Author Topic: What camera do you use and how do you like it?  (Read 1721 times)

Allaboard321

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 243
What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« on: October 20, 2011, 12:10:20 PM »
What camera do you use and how do you like it? I am trying to get ideas if I ever want to get a new camera that is better than the one I use now
Charge your camera battery BEFORE you go to the tracks.

indrr

  • Administrator
  • Tycoon
  • *****
  • Posts: 5580
  • indrr admin
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2011, 12:22:14 PM »
I use a Panasonic p&s. Not spectacular, but good enough for my usage.

If you have the resources, I'd highly recommend a DSLR. The other guys on here can debate about which maker is best, lens required, filters, etc, etc.

Also a big help is this site: http://www.dpreview.com/ They have pretty reliable reviews of all sorts of digital cameras, from ones designed for 5 year olds to the super heavy duty professional models.
Nathan Bilger
-----------------
Board Admin, Webmaster
http://www.indianarailroads.org.

Racecar52

  • Chief Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 747
  • Guerrilla Railfan
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2011, 02:05:42 PM »
Nikon and Canon are both really great brands.

I was looking for something a little more powerful than a typical pocket sized "point and shoot" so I bought a Canon SX20 IS about a year ago.  Its a great package if you aren't ready to dish out the $$ for a DSLR.
-Representing the Purdue Railroad Club
http://prrc.purdue.org

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2011, 02:38:47 PM »
I started with a series of Fuji Point and Shoot cameras, moving up in megapixels each time because I thought that would cure my frustrations with the current camera. The problem was I didn't understand what the camera was doing or could do depending on the way the camera was setup. A co-worker, who is a professional photog, got me on the right track(well, as best he could given what he had to work with) and had me start reading up on how cameras work and what all those settings really do when you change them about. I think that after several inexpensive(relative term) cameras and finally purchasing a DSLR(and still didn't understand really how to operate it) I found out that just throwing money at the problem didn't get the situation fixed. I finally realized that the only way I was going to be satisfied with my pictures(let alone anyone else) was to buckle down and figure it all out.

Now that I probably know about 10% of all the things you need to know to be a novice photographer and at least get some results that can be salvaged in Photoshop, I do most of my photography with a Fuji S3 Pro DSLR(I bought it used from a camera dealer on eBay). I have several lenses that I have picked up over the past couple of years. My first lens was a Tamron 28-300 Telelens that works for me in just about all the situations involving shooting trains. It's a good, inexpensive lens that yields fairly good results for someone working within a budget. This lens covers a pretty long focal range. It will let me get shots of things that are far away(zoom in) and things that are closer(zoom out), just like a point and shoot that has a zoom feature. There are times when you need to just get more territory in your shot. So, I then picked up a Nikon 18-35 lens that will give a wider shot, more so than my first lens, the Tamron 28-300. The numbers after the lens brandname is the focal length range of the lens. Notice that the one with the smaller numbers is the one that yields a wider shot.

The more I was out and about the country shooting trains I got interested in making panoramic pictures. I tried doing that with the two lenses I had but just couldn't get a good seamless pano out of the series of pictures I had shot when stitching them together. Just a whole lot of issues that I won't cover here. In an effort to improve my panoramic shots I picked up a 60mm F2.0 Tamron lens that gave me better shots with less distortion and worked much better for the panos than the other two lenses. This lens is a fixed focal length lens that is referred to as a prime lens because the focal length never changes. I bought it for a specific purpose so limiting the functionality is ok because it does that job well for me.

I would have to say that if you see me out and about shooting pictures of trains, more than likely I am using the Fuji S3 with the Tamron 28-300 mounted. Just a good, general purpose setup that yields me some good results when I keep my mind on what I am doing. What that means is that I do waste a lot of pixels sometimes.  I would also add that you can get good pictures out of a point-and-shoot as well. You just got to know your limitations like Clint would say. But then, that probably goes for just about any camera lens combination you might choose to work with.

I do cheat a lot after shooting train pictures all day long before posting them. I do run them through Photoshop RAW converter and try to come out with the best result I can. I look at this way, what I come out of Photoshop with had to be in the pixel bits to begin with, otherwise I would never have found it in Photoshop. Actually, after a little Photoshop work(never more than a few minutes) I tend to get more of what I was after to begin with when I took the picture. Photoshop can also help you save some shots that otherwise would only reside in the Recycle Bin.

My last piece of advice is don't go out and buy a whole bunch of expensive camera equipment and software unless you are going to put in the time to understand what you are working with. It will only lead to frustration and disappointment and a whole lot of dollars down the drain. If you are out there shooting with a point-and-shoot digital camera then learn everything about that camera before moving on. Take the little sucker out of "Auto" mode and start experimenting and analyzing the results. Read the manual for the camera and go on line and do some reading up on photography and what it is all about. The more you do in "manual" mode(settings on the camera you set yourself versus letting the camera do all of the thinking) the more you will learn and the more you will be in control of the results. It takes time and practice with your camera in order to be confident enough to start shooting in manual mode. If you decide to start experimenting with your camera just be thankful that you are working with a digital camera and not a film camera. You can waste and waste pixels until the cows come home and you really will only be out a little wear and tear on your finger and a few sets of batteries(invest in rechargeables).

In the end just try to have fun with taking pictures and doing something with them like posting on the Bull Session and other forums. If it's first of fun, then it won't seem like such a chore trying to learn more about another great hobby that goes hand in hand with railfanning.

INprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14286
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2011, 03:18:01 PM »
I carry 2 cameras,
A Sony A390, I run a standard 18-55m lens on it for close up stuff.
A Sony A55, I run my telephoto on it, I shoot with a Minolta beercan 70-300m lens

My suggestion is get into a low end starter DSLR if you are truly wanting to do this. 

Sony purchased Minolta stuff so you have so much to chose from there, thus why I (a diehard Canon user) dumped my Canon stuff and went the way of Sony.  Everyone I know carries different stuff, from Canon to Nikon to Fuji to Olympus. 
My daughter shoots with a Olympus "prosumer" grade camera and is about to upgrade to a DSLR.  She wants the A390, and that would make a good solid starter DSLR.

My suggestion is find a full line camera shop.  In Muncie you have Jack's camera.  But you need to be nice and professional and they will help you out.  You will get to handle the cameras and see what they are like. 

shane_man15

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2427
  • Back to building quality Honda products again.
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2011, 05:07:33 PM »
For now, I have my mom's point-and-shoot camera. Do I like it? Not really, no. But hey, I'll take what I can get...Until Christmas.  ;D
It's a Canon, so all you Nikon and Sony (MATT) users can give me crap now.  ;D
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

Modeler of the Muncie, Richmond, and Fernald Railway.
Train horns are also my thing.

GIMME A CORVETTE ALREADY!

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14286
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2011, 08:03:34 PM »
For now, I have my mom's point-and-shoot camera. Do I like it? Not really, no. But hey, I'll take what I can get...Until Christmas.  ;D
It's a Canon, so all you Nikon and Sony (MATT) users can give me crap now.  ;D

Considering you still have a chance to make the change.....   ;D

Allaboard321

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 243
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2011, 08:14:35 PM »
INprinter how long did it take you to type that? I never really did think of that I am like you where thinking the camera would fix my problems. Right now I am just in the planning stages of getting a new one and this stage might last a while. Sometimes I will fix the lighting on the camera program to make things look a little
Less gray and more colorful. Right now I am just using a $300 sony camera.  It's pretty nice for it's price. At least it has a pretty big LCD screen and rechargeable batters. Before I had one that took normal batteries it just ate right though them! I am finally starting to get around to messing with the manual setting on it. For my 10th year in high school I am going to try and take a photography class to learn more about camera settings and all that fun stuff to learn since this year is already full.
Charge your camera battery BEFORE you go to the tracks.

shane_man15

  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2427
  • Back to building quality Honda products again.
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 08:17:40 PM »
Considering you still have a chance to make the change.....   ;D
Maybe when we have time to NOT chase trains around, you should let me try out your Sonys.  ;D In all honesty though, since I've never handled one really.
Shane Smiley (shane_man15)

Modeler of the Muncie, Richmond, and Fernald Railway.
Train horns are also my thing.

GIMME A CORVETTE ALREADY!

INprinter

  • Willing to railfan for deep fried pickles!
  • Global Moderator
  • Mogul
  • *****
  • Posts: 2381
  • Licensed Ham Radio Operator - K9SVL
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2011, 08:36:27 PM »
INprinter how long did it take you to type that? I never really did think of that I am like you where thinking the camera would fix my problems. Right now I am just in the planning stages of getting a new one and this stage might last a while. Sometimes I will fix the lighting on the camera program to make things look a little
Less gray and more colorful. Right now I am just using a $300 sony camera.  It's pretty nice for it's price. At least it has a pretty big LCD screen and rechargeable batters. Before I had one that took normal batteries it just ate right though them! I am finally starting to get around to messing with the manual setting on it. For my 10th year in high school I am going to try and take a photography class to learn more about camera settings and all that fun stuff to learn since this year is already full.

I worked on that earlier today in between cycles on the printing press. A class would be a good thing. You can also find a ton of good stuff about photography on the internet as well and it's free(mostly). I have bought several books on photography(mostly beginner books) and I read everything I can find on my particular camera and lenses. Just keep at it. Once you get it straight in your mind the relationship of light to aperture setting and exposure time you will move right along. Also, understanding what is in focus in your picture helps a bunch as well. Sometimes, you only want a particular part of the shot in focus. Other times, you want what is in focus to range very deep into the shot.

INprinter
Shelbyville-1st RR in IN: 7/4/1834. 1st RR abandoned in IN: K&S RR 1854, 26 miles. Making IN RR history. Without photons photography would be a black art. You can never get cornered in the Roundhouse.

Tom Carroll

  • Guest
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2011, 01:08:11 AM »
Cannon digital with several lenses and a Nikon N70 for slide work and a Pentax Slide camera as a back-up.

Like them all but shoot mostly digital.  I do alot of buildings, court houses, bridges and historical stuff around the midwest.   CSX, NS, Amtrak and INRD SD90's  on a train are all looking the same from shot to shot.  Finding new locations is getting harder.  Either heading to Fostoria or Linton Friday AM for three days.

Have a great weekend......

Tom, W9CSX

CIND 2254

  • Global Moderator
  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1686
  • Modeling high Hood GP30s on the CERA ca. 1996-1998
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2011, 03:49:41 PM »
What can I say, I like my Nikon D90.  ;)
Modeling High Hood GP30s on the CERA based in Kokomo circa. 1996-1998.

Bill

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 241
  • Now with 20% more foam!!
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2011, 06:49:41 PM »
Nikon fan boy here! ;D  I really like my D40, but I do sometimes wish I would have gotten a 'newer' model when I got mine as the product cycle for it was coming to an end.
For more area railroad info, check out:
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/Tri_State_Area_Railroads_IN_IL_Ky
My Pics at Dropshots.com : Password billstrains
http://www.dropshots.com/billstrains

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14286
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2011, 10:46:30 AM »
A thing that drove me to the Sony A55 was the buffer rate.
I can take about 25 shots in RAW+ and do it rapid fire and never run into my buffer if I wanted to.
If you just want to shoot in JPEG format you can get almost 40 shots of.

So if you want a lot of pictures of that fast moving train, then you have to research your buffer rate (how many shots before you hit the buffer).  Some cameras you can only get 5-6 shots of in RAW before you hit the buffer and have to wait again to get a shot.   It can be frustrating when you miss the shot, or don't get shots that you might have otherwise because you are waiting for the perfect shot.

Reminds me of the days when we shot film and you had to wait for the perfect shots..  ;D

E-Unit

  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1674
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2011, 03:28:54 AM »
Ive been a hardcore Canon guy since i was 15. Started out with basic and worked up to the "compact superzoom" I'm on my third powershot and they are excellent even at the low end pricepoint. I'm gonna try a sony this time because this new model is quite intruiging.

Current:
Canon PowerShot SX130 IS. 12.1 MP, 12x optical zoom 720p/30 video 2 AA batteries and paired with 8gb pny class 4 SDHC card. Pros: Great image stabiliziation and great zoom. Durable. Features are simple and easy to set. Cons: Bulky compared to other cameras with zoom length simalarities. Low light capabilities are unwieldly (ISO 1600, slow flash). The low ISO rating in Canon's entire non-DSLR lineup are the weak link to a 5 star camera. Rating 4/5. Price $198 (Discontinued) replaced with SX150 during Q3 2011 which is the same except 14.1 MP. Cost $229

I just put this new Sony on layaway at work (I work in electronics and photo lab at Walmart) http://store.sony.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&productId=8198552921666297852#specifications and a 16gb Class 10 schc.

I guees I would call it a DSLR jr. It has low end DSLR (16.2 mp) image qaulity but it packs 30x (810mm) zoom, and you even have the option to "twist focus" like an SLR! Also Has ritzy features like 1080p/60 recording and GPS so you can get some coordinates to hunt down my awsome shooting spots :P.  Cost: $398

As far as Nikon products go I do like them.
 Their DSLR lineup is King. No arguments.
But..... The standard models have good features but I prefer Canon in this catagory. One thing I do notice is the image stabilization doesnt seem to be par with canon and their "smart" shooting settings tend to never get exposure times right. Certain models were eating battery at an exponental rate (50 shots a charge).  To me it seems like good hardware but the Nikon firmware is flawed.

Heres what 200 dollars worth of Canon can get you. Heres some sample pics in various times of day and lighting situations...
Prairie Maverick.

CIND 2254

  • Global Moderator
  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1686
  • Modeling high Hood GP30s on the CERA ca. 1996-1998
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2011, 02:08:10 PM »
Certain models were eating battery at an exponental rate (50 shots a charge).  To me it seems like good hardware but the Nikon firmware is flawed.

I can get about 600-800 shots per battery charge. Ive left mine on for 3-4 days and come back to find that the battery had dropped less than 20%.

Christian
Modeling High Hood GP30s on the CERA based in Kokomo circa. 1996-1998.

Allaboard321

  • Conductor
  • ****
  • Posts: 243
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2011, 02:34:09 PM »
Just got out for a weekend of rail fanning on the ns Chicago line and I have been messing around with the setting on the camera trying to get it to work more to my liking and I have started to make some progress! With the lighting being really good I have been able to set the ISO setting really low around the 100 and 200 range and not have it blurry. I will post them once I get home(since I'm typing on the road using a IPad) and put a link here. The real test will be when the lighting isnt perfect and see hoW I do then! thanks for all the help I have gotten from you guys!
Charge your camera battery BEFORE you go to the tracks.

E-Unit

  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1674
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2011, 03:27:34 PM »
I can get about 600-800 shots per battery charge. Ive left mine on for 3-4 days and come back to find that the battery had dropped less than 20%.

Christian

Yeah only some are like that. Im sure they were fixing it. I havnt heard about one doing it in a month or two. It was the new P500 with issues mostly.
Prairie Maverick.

CIOR

  • The Second
  • Administrator
  • Jay Gould
  • *****
  • Posts: 14286
Re: What camera do you use and how do you like it?
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2011, 10:21:03 PM »
My A390 is about 300-400 shots per battery but I never found it that bad.  I could get around 500 on a charge.
The A55 is much better and inline with the other cameras.