanks


Tim

Online BobB

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 07:36:22 pm »
I've just bought a Canon SX620 HS (Compact zoom camera). I took a class 33 to the shop to see if it stayed in focus when at an angle. By the time we downloaded the picture onto one of the shop's laptop computers we had a crowd, one of whom wanted to by the locomotive ! It seems to work for models at quite a close distance. No trouble at all for the more general pictures.

Offline Newportnobby

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 08:12:21 pm »
A couple of years ago I bought a Canon Powershot SX510HS bridge camera and am well happy with it. Good macro and zoom functions, HD video and ability to take colour/b & w/sepia stills suit my requirements. Many of the results can be seen scattered around the forum.

Offline javlinfaw7

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 09:47:55 pm »

I have always used Pentax since I bought a Spotmatic in the early 1970s and currently have a K50 DSLR however I always carry a Nikon Coolpix S9600 and for day to day use it is ideal. It is compact , with 16mp and 22 zoom with good video and makro functions I bought this to replace an earlier Canon that the lens jammed on

Offline dannyboy

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 10:25:23 pm »
I am another fan of Canon cameras. My current one, a SX720HS is excellent for macro shots and I have been taking a lot of pictures of my rolling stock for cataloguing purposes. The camera will take a close up that is that close to the subject, the lens is almost touching! I tend to have it set to 'Auto' as it is easiest. Using the zoom function, I can take a photograph down my drive and I can see individual branches in the hedge - and that is about 200 yards away. An excellent camera in my opinion.
David.
I used to be indecisive - now I'm not - I don't think.

Offline AlexanderJesse

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 06:16:17 am »
I am very happy with my Olympus e620.
The Olympus systemcameras like the actual OMD models are good and the changeable optics are really excellent.

Before the e620 I had other Olympus compacts and never regretted buying them.
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Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 09:03:30 am »
I'll be interested to read people's thoughts too.  I'm well overdue to upgrade/replace. 

For layout photography I still tend to fall back to an Olympus C2100 Ultrazoom I bought over 15 years ago, it's only 2.1MP but still does a far better job than any of the more recent higher resolution small cameras in our household, most of which are poor/grainy with indoors light - the best of the bunch being a Canon. The Nikon Coolpix we have I find particularly disappointing.

I'm not a photography nerd at all so don't understand most of the terminology and adjustments etc., all I've found is that I like to go manual and maximise the depth of field to get everything I want in focus.
Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline bluedepot

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2018, 02:33:46 pm »
Thanks everyone!

I think it's going to need me to go into a shop and try some out as it's too complicated and expensive to just order one online!

I may copy bob and go to the shop with a model to photograph (model train that is!)

It's so annoying when pictures of models are not focused right so really got to bite the bullet and spend on a good camera!

cheers

Tim

Offline railsquid

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2018, 05:16:56 pm »
I'll be interested to read people's thoughts too.  I'm well overdue to upgrade/replace. 

For layout photography I still tend to fall back to an Olympus C2100 Ultrazoom I bought over 15 years ago, it's only 2.1MP but still does a far better job than any of the more recent higher resolution small cameras in our household

Good heavens, I had one of those for a while, and was quite happy with it, but it was too slow and clunky and lacking in storage capacity for me at the time (long before I thought of photographing model railways).

At the moment I have a Panasonic DMC-TZ30 which I'm very satisfied with, though I've had it a few years so no doubt there's a replacement model available. I'm another not-photography-expert but with some experimentation it's possible to take decent photos (though focus is an artform of it's own...). It's also compact enough to be able to take "street level" photos without removing too many scenic elements.
Takahachikawa - Japanese and other trains

Birmingham Knotmore Street - (ex) GWR mainline through the Midlands

Offline d-a-n

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2018, 10:55:34 am »
This is one of those scenarios where cameras with bigger sensors and bigger price tags are a at a disadvantage with their shallower depth of field!

As stated before, get a point and shoot from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic etc. It doesn't matter if it's a bridge camera or a compact but it'll have a small sensor which means lots of depth of field putting more in focus. You  might not feel the need to mess about with focus stacking, especially if you don't have the time to do all this after taking the photo!

Some worthwhile features for me would be:

1 - A touch screen to aid focusing - literally touch the bit you want to focus on, no complicated menus and very intuitive.

2 - Some semblance of semi-manual control. This could take the form of an 'aperture priority' mode so you can dictate to the camera that you want a nice small aperture, a low ISO and it'll take care of the shutter speed for you. If you have control over the aperture, it would also be useful to have the ability to use exposure compensation to control how light or dark the image will be rather than fixing it in post production!

Things which are useful are:

1- An optical image stabiliser so you can handhold the camera without it blurring. This won't be useful for shooting f/32 at ISO 100 at home as usually your exposures are about 20-45 seconds, but at a show where you don't want flash it can be useful (or if you're zooming in on something far away.

2 - An articulated screen so you can get the camera right down at track level but you won't need to.

Things you probably don't need are:

1 - a zillion megapixels. This is NOT a measure of how good a camera is and is NOT a selling point. There's no getting away from the fact that most cameras are now about 16-20 megapickles - this is ALL you'll need and anything more just means they're probably sacrificing image quality for resolution.

2 - x50 optical zoom range. Bridge cameras which go from modestly wide to telescopically zoomed in usually do all of these focal lengths quite poorly. Besides, no-one NEEDS to zoom in so far that they can see little green men on the moon and if they do, they'll soon realise that these types of camera are pretty weak zoomed so far in and usually end up buying something much more suited to the task. Some of the best compact cameras only have a x4 or x5 optical zoom range but do all of it really well!

One camera which fits the bill would be the Panasonic TZ80. It does have a big zoom rangeand lots of non-essential bells and whistles but it does all the things you need solidly and the lens is a pretty decent quality item.

https://www.jessops.com/p/panasonic/lumix-dmc-tz80-camera-in-silver-97613?PPC-AlwaysOn=False&PPC-Cat=Default_xxxx-xx-xx-xx_yyyy-yy-yy-yy&PPC-CopyCreationDate=2018-05-22&gclid=Cj0KCQjwmPPYBRCgARIsALOziAP25zcauu8XFosHBfz_syrrceG-c-4I5vp3EiW1DOo7uY5_VWSj6oAaAm4gEALw_wcB

The successor has come out so expect to see these reduced/on the secondhand market for cheap.




Offline railsquid

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2018, 11:54:33 am »
One camera which fits the bill would be the Panasonic TZ80. It does have a big zoom rangeand lots of non-essential bells and whistles but it does all the things you need solidly and the lens is a pretty decent quality item.

https://www.jessops.com/p/panasonic/lumix-dmc-tz80-camera-in-silver-97613?PPC-AlwaysOn=False&PPC-Cat=Default_xxxx-xx-xx-xx_yyyy-yy-yy-yy&PPC-CopyCreationDate=2018-05-22&gclid=Cj0KCQjwmPPYBRCgARIsALOziAP25zcauu8XFosHBfz_syrrceG-c-4I5vp3EiW1DOo7uY5_VWSj6oAaAm4gEALw_wcB

The successor has come out so expect to see these reduced/on the secondhand market for cheap.

This looks like the successor to my DMC-TZ30 mentioned above, which I still find very satisfactory. Recent shot as an example:

Takahachikawa - Japanese and other trains

Birmingham Knotmore Street - (ex) GWR mainline through the Midlands

Offline stevewalker

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2018, 12:10:11 pm »
To really throw a spanner in the works, you can pick up second-hand digital SLRs and lenses on Ebay for pretty low prices. I still use a Canon 350D (only 8 MP, but proper interchangeable lenses make all the difference) and they're selling for very little by the looks of it.

Offline ntpntpntp

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2018, 12:14:27 pm »
This is still one of my favourite shots, taken back in 2011 with my old Olympus C2100  Ultrazoom - as mentioned previously it must be over 15 years old now. 

@railsquid  is quite right it is clunky and I have to change cards frequently when shooting at its highest resolution (still only 2.1 megapickles) but it seems to do a nice job so I've persevered with it for all these years. 


Nick.   2016 celebrating the 20th anniversary of "Königshafen" exhibition layout!

Offline Phoenix

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2018, 01:48:59 pm »
 :hellosign:

Hi All,

The photos I have been taking of "Windmill Hill" have been pretty hit and miss ..... I have a Sony "point and shoot" digital camera I got a few years back, and I work on the principal if I take enough shots some must surely come out OK  ::)

As a newbie to model railways (just about a year) I realise that there huge differences in photographing what we make, and the real world.

This means I need a camera update so am really interested in what you all have to say here, so thank you all for your suggestions  :thumbsup:

A while ago when I mentioned this Alexander suggested taking my layout to our local camera shop ( My layout is tiny  :D ) so I will do this, and also thanks to this thread will also have some ideas of cameras to talk to the camera man about .

All best wishes
Kevin

 :beers:

Offline dave d

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Re: recommend a camera
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2018, 03:36:06 pm »
If after your various visits to camera shops etc and reviewing their advice, should you decide to buy a digital SLR, then try a company called MPB Photographic. They deal in used photographic equipment. I have used them quite a bit and can recommend them.
As a suggestion: a starter DSLR, a good lens capable of close focus and a tripod. This last will allow to maximise the depth of field whilst maintaining a rock steady camera.
Hope this adds to the discussion

 

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