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The DSLR vs the Point and Shoot

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  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
The DSLR vs the Point and Shoot
Posted by Hodakamax on Monday, March 20, 2017 9:58 PM

Every once in awhile I get the pro gear out to shoot something that is best done with a point and shoot camera. After building my A-37 Super Tweet and posting it after a lenghty W.I.P. I decided to shoot a shot of it for a Gallery entry. First I shot it with the trusty Nikon P330 point and shoot. Not bad. Time for the pro Nikon 85mm PC Shift/Tilt Micro lens and a Nikon 24MP D7100 camera. Hmm, fixed lens and I can't get it all in there with the ladder I have. Let's try the equally expensive 24mm PC Shift/Tilt on the D7100 DX format which makes it equivalent to a 36mm lens, about right distance wise. A bit of manual focusing and tilting the lens for increased DOF and stopping down to f16 for even more DOF and whew, I think I have it! Not. It's no better than the P330 point and shoot due to the small sensor and exceptional DOF. All this work with exceptional equipment and 10x the time only to be equaled by a somewhat inexpensive point and shoot. Bah. Don't get me wrong, these expensive specialty lenses blow everthing else away when it comes to architectual and other professional work but not necessarily in the niche of model photography. The proper point and shoot meets all of the requirements for the medium on which it's viewed. Quite acceptable. The point and shoot will never equal a DSLR with it's hi-tech telephotos and extreme wide angles (at least not at this point in time) plus it's extreme resolution and low light capability but it does meet the requirements for close-up model photography viewed on our screens. I hate to admit it.

Of course I'm talking about somewhat advanced Point and Shoots, not cheap ones. They should have adjustable settings and maybe even RAW files for better options in post processing. You get what you pay for.

So I'm just letting off steam for all the time I spent yet again today proving myself wrong. I can get a good picture with either a point and shoot or expensive pro equipment by spending more time at least in this type of photography. Easy choice.

I have generalized about Point and Shoot cameras vs DSLRs. There's much more to discuss for sure. Which model, brand, price range and features are some of the subjects. Small sensors require small focal length lenses which have greater depth of field with adequate resolution which solves some of the problems of close-up photography.

Max

PS--Hi Res phones are next with their even smaller sensors and greater DOF. Eek!

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 9:48 AM

I find the viewfinders on most P&S cameras lacking.  How can you manually focus a 16 mpixel camera with a viewfinder with half a million pixels?  As long as a camera has aperture priority it can make fine model pictures in auto focus as long as the model doesn't have much depth, like a model ship shot broadside.  However, for models with a lot of depth, or for ships for a quartering view, I find manual focus a big help.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 10:31 AM

Hey Don, The Nikon P330 does have manual focus mode but as you say, it's hard to tell on that little screen along with the crude multi-purpose control if you are really under control so to speak. lol. 

The PC lenses that I used in the last post would work good in the ship situation. You can tilt the depth of field in a selected two dimensional plane but not in three dimensions. You can have both ends of the quartered ship in focus even at maximum aperature but only in one plane which is true in all lenses. 

I didn't get all my experimenting done yesterday before I posted my results. Next I am going to compare yet again, a full frame 24MP D3x with an 85mm PC (Perspective Control) Tilt/Shift lens to the Nikon P&S P330 in an attempt to see if this is worth the effort or if I can exceed the capabilities of this relatively inexpensive camera with the big professional DSLR in this model photography situation.

The new Iphone 7 with its multiple cameras/lenses and small sensors will will probably work even better in the depth of field department with more than acceptable resolution at least for computer screen viewing. I need to test one for a later report.

All this fiddling with photography is getting in the way of the new 1/48 Phantom project but I do have multiple passions and this is not all I do to entertain me in my semi-retirement. lol. 

More to come!

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:04 PM

Hey Max, this is very interesting. I recently upgraded my PS to one that has manual functions. The hope was to make it my go to camera for model photography. I have not used it much thus far, and I can't draw my own conclusions yet, but your test results are very encouraging.

Thanks for taking the time to test this all out. This is good stuff sir.

 

Steve

 

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 2:54 PM

Hey Steve, now that I'm between model aircraft, I need to write about photography to have any social interaction on the Forum! lol. I really do need to test the latest iphone  also. Phones used to be toy cameras but things are changing fast, at least on computer viewing. Monitors are really low resolution but my wife shot some pictures on her iphone and had 8x10 prints made that looked pretty good. Much to Max's chagrin she said. She entered them in a local contest and won 1st and 2nd in the amateur class her first time out. I'll never hear the end of this!

The DSLRs still have purpose in "real photography" (I call it, lol). They produce extremely detailed images in high resolution, even in low light conditions. They have the speed and storage capabilities for things like sports photography. They have sophisticated computers controlling auto-focus, metering and color balance. They can be fitted to multiple interchangeable lens options for any occasion including extreme telephotos, wide angles and more. They have good viewing of the subject. They are the workhorse of professional photography. 

OK, just talking photography intermingled with social contact with my friends. Carry on!

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:53 PM

I miss the photography side of life. Landscape photography was my passion. Life things made it difficult to travel, so for the most part, I abandoned it. Too bad too. But, I needed a creative outlet, in comes scale models.

THE END

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:32 AM

I've gone the other way.  My first interest in photography was shooting my models.  My folks gave me an adjustable camera for Christmas one year- that was much better for that task than the family fixed-everything box camera.

Expanded a bit into shooting guy things- cars, ships, airplanes.  My wife was quite interested in photography.  So we started joining camera clubs.  They had frequent salons with assigned subjects.  Finally got into shooting everything, even flowers!

Macro is a great photographic challenge.  In addition to models and flowers, there are all sorts of things around the house to shoot- glassware, trinkets, jewelry, vases, etc.  I still like shooting made scenes more than found scenes.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:47 AM

I haven't got my hands on an iphone 7 for testing but I am starting to study whether the latest iphone with their tiny sensors have good depth of field and would be good for model photography. The bad news is that they have no manual or auto stopping down of the lens to improve DOF. Examples I've looked at even at portrait distances seem to have a shallow DOF. I did talk to a photographic person who confirmed my fears. He stated that DOF problems even in phones will probably be addressed in the future with computer assembled images shot at multiple focus planes. 

Reporting on the persistent DOF problem in close-up photography!  Indifferent

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, March 24, 2017 9:49 AM

Don, that is cool. I wished that I could find someone to do photo excursions with. I tried to find clubs to join and I had little to no luck. 

Macro is another nuance that I wanted to explore but that I didn't get to. Just talking about it makes me want to!

In in the end, I didn't have anyone around that appreciated photography much. What good is it if you are the only person enjoying it. It was a bummer.

Well, there is always hope.

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Friday, March 24, 2017 10:54 AM

Hey Steve, sounds like it's time for you to do an extensive W.I.P. for us! The best of both worlds, Modeling AND photography!

I really did have a good time on the recent W,I.P./ A-37 project. Modeling challenges combined with photographic challeges added to the fun. As you can probably tell I use photography to tell stories and explain things. I was my enjoyable job.

Think about it!

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, March 24, 2017 11:38 AM

Hey Max, you are a hoot, buddy. Check out my Mayflower WIP under the ships forum. It's been running for about two years, with little end in sight. Lol..

 

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Friday, March 24, 2017 11:51 AM

Whoa! I haven't visited the Ship department. Quite the project! I was just trying to find work for idle hands. Nothing like a photo shoot to cheer one up. Big Smile

Redirecting, redirecting, 

Max

  • Member since
    July, 2014
Posted by Bakster on Friday, March 24, 2017 1:25 PM

BTW Max, your assessment of doing a WIP is in my opinion, dead on correct. I am really enjoying it for the reasons that you mentioned. I will add that by doing it, it pushes me to try more difficult things than what I might not do normally. I enjoy the challenge, even though on some days, I whine about too much of it. 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, March 25, 2017 10:06 AM

I find WIP easier than shooting the completed model. I don't care so much about the background or the lighting. I even use flash for WIP.  Only thing is, sometimes I want to show a really small part, which stresses the macro more than a completed whole model.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Sunday, March 26, 2017 12:19 AM

for small parts, I have given up on macro. just too much work (or more likely lack of skill on my part). with such high pixel camera now days, I just drop on the of afterwards.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Virginia
Posted by Mike F6F on Sunday, March 26, 2017 3:44 PM

Gents,

One technique I've found that works to solve the ship quarter-view shot that Don mentioned can be done, not in the camera, but in post processing.

Using a camera with a movable focus sensor, or manual focus, a photographer can shoot two, three shots with the focus shifted along the model's hull, etc. The framing doesn't change, just the focus shifts.  Blending the shots together with layers in Photoshop and erasing the out-of-focus parts results in a complete focused image.  While this is a bit of sophisticated Photoshop work, it resolves the depth of field issue.  In fact it does it one better.  DOF renders an image in "apparent focus."  This method renders all parts of the model actually in the prime optical focus point of the lens.

I did this at work before I retired.  The image was to be reproduced four-color offset, with type wrapped around the photo of a ship model.  With printed words running alongside the hull being nice and sharp-edged, even DOF's "apparent focus" had a hard time appearing as sharp as it could.  The technique helped solve the problem. Of course the image ended up not being used, but I kept the technique in my "digital tool kit."

Mike

 

"Grumman on a Navy Airplane is like Sterling on Silver."

  • Member since
    February, 2012
Posted by Liegghio on Monday, March 27, 2017 9:22 PM

I use my iPhone for casual snapshots because it is my pocket all the time. For anything serious I compromised between point and shoots and serious DSLR's with one of those mid-way models, specifically  the Panasonic  Lumix LX7. There are other brands as well and Sony makes an equivalent that is highly rated. It is palm sized, but too thick to fit into a pants pocket, but easy enough to carry around, and has almost all the features and capabilites of a full size. The lens is a Leica designed F1.4 with 24-180mm zoom and very high light sensitivity. The camera can shoot RAW photos and has manual control options for color balance, focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, macro mode, etc, etc.. It also has a hot shoe for external flash and of course a tripod mount for shooting models.

The video is also excellent 1080p, 60 frame AVCHD or MP, but you are limited to the on camera microphones.

I wouldn't be shooting a royal wedding with it but I can't imagine you would need anything more advanced for shooting models.

  • Member since
    April, 2016
  • From: Parsons Kansas
Posted by Hodakamax on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 8:12 AM

I've not tried the LX7, but it appears to be the equivalent of the Nikon P330 that I've been testing. It should work very well for our model photography mission with adjustable f stops and small sensor that give us the improved depth of field along with its quality lens.

The actual focal length of the LX7 is 4.7-17.7mm which is equivalent to a 24-180mm on a full frame 35mm. The Nikon P330 I've been using is 5.1-25.5mm which means the LX7 is slightly more wide-angle and slightly more telephoto than the Nikon. All of these cameras, including the Sony should fill the bill. Canon also makes top of the line stuff and I'm sure has a quite capable camera in this class.

Max

PS--Hmm, A little math here shows our cameras to be 24-80mm equivalent rather than 24-180mm.

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