What's a good Digital Camera

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by Bywaterrailroad, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. This topic may have been covered before, but I need to get a good medium priced ($300+/-) digital that I can also use to take close-up photos of my layout and models. Any brand names and models or must haves that such a camera should have to do close work. Not needing professional type quality, just clear photos to share and post to my website. :rolleyes:
  2. bear

    bear New Member

    Hi, I'm also new to digital photography...just this year. My camera is a Kodak.
    I would suggest a major brand......Kodak, Canon, Fuji etccc. make sure you get OPTICAL ZOOM capability. Digital zoom is ok but not for fine detail.....at least 4 megapixels (for resolution) and plan on buying a digital storage card for the camera.
    I prefer to buy at a camera shop for service and advice. There should be some great deals after the holidays.
    Good luck!!!!
  3. seanm

    seanm Member

    A good digital camera is one that takes pisctures that look the way you want them. Most placed habvs a 15day return policy and will take items back for any reason... I would make a good guess, buy one and take it home and take LOTS of pictures! Look at them on your PC and print a few if you have a capable printer. If you dont; like what you see or the camera is too complex, return it.

    If you are taking pictures of model railroad stuff... look for good macro abilities. Look for manual adjustments. never pay attention to digital zoom, only optical zoom... get something with standard CompacFlash or Smart Media (non propriatary memory) and uses standard batteries. If you take the camera on a trip and run out of juice, it is sure noce to be able to buy a few extra batteries. For general use, use NiMh batteires witha high 2200mah capacity. Watch out for propritaruy batteries.

    My advice is worth exctly what you paid for it.

  4. TrainClown

    TrainClown Member

    I have a Canon PowerShot A75, and it's a wonderful camera. I tryed out 5 or 6 different types before I got this one and it is bt far the best.

  5. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    A Number of things to look for Bywater.

    Firstly. A good "macro" function. i.e. for taking "closeups".

    Next. A manual "overide" of apperture setting. Mine only goes as high as F8.2 This is NOT good enough for a good "depth of field" on closeups. "Depth of field" is how much "distance" of your pic is in focus. For closeups, your loco may be in focus, but anything more than 6"- 8" away will be out of focus unless you can get a good "depth of field", and that mean an aperture of F16 at least.

    However, the higher the "F Stop"(to get a good depth of field), the longer the shutter needs to be open. Indoors, this may mean more than 1/2 second or so, which means a tripod etc to stop camera shake. Mine is limited to 1/2 sec, so sometimes, at F8.2 (for a reasonable depth of filed) it's still too dark for the pics of my TOOT track. Use a lower F Stop, yeah, but less "distance" in the pic is in focus doing that.

    Mexapixels? 4 is OK for the standard home photgorapher, but 6 is nice so you can cut and crop you pics and not loose too much resolution when blowing them up to normal photo(or larger) size.

    Brand and model? up to you. :)
  6. Puckeringswine

    Puckeringswine New Member

    I have a Nikon 3200. 3.1. mp. It's a good all purpose job, has a great Macro feature but lacks depth of field in most model railroad uses, I am learning to work around that. It has a lot of features for under three hundred dollars and thats why I chose it over others. The photos I posted earlier in this forum were taken with available light, no flash! I have even mangaged to get some decent night shots that I never would have got with a film point and shoot.
  7. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    :confused: What's "Macro" :D :D :D :D I never use macro on the "G" Layout.. :p :p :p

    OK - You're right - I do use it! :) :) :) :)

    Bywater -- They are right:

    Optical - not digital zoom... (some have dual ratings - 4x Optical / 6x Digital)
    Extra battery pack if it doesn't use standard batteries.
    Extra card "media".
    and a Decent Megapix rating - remember - These things are like computers! As soon as you really get used to this one, a better one will be out!!

    Im on my 3rd now - I buy them, take good care of them, sell them "used" to other people & put a bit more money to that & buy the next higher "upgrade"!!
  8. kchronister

    kchronister Member

    So guess what... Part of my job is running a digital studio, where I have a staff of graphic artists, art directors and... photographers. I deal with this day in and day out... But of course you're talking personal-level stuff: Even so, since it's part of my job, I've got a lot of personal experience too: I've used digital cameras since the dawn of time (okay, since the early 90's when they still used floppy disks)... I have about 21,000 digital photos stored and have made well over 1,000 of them into prints... Not bragging, just pointing out that I know what I'm talking about here (more than I can usually say on the Gauge!)

    Having used them for years, I second the vote for Nikon for a good general-purpose camera that will do about everything you want unless you go "pro". I have a 4300 (4 megapixel) and have blown photos up to 11x14 with superb clarity. 16x20's are just a hair less clear than a "real" photo, but unless you're really looking for it AND you've recently dusted AND windexed a framed 16x20, you can't see the diff... and really - how many 16x20's do you plan to make?

    Also, I would advise AGAINST buying a printer with the intention of printing your photos. Either you're buying an inkjet printer, and no matter what any manufacturer says or what special paper you use, they will look rotten. OR, you're buying a dye-sublimation printer, which will produce photo-like output, but they usually only do it in one size (like 4x6 or maybe up to 8x10), they cost a lot, and MOST importantly, the cost of dye and paper will actually run you more per print than doing it at the drugstore.

    The drugstore? Yes, many chain drugstores (CVS around here) have machines into which you put your card and get 4x6 prints spit out. About $0.25-$0.30 per print, which is comparable to film develop/print costs (especially when you factor in that you can preview and simply not print pictures you don't want). You can even stand there 10-15 minutes while the machine does it for "grab & go" service. I understand some of the club stores (Costco, etc.) also have this and charge slightly less, but you can't wait for them, you have to come back later.

    For the general stuff, you've already got good advice. Things I'll "thumbs up" from my experience.

    BUY A LARGE CAPACITY CARD. The ones that come with the camera are small and usually hold 20-ish pictures. That is definitely not enough. I would advise you to buy ONE LARGE capacity card rather than several smaller/medium capacity cards. Think in film terms - would you rather have one roll of 200 shots, or 4 rolls of 50 shots each? It's just a convenience thing. Usually the cost factor is irrelevant - or actually in favor of one bigger card.

    Extra battery is definitely apropos.

    Don't buy a camera that only runs off alkaline batteries (pretty hard to do nowadays anyway). If you buy one that comes for use with alkalines, but sells rechargeables as an option, get them -- two sets.

    Make sure it has a good macro function - Model RR work requires it, absolutely.

    Digital zoom is near worthless. Don't even pay attention to it. The optical zoom is what matters.

    Best of luck!
  9. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    All good advice here. The only thing I'd add is to stress the need for Macro function - this is what allows you to get up close to your models - and you will absolutely need to do that. I've found that any digicam with decent macro capabilities usually also has all the other criteria covered. Like anything else, you get what you pay for.

  10. Thank you all.

    I am going to copy and past this info to file and digestion for my post holiday camera buying shopping.
  11. Arlaghan

    Arlaghan Member

    And here's a neat little trick for taking "night" shots:

    Get a camera with a delay timer. Because of the long time the shutters have to be open to get a good shot in the dark, any slight jitter will ruin the shot - even with a tri-pod. Using the delay timer, you can click the button and then let go of the camera for a jitter free shot. :)
  12. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    There are a lot of good Digital Cameras out there.

    I use a Nikon 5700 and we have a Nikon 4300 for back-up.

    They work so well I haven't even looked at the latest stuff.

    Check out Stevesdigicams.com for test reports on all digital cameras.
  13. belg

    belg Member

    Guys I have seen about four of you say to get a good macro feature but WHAT makes a good macro feature???Thanks Pat
  14. seanm

    seanm Member

    You want to be able to get in good and close. 3" focus is usually OK... the closer the better. The minimum focus distance should be listed with the macro info.

    It is also good to shoot something with 90degree angles up close to see how much distortion it introduces as well... you know, that barrel look you sometimes get?
  15. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Macro is the ability to focus very close to your subject - a MUST for model photo's. As Sean said, 3" is ok, but there are cameras out there that can get even closer. Of course you'll pay more the closer you can get.

    Not all cameras have a Macro lens setting, so be sure to ask before you buy.

  16. Dan Vincent

    Dan Vincent Member

    I keep seeing "Macro" being suggested and I agree with that.....but even more important to me is having a camera that allows me to choose "Aperature" priority so I can choose a high f-stop to obtain maximum depth of field.

    My Nikon 5700 (and many others) allows me to pick Aperature, Shutter or preferred modes or I can go full manual.

    Aperature priority with Macro will give you excellent pictures in close focus situations.

    I mentioned "Stevesdigicams.com" above but forgot to mention there are sample pictures taken with each camera review and you can get an idea of how each camera handles close ups and lens quality.

    Choosing a camera based on how many megapixels for the least money is not necessarily the best way to go. Check out the papers for sales by Circuit City and others...find a camera that fits your price range and then go look it up in Steve's reviews.

    Take your time in choosing what is best for you.

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