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Thread: What Camera Do You Use?

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    Great night shot @Ender!

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    Just like "Magic",,, all of a sudden pictures showed up in some of the previous posts.

    Some really great stuff there guys.

    I use my IPhone 6 and IPad Pro mostly but lately the pictures from the IPhone post 90 Deg out no matter what I do or how I edit the picture. I have heard that the new IPhone 7 has a portrait mode that displays a great DOF, maybe time for n upgrade, huh?
    Like I said I have a LUMIX but like others I don't know how to use it very well. More practice needed.
    Last edited by Chicago Rail; 23rd Mar 2017 at 07:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Rail View Post
    I have heard that the new IPhone 7 has a portrait mode that display a great DOF . . .
    The iPhone 7 does have a new portrait mode (though I haven't tried it myself), but the physics of light limits what its small sensor can produce. Nothing does shallow depth-of-field portraiture like a full-frame DSLR shot wide-open:


    Nikon D3s + AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0


    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D @ 2.0

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    The iPhone 7 does have a new portrait mode (though I haven't tried it myself), but the physics of light limits what its small sensor can produce. Nothing does shallow depth-of-field like a full-frame DSLR shot wide-open:
    And most model railroad shots need to be taken with the smallest aperture possible, which means you need good lighting and (prefeably) a tripod.

    This is one taken on my Pentax K10D at F32:


    (I haven't invested in a Pentax full-frame body yet... That's on my "want it" list for the next year, but other items on that list are higher priority right now...)

    Occasionally you will see a point and shoot camera that allows you to manually set the F-stop, but i have never seen an SLR (digital or not) that doesn't give you the option of controlling that.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    This is one taken on my Pentax K10D at F32 . . .
    It's generally not recommended to stop-down any further than f/22, since any smaller and you start to lose sharpness due to diffraction. The easiest way to get more stuff in focus is to use a camera with a smaller sensor, like an iPhone; though, as you decrease sensor-size, you sacrifice light-sensitivity and increase your noise-floor (an example of how clean modern full-frame sensors are, the second photo above was shot at ISO 1,600). I should actually start shooting my layout photos with a crop-frame (e.g., APS-C) camera to gain a bit more depth-of-field.

    Ideally, we would want to shoot our layouts with tilt-shift lenses (i.e., perspective-correcting lenses), so that you can alter your plane-of-focus, either to the train (swing) or to the layout (tilt). However, since those are pretty expensive most resort to focus-stacking software (haven't tried that myself). The Nikon 24mm PC-E lens is over $2,000. The import-brand Rokinon PC lens is much less at $700, and is actually pretty well-reviewed. I've been trying to rationalize that lens purchase ever since I got back into model railroading.

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

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    iPhone six NJ train show this past weekend.
    IMG_2684.jpg
    "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Mario

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    It's generally not recommended to stop-down any further than f/22, since any smaller and you start to lose sharpness due to diffraction.
    Can you site a source for your claim? I've never seen that before.

    That is counter to what I know about photographic optics, which has always stated that smaller apertures lead to larger depth of field.

    (Also, the trick for years in model railroad photography has been to use a pinhole lens. Those are definitely smaller than the F32 I can shoot with. ).

    The easiest way to get more stuff in focus is use a camera with a smaller sensor, like a camera phone (though you sacrifice sensitivity and increase your noise-floor).
    Smaller sensors mean you can't cram as many pixels into the captured image as you can into an APSC or 35mm frame (Which is what we're talking about when we say full frame after all... the sensor is the same size as a 35mm film frame.) More pixels means you get a better representation of the analog input signal (light in this case).

    From my perspective (as a computer scientist) the optics can't introduce noise into the input signal. (distortion maybe, but not noise. The difference is that distortion can be seen using analog measures, but "noise" is a purely digital concept).

    Ideally, we would want to shoot our layouts with tilt-shift lenses (i.e., perspective-correcting lenses), so that you can tilt your plane-of-focus. However, since those are pretty expensive most resort to focus-stacking software (haven't tried that myself).
    Yes, I've seen that.

    One other thing to think about when it comes to digital cameras, you should NEVER let the camera save the image only as a JPEG. The JPEG algorithm is a lossy compression algorithm, which means it sacrifices some information in order to compress the image further. Saving the images in a raw format preserves the information from the camera sensor (yes, it takes up more space, but you start with a clean image during post processing).

    Paul

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    Sure, Paul. A couple things. It's absolutely true, that the smaller the aperture, the greater the depth-of-field. If having more stuff in focus is more important than absolute knife-edge sharpness, then by all means, stop-down. I usually don't stop-down below f/22, but I've gone to f/32 a few times when necessary. Here's one source among many: diffraction.

    Pixel-density: This is actually requires a fairly long answer, but I'll try to condense it. Generally speaking, the larger the pixels, the lower the noise-floor. My Nikon D3s' sensor is only 12MP, but spread over an area over two times the size of a crop-frame camera's sensor. Therefore, its pixels are much larger than those in crop-frame bodies like say a Canon T5 or Nikon D5500. High MP-count crop-frame/APS-C sensors have very small pixels. The Canon T5 has 18MP, and the Nikon D5500 has 24.2MP, all squished into a sensor over twice as small as a full-frame sensor.

    The reasons for the higher pixel-counts is mostly marketing—often people think, the more pixels the better. However, this comes at the price of higher luma- and chroma-noise, and sometimes, reduced dynamic range. Pixels gather photons, the more the better. Larger pixels equal larger photon-collectors, or "light-buckets." It's the same principle as to why a 12" mirror-telescope has a much brighter image than an 8" mirror-telescope, where the size of the mirror is directly analogous to the size of the pixel in a DSLR's sensor.

    In low-light photography, my Nikon D3s' 12MP sensor kicks the pants off my Nikon D800E's 36MP sensor. Even Nikon couldn't beat its own low-light king, the D3s, as marketing pressure forced them to increase pixel-count in successor models. The Nikon D4 is actually slightly noisier than the D3s, primarily because of its increased pixel-density. Moreover, sensor manufacturers have hit the ceiling of manufacturing technology as the quantum-efficiency of current sensors have pretty much reached their limit.

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    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    Sure, Paul. A couple things. If having more stuff in focus is more important than absolute knife-edge sharpness, then by all means, stop-down. I usually don't stop-down below f/22, but I've gone to f/32 a few times when necessary. Here's one source among many: diffraction.
    Thanks.

    Pixel-density: This is actually requires a fairly long answer, but I'll try to condense it. Generally speaking, the larger the pixels, the lower the noise-floor. My Nikon D3s' sensor is only 12MP, but spread over an area over two times the size of a crop-frame camera's sensor. Therefore, its pixels are much larger than those in crop-frame bodies like say a Canon T5 or Nikon D5500. High MP-count crop-frame/APS-C sensors have very small pixels. The Canon has 18MP, and the Nikon has 24.2MP. The reason is mostly marketing—often people think, the more pixels the better. Pixels gather photons, the more the better. Larger pixels equal larger light-buckets. It's the same principle as to why a 12" mirror-telescope has a much brighter image than an 8" mirror-telescope, where the size of the mirror is analogous to the size of the pixel in a DSLR sensor.
    There isn't a one size fits all answer about sensor density.

    I agree that In low light situations, larger sensors is typically better. Larger sensors certainly means more opportunity to collect what light is available.

    In well lit situations, Higher sensor density is in many cases preferred. Why? because there are more photons bouncing off the subject, so there are more photons available to collect. Higher density sensors mean you can capture more of the variability of the photons bouncing off of the subject, which translates into seeing more detail in the image.

    If we were talking film cameras, we would be talking about what speed film to use, and at least part of film speed is the size of the light sensitive grains embedded on the film.

    Ultimately the sensor density you need is determined by the application. My primary camera is still a 10MP Pentax K10D (I also own a 16MP Pentax K01). I can get away with using the K10D because most of my photos end up being post processed for posting on the web, so the pictures I post use fewer pixels than the camera takes, and those pixels are then compressed. It's really only when you start printing your images in really large scale (or zooming in really far) that a smaller sensor density becomes truly noticeable. (At some point every image visibly pixelates.)

    Incidentally, I use the word sensor above and not pixel because pixel has the connotation of being (in the color case) an RGB cluster. Most digital cameras use a Bayer Pattern sensor ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_filter ) which has fewer red receptors than blue and green.

    Paul
    Last edited by pbender; 24th Mar 2017 at 10:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    There isn't a one size fits all answer about sensor density.
    Certainly, different tools have their purposes, otherwise I wouldn't have spent over $3,000 on a 36MP camera! When in-studio, or for daylight exteriors, where I have all the light I need, it's my 36MP Nikon D800E. Though, when not in a studio situation, I'm largely biased toward low-light shooting in available-light situations (I'm kind of a low-light junkie and anti-noise Nazi!). In those cases, it's my Nikon D3s bodies (or Nikon Df), and f/1.4 lenses—that combo makes usable images with good colorimetry in extremely low light. Believe me, it's taking all the will-power I have not to buy the new $2,200 Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/1.4E.

    Southern Pacific | Santa Fe | SPSF | BNSF | Metrolink | CalTrain | Chicago Metra | TGV Lyria

    railways by Kato Unitrack + Unitram | electric light-rail by Tomix | construction by Kato Diotown & Tomytec Co., Ltd. | vehicles by Busch GmbH & Co. KG
    ambient sound design by Fantasonics | digital command control by Dynamis Ultima | layout automation by RailController

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    Wow, this thread picked up some momentum!


    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago Rail View Post
    Ender,, your pictures some of the ones I was referring to in my OP
    Glad they inspire someone! More can be seen here. The camera & setting info is on most of the shots.


    Quote Originally Posted by zosimas View Post
    I dunno, but that iphone pic looks better than the DSLR pic! Although it could because of the glow...
    Bah! You need to get outside more, you've been stuck in your basement for too long. I purposely upped the exposure on that shot to make it more "daylight."


    Quote Originally Posted by Tred View Post
    Yep, and I use a little wireless remote to activate the shutter. Though, I haven't taken any pictures of trains OR the layout as it's a work in progress...
    Still worth taking pics of stuff as you go. Makes for a fun "how far things have come" tour when you look at them after things are built. And lets you play with the equipment in your space with your lighting conditions (you can maybe figure out how to improve things.)


    Quote Originally Posted by JohnE View Post
    Great night shot @Ender!
    Thanks! For night shots, I usually lower the exposure by 1.5-2 stops.


    Quote Originally Posted by pbender View Post
    One other thing to think about when it comes to digital cameras, you should NEVER let the camera save the image only as a JPEG. The JPEG algorithm is a lossy compression algorithm, which means it sacrifices some information in order to compress the image further. Saving the images in a raw format preserves the information from the camera sensor (yes, it takes up more space, but you start with a clean image during post processing).
    Hey Paul. I know you're right about the higher quality of RAW, but I always take my train shots in high-quality JPEG. Just so much easier to deal with getting them saved and moved to the web. And it's not like I'm taking masterpieces here. They get shrunk even more when they get to the web anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    The iPhone 7 does have a new portrait mode (though I haven't tried it myself), but the physics of light limits what its small sensor can produce. Nothing does shallow depth-of-field portraiture like a full-frame DSLR shot wide-open:

    http://studio460.com/images/DOF-LA-3.jpg
    Nikon D3s + AF DC-Nikkor 105mm f/2.0D @ f/2.0

    http://studio460.com/images/DOF-UNI-2.jpg
    Nikon Df + AF DC-Nikkor 135mm f/2.0D @ 2.0
    Well yeah! Phones will never match up to real cameras

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Bah! You need to get outside more, you've been stuck in your basement for too long.
    this is what happens in the winter

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Hey Paul. I know you're right about the higher quality of RAW, but I always take my train shots in high-quality JPEG. Just so much easier to deal with getting them saved and moved to the web. And it's not like I'm taking masterpieces here. They get shrunk even more when they get to the web anyway.
    And that shrinking even more is part of the problem.

    Have you ever seen the problem of making a photocopy of a photocopy.... of a photocopy?

    Basically, the more times you copy the image, the worse the result appears (photocopiers are better than they once were, but they still don't produce perfect copies, so each time you make a copy new imperfections are added)

    Digitized pictures can suffer from the same problem. You start with a JPEG and save the image as a JPEG, you add new imperfections to the image ( and this is true even if you just re-save the image, without changing anything ). If you start with a raw image, you don't have to worry about the first set of imperfections.

    As far as being easier to deal with JPEG images, that depends on the software you use. I actually script all of my post processing, and the scripts don't care if I start with a JPEG or a raw image. ( I use imagemagick for this scripted work). If I need to do anything else, gimp imports the raw images in basically the same way it imports JPEGs, or any there image format.

    I actually have my cameras set to do raw and jpeg. I use the JPEG for quickly sharing with others. The raw images are used for my post processing.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metrolink View Post
    Certainly, different tools have their purposes, otherwise I wouldn't have spent over $3,000 on a 36MP camera! When in-studio, or for daylight exteriors, where I have all the light I need, it's my 36MP Nikon D800E. Though, when not in a studio situation, I'm largely biased toward low-light shooting in available-light situations (I'm kind of a low-light junkie and anti-noise Nazi!). In those cases, it's my Nikon D3s bodies (or Nikon Df), and f/1.4 lenses—that combo makes usable images with good colorimetry in extremely low light.
    Yes, I have some F2 and below lenses for similar reasons ( my 105mm prime is an F2, and I have a 50mm F1.7).

    Believe me, it's taking all the will-power I have not to buy the new $2,200 Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/1.4E.
    And this is one of the reasons I have stuck with Pentax over the years. My first K-mount camera was a Ricoh KR5 Super II, and I can still use the fully manual lenses I bought to use with it... almost 29 years ago now... I couldn't afford the collection of glass I have otherwise....

    I do have one lens that I spent over $500 on, which is a Tamron 10mm to 24mm zoom. That one and a sigma 28-105 are my "walking" lenses. ( the 10-24 has become my favorite for almost everything, including model railroad shots, but occasionally I need some more reach. )

    My collection also includes some occasional use lenses, like a manual focus auto aperture 400mm. At the time I bought it, a new one would have cost 3 or 4 times what I paid for it. With as little use as it gets, the price was right, and I haven't looked at long primes since.

    Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Wow, this thread picked up some momentum!
    Yeah I really like it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Ender View Post
    Glad they inspire someone! More can be seen here. The camera & setting info is on most of the shot
    I have seen all of that before and have always liked what I saw,, don't sell yourself short you do really good work. I especially like the lighting scenes you do.

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    I have a variety of camera's, mainly Canon:

    EOS 5D
    EOS Elan 7
    EOS Elan T3
    Nikon Cool Pix
    Canon Vixia HRF R70 Video

    Have various lenses for the 5D ranging from 24 mm to 800 mm
    Cheers Tony

    "Knowing what to do is one thing ... being able to do it is another"
    "It is easy to criticize ... a lot harder when you have to justify it"

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    Default Camera

    I use my android phone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnE View Post
    I have and use the following:


    • Canon EOS 5D Mk2
    • Canon EOS 50D


    However, for sheer simplicity and ease of use (read LAZY)... I take most of my RR layout photos with my iPad. For the most part (for me anyway) its just simply a fool-proof, quick way to get off a shot that's almost always in focus with a pretty decent depth of field. I just make sure that I have pretty decent ambient lighting before shooting. Then its super simple to use DropBox to quickly transfer the images from the iPad to my PC.

    Of course if I want the best quality images... then the DSLR is the way to go. YMMV! :-)

    AND... just for @Chicago Rail :-) These were all taken with my iPad3...

    http://www.fototime.com/C3244DCC1D26A15/orig.jpg
    http://www.fototime.com/B74493BB152F3CC/orig.jpg

    http://www.fototime.com/8C21661C4CD20C6/orig.jpg

    http://www.fototime.com/D7CDE8BA670BAC2/orig.jpg

    http://www.fototime.com/879A51E28E6BAC4/orig.jpg

    http://www.fototime.com/5E190FE3744EED4/orig.jpg
    I use my iPad Pro or my iPhone much simpler for a technology challenged senior

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