Old 06-08-2005, 09:09 PM   #1
railfanzone
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Default Crappy cameras & such

In another thread, someone mentioned that using a crappy camera hinders his acceptance ability. Well, for ha-has, I just submitted, and had accepted, one photo I took a couple years ago with my crappy old Canon S200 2 megapixel point & shoot.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=108889

Only post processing was a bit of a crop and a touch of USM. A much less capable camera than a 5 MP Sony, but up to the acceptance standards of this site.

Remember the camera is only a tool - the photographer is the one that makes the picture. A "better" camera won't make you a better photographer. The only thing that will make you a better photographer is practice, and practice in all lighting/weather situations, not just sunny days... With digitals it's cheap and easy to practice.

Like the Nike commercials say, Just Do It...

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Old 06-08-2005, 09:11 PM   #2
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I agree with you on that. I use a Canon Powershot A80 (only 4 MP with 3x zoom) and the photos come out pretty good. The only thing is you definately need to process the photos from it because they always come out soft. Here are a few examples:

Image © Brandon Smith
PhotoID: 107992
Photograph © Brandon Smith


Image © Brandon Smith
PhotoID: 106393
Photograph © Brandon Smith

Last edited by quiksmith10; 06-09-2005 at 01:04 AM.
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Old 06-08-2005, 09:18 PM   #3
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I agree x3. I am reluctant to sell my Canon A80, becuase of its portability.

The only reason I opted for the dSLR was for more precise zoom capability, and that the LCD screen on the A80 is darn near impossible to view when the sun is directly at your back.

It still takes great shots, though.

Here are a some examples of mine:

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


These were really moving (40 mph+) --

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©

Last edited by ccaranna; 06-09-2005 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:12 PM   #4
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Nice shot! Point and shoots have two problems, IMO. The lense being the obvious problem. The other problem is with poor lighting they don't function as well IMO. Up close shots in great lighting though and point and shoots work fine.
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Old 06-08-2005, 10:36 PM   #5
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Well said Tom...its not the camera, its the Photographer

Even with a bag full of DSLR goodies, I still pack a cheap and simple point and shoot Kodak CX6200 (2.0 MEGApixels...proudly proclaimed on the front). It does wonders with roster shots (if the light is good of course) and it has a wider lens than anything else I have. Now, IF any of these roster shot subjects where moving faster than 0.2 mph, it wont even think about taking a good shot...but still, thats not the point..

Here are a couple of examples of what it can do with a stationary subject on a day with no wind

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
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Photograph ©
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Old 06-08-2005, 11:05 PM   #6
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Tom and E.M. are right. There are no crappy
cameras just crappy photographers.

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Old 06-08-2005, 11:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsktc
Tom and E.M. are right. There are no crappy
cameras just crappy photographers.
Absolutely. I've been shooting at 2 megapixels ever since my Kodak DX4330 crapped out on me last year and quit reading any and all memory cards (I've also been using a Sony Mavica which is also 2MP). Granted, it's not the best camera in the world, but it'll get the job done whether the train is moving or standing still. Some examples of both

Kodak DX4330:

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Sony Mavica:

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Someone very wise once said, "Cameras don't take pictures. Photographers take pictures."
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Old 06-09-2005, 12:42 AM   #8
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I Have a Kodak 2.0 Megapixel CX 7200. Just having started out in this hobby, I didn't want to go overboard with a camera. The reason I bought the camera was to take pictures of my son, trains are just an afterthought, really.


Image © ru1056
PhotoID: 107303
Photograph © ru1056


EM Bell is correct. If it is sunny and no wind, you can get pretty good shots.

Image © ru1056
PhotoID: 107658
Photograph © ru1056


Or it is good for portraits and such. The best part is I spent only $89.00 on it. Why spend $1000.00 when I would probably be confused by most of the features anyway. Learn the basics first.
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Old 06-09-2005, 12:46 AM   #9
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All of my shots from pre-March '05 were with a 2MP PnS:

Cloudy/Moving:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 91573
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Cloudy/Moving:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 87017
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Moving:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 84178
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Moving:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 66678
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Balls-to-the-wall track speed:
Image © Chris Paulhamus
PhotoID: 93072
Photograph © Chris Paulhamus


Granted, I had many more roster/barely moving shots come out that I did with trains at track speed, but you just have to find the limits of the equipment you're using...
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:41 AM   #10
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Well, all I could do right now was a Sony DSC-P200 Cybershot, 7.2 megapix since DSLR is just not monetarily possible... but I'm tickled pink with the thing. And since I have two Sony Clie PDA's, it was a no-brainer since I already had memory sticks.

Here is one shot that I'm really pleased with: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=106222 . The only post processing (Photoshop) I did with this one was crop and slightly sharpen.

I learned quickly if I want quality keep my ISO at 100 (lowest it'll go) and shoot full manual. I quit on "scene" settings and that stuff within a week.

This guy: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=105323 was going balls to the wall and I think it's pretty good for a point & shoot.

In the area I shoot it's mostly slow interchange traffic and a shortline, so I've got a way to go on track speed shots. Sure beats hell out of expensive film I can't find any more!

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Old 06-09-2005, 02:12 PM   #11
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I like packing my little P&S Olympus jus because it's great for sticking the lens through the holes in chain link fences such as those found on railroad overpasses and such. I've seen great shots gracing the cover of several RR mags and when visiting the site found they were obtained by someone cutting a large hole in the protective fences to get those large OD SLR lens into. One example is on a NS overpass just north (RR west) of the big yard in Williamson, WV. The walkway overpass there has at least six different holes cut by "someone" from which several different published angles have come from. With the 5mp Olympus, I can walk up, pick my perfect angle, lens the shot and walk off without damaging public or private property and not drawing too much attention. Opens up some shots most people would pass up. I have been known to climb up some fences and hang on with one hand while shooting one handed dangling 100 feet over a RR underpass with my SLR setup. I'm sure there are some T&E crews out there who have had a pretty good laugh at that sight.

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Old 06-09-2005, 02:27 PM   #12
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Over at the overpass in CP Belt in Reading people have done the same thing, there are holes all over the fence, and only at the locations where good photos are obtained...
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Old 06-09-2005, 04:30 PM   #13
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Sony Mavica CD-1000. It's a beast of a 2MP camera...

http://railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=62078

This is one of my all time favorites.
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:03 PM   #14
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LOL Dan, didn't want to get the 10D wet in the rain. Nice pic.

One thing I do love about my Sony cybershot is poking it through chain link fences, especially on bridges, shots the SLR guys usually can't take.

There are two bridges I use especially:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=97963
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=97912
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=108818
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=106842
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=106651
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=104884
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=102892
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=101069
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=99682

And then these other bridges, bridges you can't get an SLR through, unless you go to the sides such as this shot:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=108879

Or from the top of the bridge itself:

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=98208
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=96490

Here's a different bridge even where the little lens works perfect:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=105552

Generally it's not the camera but the photographer. Sometimes though if the train is really far a way and you're trying to get a scenic shot, or if the train is moving at track speed, then you pretty much need an SLR to do well, although a couple times I've pulled it off with a point and shoot. I think to be more effective you need both a point and shoot and SLR.
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:03 PM   #15
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Actually, shooting through fences is pretty easy to do with an SLR, you just have to have a long enough lens to take the links out of the frame. Obviously a 17mm fisheye would be a bad choice, but you typically don't need a 500mm tele to do it. Both of these were taken through link fences without cutting any holes:

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 106014
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com

Image © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com
PhotoID: 103538
Photograph © Thomas J. Nanos - www.nanosphoto.com


Both were taken with a 20D and a Canon 70-200mm f/4L (67mm front element diameter, so it's not exactly a thin lens that I could slip through the links). The first one was through a normal chain link fence you typically see along the ROW. I held the front element of the lens about a quarter inch from the fence itself, and centered it on the opening. 149mm focal length got me past the links and framed the image the way you see it. The second one was tougher because the links were smaller, and more of a long diamond shaped. Same drill, though, hold the front element of the lens as close as possible to the opening in the links, zoom in a bit (70mm in this case), and fire away. No fence cutting, no photoshop, just the photo.

In this shot, it was quite a bit tougher, but still the same principles are in play:

http://www.nanosphoto.com/gallery/al...MG_3776-01.jpg

Here the links were only about a half an inch apart, but the distance to the subject was greater, so the closer I got to the links, the more they would disappear from the image. I was maybe a quarter inch from the fence (again with the 20D/70-200mm f/4L combo), centered on an opening in the links, and zoomed it at 94mm. Again, no photoshop wizardry, just basic optics. If you look at the second speeder on the bridge, you'll see his headlight as a bit of a flare to it. That's because there's a link of the fence running right across it. Since it's so far behind the focus point, you can't see it. That's the same reason why you don't see all those little specks of dust on the front element of your lens...

Again, it gets back to my orignal point - it's all about knowing how to use your equipment, no matter if it's a crappy point & shoot, or a top end dSLR.

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Old 06-09-2005, 07:04 PM   #16
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I will have to say that I haven't had a problem shooting through chain link fences with my dSLR. Both of these were shot from a pedestrian walkway with a chain link fence. I used a hood and just lightly pressed the camera against the fence, and positioned it so the fence wasn't in view.

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


It took some care and patience, but I was able to make it work.

Also, though I've never attempted it, I think there's a way to shoot through fences if you stop all the way down? Someone may be able to refresh my memory, but if you MF on the subject (which would be tough if it's moving) and use a wide open f-stop, the camera will focus past the fence to the point where it's barely visible.

Maybe someone can explain this better than I can!

Chuck
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:10 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna
Also, though I've never attempted it, I think there's a way to shoot through fences if you stop all the way down? Someone may be able to refresh my memory, but if you MF on the subject (which would be tough if it's moving) and use a wide open f-stop, the camera will focus past the fence to the point where it's barely visible.
Chuck, see my post above - that's pretty much what I did. It's using the depth of field to take those elements close to the lens out of the shot. They were shot at f/5.6, f/5 and f/7.1 respectively, so it takes the links outta the image. They're still "there" but not that visible. Probably wouldn't have worked any more stopped down beyond f/8, then they would have started to come more into focus, becoming less "transparent". Oh, yeah, and all were done with autofocus on the center focus point - that's the key, use the center point instead of letting the camera choose the focus point...

-Tom
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:15 PM   #18
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Thanks, Tom!

I think we submitted those posts at the exact same time!

Chuck
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:20 PM   #19
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Chuck-

No problem...

Yeah, pretty much the same time! Can't get much closer than that....

-Tom
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:56 PM   #20
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Tom,

I tried the link to your website, but it told me to go away!

Last edited by ccaranna; 06-09-2005 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccaranna
[img]http://www.nanosphoto.com/images/goaway.jpg[/url]
How are you trying to get to the image? If you click on the link, it should bring it up in a new browser window - I just did it fine in both Firefox & IE. I prevent direct hotlinking of images on my site, which is why you got the goaway image. Try copying the URL and pasting it directly into your web browser.

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Old 06-09-2005, 08:03 PM   #22
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Thanks Tom-

Copying and pasting did the trick!

Chuck
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