Taking digital pics of a model railroad tutorial ?

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Biased turkey, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    I used the search engine , and entered "digital camera tutorial" but didn't came with any valid result.
    I have a Canon powershot A 530 ( not reflex ) and took a few pics of my structures and rolling stock, using the automatic mode , the closeup options and the flash.
    I would like to take better shots ( if possible ) using the manual setting of the shutter speed and the aperture and choosing the best Iso value too.
    I'm quite sure someone on this forum gave detailed info about the subject ( is it DoctorWayne ? ).
    Any link ?
  2. b28_82

    b28_82 Member

    Here is what I do when taking pictures. First I take a lot because the first one and most likely the second one will not turn out how you want. One huge thing that helps is getting one of those reflector lights and pointing it usually near the subject but not on the subject.

    When I take pictures without a reflector light i use Shutter Priority at 1/13sec and ISO 50 in normal indoor light conditions that will give you a generally good picture but since you are at less than 1/150sec shutter speed the more suceptable a blurry picture.

    I have used the 10 sec delay while putting the camera on a steady surface so the motion of me pressing the button doesn't affect anything.
    I hope this helped some. I'm sure you'll get more input around here. There's some really good indoor photographers around these parts.
  3. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Naw, 'twasn't me. :) I just shoot and hope for the best. :thumb: I've used 35mm film cameras for quite some time and got fairly proficient with them, but didn't do a great deal of model train pictures, although I did do some with a home-made pinhole attachment which gave some nice results.The first digital camera that I used belonged to my daughter and was very easy to use. About the only options were the ability to turn off the flash and to open or stop down the aperture, although f-values weren't given. This camera offered very good depth of field and reasonable close-ups. All of my early pictures, until only recently, were done with this camera. I do have a new camera, but am just starting to see what it will or won't do. I got it last April, but only had the pictures put on a cd about a week ago. Because I didn't take notes as to what the settings were for each picture, I don't really know for sure which ones are correct for which situation. I took 601 pictures, of which 126 were not useable (out of focus, too dark, or poor composition). There were another 34 that have some good elements about them, but need work (cropping, retouching, etc.)
    This camera has a bunch of settings, but only some allow a complete manual override, which would be my preference. I can select an option for taking pictures under fluorescent light (good - layout is lit with them), choose to allow more light into the camera (not clear whether this is an aperture or shutterspeed function), and select from a very limited range of ISO values.
    While I'm no expert, I'll offer a couple of tips or suggestions, which also apply to film cameras. Shut off the flash. If you provide a reasonable amout of light, the camera will adjust itself to make a decent exposure (as opposed to an indecent one ;) :D ). Use a tripod or set the camera on something solid. About the best I was ever able to do consistently was 1/15th of a second hand-held, not good enough for this kind of photography. Finally, compose the picture before you take it, then recompose it, after you've seen the first picture in the viewer, fixing what you missed when you pressed the shutter the first time. :oops: :rolleyes: :D

  4. jbaakko

    jbaakko Active Member

  5. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    First, thanks to all the people who took some of their time to reply.

    Maybe the most valuable suggestion was to turn the flash off and use the manual settings.
    It was good to remind me of the 1st law of photography " take tens of shots to have just 1 good picture )

    Here is one decent shot I took following all the suggestions. Of course I had to reduce the resolution in order to post on this forum, but in the full resolution shot, the TH&B logo is not blurred.
    1/15 sec
    F 5.6
    ISO 200
    Close-up mode

    For whatever reason , my camera in close-up mode has only 2 F stop values: 2.6 and 5.6 . I wish it has a higher F stop value in order to increas the field of depth.

    That link is very good:
    http://arailfan.googlepages.com/, the guy knows his business.
  6. msowsun

    msowsun Member

    I have a similar Canon Powershot. DON'T use "close up" Mode.

    For close-ups, select the focus mode to "macro" (the little flower icon). You will be able to focus down to 2" in "Wide". Don't zoom in because you will lose the macro focus ability. You can always crop later if you want.

    Use Manual mode. Turn off the flash. (You can experiment with "fill flash", but use only 1/3 manual flash.) Set the ISO to 80 and set the photo size to 2592x1944 (Large).

    Set the aperature at f8.0 and the shutter speed at 1 second. Vary the shutter speed to get the right exposure.

    Use a tripod or set the camera on the layout. Use the delayed shutter function so you don't get any camera shake.

    If you follow these basic instructions, you will get GREAT model photos like this.

    Mike Sowsun
    Oakville, Ontario


  7. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    The top photo is very realistic indeeed. How did you light it? It looks as if it may have been shot outdoors.

    Edit: Didn't mean to slight the other photos. They too are wonderful. I just was taken by the first one.
  8. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    Great pictures Mike. The depth of field is much better compared to what I can get with my camera.

    First I'm confused when you say:
    "I have a similar Canon Powershot. DON'T use "close up" Mode.

    For close-ups, select the focus mode to "macro" (the little flower icon). You will be able to focus down to 2" in "Wide". Don't zoom in because you will lose the macro focus ability. You can always crop later if you want."

    I always thought that "close up" or macro was the same.That distinction is not vclear to me.
    I use the flower icon to take close pictures. But as I mentioned , in manual mode and unless I use the zoom I can only get to f 5.6. That'e even mentioned in the camera manual. I don,t know what causes that limitation, maybe it's because it is a low range model.
    Of course, using the zoom defeat the purposee of using the macro mode.

    Thanks for the info about the f8 and 1 sec shutter time. It'll put me in the ballpark.
  9. ejen34

    ejen34 Member

    Thank you Josh for this link, seems to be an excellent site, will read thru it tonight :thumb:
  10. msowsun

    msowsun Member

    The top photo was shot with just overhead flourescent lighting as were the others. Maybe the shadow of the overhanging roof makes it look like the outdoors.....

    The Canon A530 has a "portrait" mode on the top. Sorry, I thoght maybe you were using that mode because you weren't able to get f8.0

    Macro and Closeup are the same.....I don't understand why you can't get f8.0 in macro focus. What page of the manual tells you this? I had a look and couldn't find it...

    On page 47 it tells you that not all apertures are available at all zoom setting, but they are really refferring to maximum apertures like f2.8 If you zoom to telephoto you will lose the abilility to have a wide open aperture and shallow depth of field . But you want a MINIMUM aperture which lets in less light and gives you a better depth of field.

    You should always be able to get f8.0 in manual.

    Another secret for good depth of field is to shoot a big photo and just crop out anything that is not in focus.... :D :)

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