Recommended Cameras for toy photography

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Hyperoptic, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

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    Can anyone recommend some cameras for toy photography?
    I'm looking to set myself up for high quality pictures...

    Any other photography related links or info would also be appreciated.
    Thanks in advance :) 
     
  2. Broken Forge

    Broken Forge Formerly Neo Vox

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    Nikon DSLR's are popular and take very nice shots (I really want one...)
    They're a bit on the pricey side, but shots I've seen taken with them are always nice.

    Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
     
  3. 46+2

    46+2 Well-Known Member

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    Those are nice.
     
  4. icefox

    icefox Black GFC

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    Buy a used DSLR, Spend your money taking a photography class and learn how to use the different features on the camera. Buy a macro lens. Read the camera manual. Buy a whitebox. Experiment and play around. There is something to the phrase Wife's take better photos with the instamatics than the husbands with the expensive camera. All of the photos I took on Transformers ToyBin and Transformers Gold Optimus Prime were taken with a five year old Canon DSLR with the stock lens. Granted I know a lot more today and would could take better pictures, but they didn't come out too bad.
     
  5. ExVeeBrawn

    ExVeeBrawn Three dollar Nazi

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    If you enjoy photography outside of toys and have any real interest in it as a hobby unto itself, a good DSLR is something that should be on your eventual shopping list anyway. I have a Nikon D40 and although it cost me several weeks' pay, I have never regretted buying it. The D40 has been replaced by some newer budget model whose numbers escape me. But the catch with the D40 and its successors is that it lacks an in-body auto focus motor. As long as you use lenses with AF motors built in it's not a problem, but obviously that both limits your selection and increases the cost of extra lenses later, so it might be worth the upfront investment in a little higher end model with an onboard motor that can auto focus any lens.

    If the only thing you want is to be able to take shiny toy pictures, you can go a little lower scale than the $500-$600 a DSLR will start at. Point and shoot cameras are a little trickier to choose between, so studying reviews is a good place to start. For doing pictures of toys especially if a lightbox is in your future, real manual focus (via a ring on the lens, not an on-screen control) is a must, and will up your cost a bit more. Usually P&S cameras now are able to sample a custom white balance, but make sure first. Oh, and absolutely have to have optical zoom - never ever use digital. Ideally you want a camera that has the most ISO steps available, starting at a 2-digit number if you can. But again, unless you go bargain-basement that's getting to be more and more standard. A couple hundred dollars and a few hours on dpreview.com should get you some good options.
     
  6. jason jupiter

    jason jupiter weird/ rare g1 KO hunter

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    yo! the key is knowing how to light it too :) 

    if you get a fancy camera and don't know how to use depth of field, shutter speed, etc... and all your pictures have the damn flash going off it probably won't help.

    you can use a point-and-shoot w/ a tripod to take awesome pictures with a light box:

    Strobist: How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio
     
  7. GogDog

    GogDog Logic's wayward son Veteran

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    Buy a DLSR with a cheap 50mm lens to start with. There are just certain things you can't do with a point and shoot. Even then, it takes practice. There are plenty of SLR photos, even on these boards, that are kinda crap.

    I use a Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 50mm. I also use a tripod and a remote, and that helps tremendously.

    When I first started taking toy pics in 2006 with my Canon point and shoot, this is what it looked like:
    [​IMG]
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    Now, with a bit of experience, patience, and better hardware, I take stuff like this:


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    In the end, if you want to be a good toy photographer, you just have to strive to be better as you go. But don't waste your time with a cheap camera. You are going to want to drop down some money for a good camera, and then the time it takes it learn to use it.
     
  8. GogDog

    GogDog Logic's wayward son Veteran

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    On amazon, you can get a used D80 for $300. I got mine new a couple years ago for a little under $600 I think. But it's worth every penny IMO. Unless you don't mind subpar pictures. :D 
     
  9. MrBurns

    MrBurns Well-Known Member

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  10. ExVeeBrawn

    ExVeeBrawn Three dollar Nazi

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    I'd point to your inexperience at the time as much as the camera for the lack-ness of your earlier photos. Narrowing the aperture and taking more care to see where the camera is focusing on would have corrected the out of focusness and depth of field problems being demonstrated.

    A majorly expensive camera is not required to take good toy pictures, just some practice and not-a-piece-of-crap camera. :D  I will agree that just buying an expensive camera is no substitute for lots of practice, though.
     
  11. GogDog

    GogDog Logic's wayward son Veteran

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    They can be, but there are just some things you can't do. Any serious photographer will become frustrated by the limits of a point and shoot when they start hitting the walls of the format. Things like exposure times, F-stops for allowing the subject to be in focus and a nice blur to everything else, low level light noise.. the list goes on. A good point and shoot will cost $200-300. For the same price, you can get a used DSLR and have complete control over your pictures.
     
  12. Broken Forge

    Broken Forge Formerly Neo Vox

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    You can compensate for those things in a good image manipulation program, but I'd rather just start with an slr.
     
  13. Cory Bauer

    Cory Bauer Well-Known Member

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    Took these with a Nikon D5000, its 18-55mm kit lens, and a year of heavy practice.


     
  14. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

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    Thanks for the great advice so far guys :) 

    I'll be searching for local classes and shopping for a camera in the next few days...
    My Transformers checklist is dwindling down, and I have been wondering what to branch to next.
    I think photography in general is something I would love to learn about and do as a hobby.

    As far as toy photography is concerned, the first step was to figure out were I could set up for practice.
    With some compromise on both sides, I'm happy to say that the lil lady and I came up with the perfect spot. :) 
     
  15. GogDog

    GogDog Logic's wayward son Veteran

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    If you ever need any advice, just ask. I love this stuff and will gladly help.

    I would also recommend building your own lightbox. I made this one, and I think all the materials cost me under $20. I still use it after 3-4 years.

    Light Box / Light Tent Photo Gallery by Bill Huber at pbase.com

    This is mine, and I just move the lights around depending on what I want the photo to look like.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  16. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

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    Thank you very much GogDog.
    I will definitely be setting up a light-box.
    I might also be PMing you some shots for feedback within the next few months.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  17. GogDog

    GogDog Logic's wayward son Veteran

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    Sure! I remember when my DLSR was on the way. In anticipation, I started reading about SLR photography, and became utterly and completely intimidated. After a few days of practice, a lot of that went away.

    I recommend reading this as well. It's a great primer for understanding how it all works. Like I said, it might seem a little intimidating at first, but once you have an SLR in hand, some practice mixed with reading this stuff will have you pumping out amazing photos in no time. Read some of that, takes some pics, read some more, take some pics, read some more, etc, etc.

    That's also a good example of what DLSRs are capable of, and a lot of that cannot be mimicked by point and shoots.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2010
  18. Hyperoptic

    Hyperoptic G1-Junkie

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    Cool
    Thanks again :thumb 
     
  19. thenatureboywoo

    thenatureboywoo Veteran

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    I can't recomend a good camera as I use a cheap old Kodak EasyShare (and it shows). But I thought I would share a few pics of my new Lightbox I made. It's a big old cardboard box that I cut the sides and top out and then lined with embroidery backing. I used embroidery backing because it take a large amount of heat to do anything to it, plus it's free from work. And then I use three shop lights from Walmart using 100w GE Reveal light bulbs. I am happy with my lightbox set-up but am looking within the next year or two to do a major upgrade in the camera dept. I would really take the advice of guys like GogDog and SydneyY, their pictures speak for themselves. Just thought I'd share and Good Luck getting everything started. Taking pics can be alot of fun, and sometimes alot of frustration. :) 

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

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