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Help me with a camera


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I am sort of in the market for a camera specifically to take pictures of minis with (although it would be nice to do other things with.)  I currently use a Nikon Coolpix 4000 for most of my pictures and they do alright with a few exceptions:


I cant control the f stop

I cant control the shutter speed.

the white balance function is practically useless.


When working with minis the top two are major issues for me. 


Any recommendations/suggestions out there?  I have used an slr before when film was king and would consider it for this but a digital would be lighter and easier if possible


Thanks for any assistance anyone can provide!



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  1. Proper lighting is CRITICAL!  Try to bath your subjects in enough light to give them a tan, lol.  Also hitting from above, left, and right at the same time will really cut down on those pesky shadows.
  2. Use a tripod and set your timer for about 2 seconds.  This gives you time to get your hands off the camera and let it stop shaking before taking the pic.
  3. Use the Macro setting if you have it.  If not do a manual focus to ensure you photographing your mini and not your backdrop.  That is a frequent problem I myself have.

Here is an example of what my photography used to look like (no tripod, macro, and only one light source/box):





Here is an example with a light box (with three different directional lighting), a tripod w/ timer, and macro mode turned on:




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Good question.


I'm actually in the market for a camera myself and have been doing a bit of research.  Digital Photography Review seems to have good reviews of camera's and even has several buying guides which were published in December 2014 so are relatively recent.  What's great is that the buying guides are split into different categories depending on the level of camera you are looking for.


They also have search filters (under Cameras -> Camera feature search) which allow you to filter their database specifically for cameras which have Aperture and Shutter priority settings.


For myself, I plan to go with the Sony Alpha 6000.  It's in the mid-range mirrorless guide and seems to be a good mix between pro and beginner level which would also allow me to take it out on holiday or to take pics of the kids etc.  


Note - I wouldn't normally recommend going for a full ILC camera if you only intend to take pictures of minis as it seems like overkill but you seemed open to the idea of an actual SLR so....


Edit: added link to dpreview website above  ::(:

Edited by Jokemeister
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I like the slr cameras a lot. It gives me control over where and what I want in sharpest focus. Something me an my current camera bicker about a lot.


@Girot: most of my pix don't have lighting problems, although I will occasionally forget to turn on the front lights I remember as soon as I see the picture. :D


Most of my issues come from not having a close enough focus, exposure issues, and depth of field. I really should invest in a neutral gray background though.


Right now a mini, at my cameras closest focus, takes up less than 5% of the picture space. This is a problem for me.


Thanks for the suggestions and please any additional will help. I will take a look at the alpha...

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There's a pretty good argument that the best camera for photographing miniatures is a good cell phone.


Disadvantages: Limited control over shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and usually no control over aperture.


Advantages: Very short lens (commonly 2-3 mm), so the depth of field is very good, even with the wide aperture.


So, to deal with the disadvantages:

  • Use enough light to keep the ISO low. A couple of 60W incandescent bulbs close to the model are normally adequate.
  • Use a tripod to manage camera shake.
  • Use a neutral background to allow the camera to set the white balance correctly.
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