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Author Topic: Any Suggestions on New Camera?  (Read 260 times)
Tyler V
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« on: September 16, 2017, 06:04:27 PM »

Hello everybody,
        I have been lurking here for a while and staying up to date with what's going on but haven't posted much lately due to my busy nature at art school and personal projects.  While trying to photograph my works in progress and final photos with my iPhone I came to a conclusion that it is probably time to invest in a nice decent camera to document my work for my portfolio, my work consists of mostly fine scale models, dioramas, or props.  I have been researching through various model forums about what camera to use and what lens you should get and have become quite overwhelmed in the vast options out there on the market, plus most forums I've found related to photography are five or more years old, I guess my core question would be what cameras and setups do you guys use most often for model photography? SLR, DSLR point and shoot? Im very overwhelmed and could use a good starting point for my search.

Thank you,
Tyler Virga
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finescalerr
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2017, 02:11:23 PM »

You probably want an interchangeable lens DSLR because model photography often requires a macro lens. The one I used professionally and still tend to use most often is a 100mm macro. Sony, among others, makes a fixed zoom lens camera. It's small but I don't know whether it has decent macro capability.

Were I looking to buy something for a reasonable price (because my camera's price is unreasonable) I'd go to bhphotovideo.com (where many professionals get their stuff) and pick up one of the Canon bodies--one of the Rebels or the 80D--and whatever lens you think you'd use most often. The 100mm macro, by the way, is just as good for regular shooting as it is for macro shots.

It may make no difference to you but the lower cost camera sensors are inferior to those in the more expensive bodies. An inexpensive sensor will have less effect on sharpness than on noise in shadows or low light. Years ago I bought one of the Canon Rebels thinking it had the same sensor as the next best model (because the previous generation's cameras did) and learned the hard way that things had changed. I still used the camera for about six or seven years, cleaned up the noise and adjusted the unsharp mask in Photoshop, and the photos were fine for publication. I used that camera until I closed down the business, then bought a better one. (I know, totally illogical.)

You might save a little money by buying one of Canon's body/lens packages. They also are available at Costco. Depending on what you plan to do with the camera, that might be a good idea or a bad one. In my case, a body alone along with a separate 100mm macro makes more sense than paying extra for the body and a mediocre lens I might not use much.

Nikon cameras also are excellent and in the past five years Sony has come on strong. Most professionals think Canon still produces the most pleasing color and perhaps has an edge in lens selection and perhaps sharpness. But everything I have written is a professional's nitpick. If you know what you're doing, any decent camera, including an iPhone in some cases, can produce good photos. It's hard to make a bad choice. But as you shoot, you become more critical of what you and your camera can do so, if you get a better camera and lens to start with, you'll save money in the long run because they will serve you longer.

Russ
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Tyler V
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2017, 06:02:30 PM »

Okay great, this is a great start Thank you for your input and I was leaning toward a DSLR camera because of its large range of manual options and interchangeable options.  I didn't realize that macro lenses are not only used for close-ups but can be used in other applications too.  I am a newbie when it comes to photography so I appreciate your input and suggestions on what direction to look further in.

-Tyler
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Hauk
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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2017, 04:24:53 AM »

I am also looking for a new camera, but I am not so keen on a macro with a relatively long focus length. Even on a full format DSLR, a 100mm lens is a telephoto lens.

What I want is a camera with the possibillity to shoot model scene closeups with a normal angle of view.

For this reason I have been rather fond of  the early generations of digital compacts with really good macro capabilities. For instance, the good old Nikon Coolpix 995 had the closest focus at just 2cm, or slightly under an inch. And that with the normal angle of view.

I am now shooting with an Canon G12 that have the closest focus at around 5 cm (2 inches). But the sensor is not exactly state of the art, and the lens has suffered some annoying scratches.

I know that the close focus capabilities on these old cameras are due to their very tiny sensors and the really short focal lengths that goes with them. For those reasons these cameraes also had an impressive depth of field, that at the time was a great bonus. Due to focus stacking, this is not so important any more.

So if anyone could point me to a camera or lens with a normal/slightly wide view angle that can focus down to at least 2 inches, I would be very grateful!
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finescalerr
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2017, 11:54:50 AM »

The best way to get the shot you want with almost any camera is to put the camera on a tripod, focus the first photo as close as possible, refocus a few inches farther away and shoot again, and on down the scene until you have what you want. Take the images into Photoshop, one per layer and, with the "feathered edge" erase tool, remove the part of each overlapping photo where it begins to lose focus. Flatten all layers into one and you have your shot in perfect focus from front to back at the sensor's full resolution.

A couple of companies have software to do the same thing but I see no reason to buy them.

An easier way to achieve what you want (at the cost of resolution) is to use a normal lens, shoot from farther away, focus on a point that encompasses the whole scene, and then crop the image. You'll need a fairly hi-res camera for that, since the resulting image will be between 30-50% of the full frame, but any camera from 12 megapixels up should do the job your Nikon 995 did -- only better.

My first digital camera was a Nikon 990 and it was terrific for shooting close-up macro type shots but its resolution was only 3 megapixels. With that, however, I took all product shots, two or three covers, and even managed to put a 990 image onto a 35mm slide shot to create an 11x17 inch spread!

Finally, although I haven't used one, 35mm camera tilt-shift lenses are available and may produce what you want.

If you have more questions, either ask them here or send me an e-mail.

Russ
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Hauk
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2017, 07:31:20 AM »

The best way to get the shot you want with almost any camera is to put the camera on a tripod, focus the first photo as close as possible, refocus a few inches farther away and shoot again, and on down the scene until you have what you want. Take the images into Photoshop, one per layer and, with the "feathered edge" erase tool, remove the part of each overlapping photo where it begins to lose focus. Flatten all layers into one and you have your shot in perfect focus from front to back at the sensor's full resolution.

Focus Stacking in other words Wink


Quote
An easier way to achieve what you want (at the cost of resolution) is to use a normal lens, shoot from farther away, focus on a point that encompasses the whole scene, and then crop the image. You'll need a fairly hi-res camera for that, since the resulting image will be between 30-50% of the full frame, but any camera from 12 megapixels up should do the job your Nikon 995 did -- only better.

Yes, except that you will end up with an image taken with a telephoto lens. The challenge is to keep the view angle of a normal/standard lens. That was the charm with the 990, you got very close focusing combined with the view angle of a normal or slightly wide angled lens. And great depth of field. That we both agree is not so important anymore due to Focus Stacking.

Quote
Finally, although I haven't used one, 35mm camera tilt-shift lenses are available and may produce what you want.

Way back in the analogue ages Model Railroader shot a feature on George Sellios´  Franklin & South Manchester using a medium format camera with a tilt-shift lens. Great depth of field, but the lens made the perspective look quite strange in some of the images.


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Bill Gill
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2017, 10:09:33 AM »

Hauk, The November 2017 issue of Model Railroader (Yes, it's already available in some areas) has an article about taking photos acceptable for publication using an iPhone. While that is not the camera you are seeking, one advantage to camera phone is they are low enough and small enough to set onto a layout for good trackside views that bulkier camera with lens mounted higher are more difficult to set up in some tight/close situations.
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Hauk
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« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2017, 03:40:09 AM »

Hauk, The November 2017 issue of Model Railroader (Yes, it's already available in some areas) has an article about taking photos acceptable for publication using an iPhone. While that is not the camera you are seeking, one advantage to camera phone is they are low enough and small enough to set onto a layout for good trackside views that bulkier camera with lens mounted higher are more difficult to set up in some tight/close situations.

I certainly consider my iPhone 8 for usable for some jobs, especially for the situations you describe.
For webpublishing the a mobile gives more than adequate quality. Even for smaller images in print it can be acceptable.

By the way, I looked into some compacts, and even if it is one of the ugliest cameras I have ever seen the Canon PowerShot G5 X might be a camera for me. It focuses down to 5 cm from the front of the lens. I think this is about as good as it gets with modern compacts.
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Regards, Hauk
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« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2017, 07:29:48 AM »

Also with me, the model railroad photography was always a problem, until I bought this Sony QX 100, attached examples. Photography is done through an app.


shooting distance to lens approx. 70 mm.


Here the recording scenario the lighting is done with LED job spotlights.


Here is another example.


in the background my tray with the app for recording.

There is now even a Boddy for interchangeable lenses the Sony QX 1.
With the QX 100 I made the recordings for my Miba articles.
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Regards Helmut
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