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CashWiley

Stop me if you've heard this one before

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The issue I have with my current P&S is that the image comes out super-grainy, so I have to shrink by 50% right from the start. Then when the miniature takes up only about 5-10% of the image (any more and the camera won't auto-focus), it ends up smaller than I'd like. My understanding is that this is due to a cheapo CCD. Throwing more mega-pixels at the problem might help, but getting a nicer camera (especially one with manual controls) seems like the best fix.

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While we're on the topic of lenses, what would be the best lens for miniature photography?

 

What size sensor? A crop sensor camera is going to want a shorter lens than a medium format camera.

 

Single 6mm figure or a Kaladrax diorama? The answer is going to be very different.

 

Assuming a typical DSLR or EVIL camera and a single 25-35mm figure, the kit lens will probably work quite well. It's an easy subject and a short lens will have a short minimum focus distance.

 

With modern lens designs, you don't need to worry much about prime or zoom; modern zooms are quite adequately sharp. If you want a nice, tight picture of a miniature's face with only the nearer eye in focus, get a macro lens. Otherwise you really don't need one.

 

Miniatures are not difficult subjects, since they don't move and you have complete control over the light and background.

 

I found a decent deal on a refurbished T5i with the 50-135 STM for $630 (vs $999), went with that. Quite excited now.

 

Do realize that a 50-135 on a crop-sensor camera like the T5i is a telephoto zoom. (50 is a shortish telephoto length on that sensor.) For minis, it should work fine. For "nature", it depends on what you mean.

 

For shooting birds, you likely want something much longer. Even a 200 is short for anything but big birds; you likely want something in the 400-800mm range. Sigma makes a 150-500 that I rather like. But it's a beast to walk around with and its a slow lens, especially at twilight.

 

For shooting broad sweeps of scenery, 50 is too long. (The 18-55 kit lens is better than its press and covers the longish wide-angle range pretty well.)

 

FWIW, I shot for a couple of years with an 18-55 and a 55-200 and got good results. But eventually, always* having the wrong lens for the shot that just popped up drove me slightly crazy, so I picked up an 18-200, which is my walk-around lens now. It's a compromise, but it's one that works very well for me. I also have the 150-500 noted above, a fast 35 for when I need speed or shallow DoF, and a 10-20 for really wide shooting, but they're special purpose lenses.

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I found a decent deal on a refurbished T5i with the 50-135 STM for $630 (vs $999), went with that. Quite excited now.

 

Sounds like a great deal.

 

The issue I have with my current P&S is that the image comes out super-grainy, so I have to shrink by 50% right from the start. Then when the miniature takes up only about 5-10% of the image (any more and the camera won't auto-focus), it ends up smaller than I'd like. My understanding is that this is due to a cheapo CCD. Throwing more mega-pixels at the problem might help, but getting a nicer camera (especially one with manual controls) seems like the best fix.

 

What camera do you have? If its even remotely new from one of the major brands, while it might not be amazing, it shouldn't be that grainy. Could just be a settings issue or a lighting issue. The main image quality issues with cheaper cameras is that they don't handle low light very well, which would lead to graininess.

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Do realize that a 50-135 on a crop-sensor camera like the T5i is a telephoto zoom. (50 is a shortish telephoto length on that sensor.) For minis, it should work fine. For "nature", it depends on what you mean.

 

For shooting birds, you likely want something much longer. Even a 200 is short for anything but big birds; you likely want something in the 400-800mm range. Sigma makes a 150-500 that I rather like. But it's a beast to walk around with and its a slow lens, especially at twilight.

 

For shooting broad sweeps of scenery, 50 is too long. (The 18-55 kit lens is better than its press and covers the longish wide-angle range pretty well.)

 

FWIW, I shot for a couple of years with an 18-55 and a 55-200 and got good results. But eventually, always* having the wrong lens for the shot that just popped up drove me slightly crazy, so I picked up an 18-200, which is my walk-around lens now. It's a compromise, but it's one that works very well for me. I also have the 150-500 noted above, a fast 35 for when I need speed or shallow DoF, and a 10-20 for really wide shooting, but they're special purpose lenses.

 

 

He meant 18-135mm.

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@above...

 

I hate to say this, but... nerds.

 

CAMERA NERDS!

 

But seriously, you're talking wizard-talk. It's pretty funny to read, actually. I know almost nothing about cameras aside from how to take pictures if I'm handed one, so I'm sitting here thinking to myself "Hm... Is this what dad feels like when Emmy and I talk D&D?"

 

:blink: The mind boggles...

Edited by Aard_Rinn
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Heck, we didn't even get into f-stops or inverse square law.

 

It's like discussing whether WIS or CHA makes a better dump stat for a fighter, not like talking about grappling rules.

 

:;):

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Dang I wish I had seen that Lightroom post in time.

One thing that has me convinced it's time to upgrade cameras is the articulating viewscreen. I've not had a chance yet to check the various brands discussed here for that feature, but having taken LOTS of photos of miniatures on the gaming table, I can bet you that you will find the articulating viewscreen invaluable. I know the T5 has that feature. I also know that the Canon 70D for a couple hundred more dollars can shoot remotely via your smartphone or tablet via wi-fi. (Hey..if I'm gonna dream, may as well dream all-out, right?)

 

And yes, we camera people have an esoteric nerdy lexicon all our own. Just ask anybody here about their bokeh.

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FWIW, I had a Nikon D5000 with an articulating screen and found only a few occasions to use it. And about half of those were in daylight where I couldn't see the screen anyway. :upside:

 

It was useful for holding the camera overhead in crowds and occasionally for holding the camera very close to the ground. Never for shooting minis, though.

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