Toy Photography, Cameras, and Camera Phones

Discussion in 'Whatever' started by Madmax405, Mar 14, 2019.

  1. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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    It seems there hasn't been any real discussion in regards to cameras for a while. I've been interested in upping my game, so I was hoping we could talk pros and cons. I am a total beginner when it comes to all of this, so please excuse my lack of knowledge.

    I am most interested in the following topics, in regards solely to toy photography.

    1. Cameras versus Phones, and how much you need to spend on a Camera for it to be significantly better than the Phone . I already quite like how many of my photos for IG come out, and this is where they will primarily be shared.

    2. Compact cameras vs DSLR . Will a camera like LUMIX LX100 meet most of your needs for taking outdoor pics of toys? Or is the additional burden of DSLR worth it? Possible recommendations in either category? I'm thinking 1k would be around the maximum. While I know you can get a good DSLR for this amount, lenses are additional (con).

    3. Most important features when picking out a camera solely for toy photography.

    Appreciate any input you all have to share!
     
  2. vinyl.zealot

    vinyl.zealot Fresh Meat

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    I have a decent Canon camera, nowhere near professional style but not crappy either....I still take 99% of my photos with my iPhone. Laziness plays a massive part in that tho
     
  3. foto junkaay

    foto junkaay Addicted

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    If you’re not looking to sell your photos as prints, camera doesn’t really matter. Also, IG takes downgrades the quality of your photos anyway regardless if you’re using a $10k camera or an iPhone.
     
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  4. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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    I had assumed this may be the case, unfortunately. No fun! Lol
     
  5. Roger

    Roger Super Deformed

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    If IG is your preferred platform, then using a camera other than the one on your phone is going to be more complicated. It's up to you to decide whether the extra work to get your pictures from camera to cloud-based photo resource to Instagram is worth it.

    I have a Pixel 3, and although it's pricey and I've seen complaints about the camera from other folks, I'm very happy with it, particularly the Night Sight feature.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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    @Roger those shots are beautiful. I know Pixel 3 is supposed to have the best camera of all the phones and I'll be buying a new model over the next few months. I'll definitely be keeping this in mind instead of upgrading to the next gen Note phone.
     
  7. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx S7 Royalty

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    Not necessarily! I shoot with a Canon Rebel t7i, and not only do I have wireless transfer via Bluetooth or WiFi, but I also have an SD card dongle that plugs into my iPhone for instant choosing and transfer. Before that, I was e - mailing myself the RAW images and opening them up on my iDevices for editing/posting. The dongle takes seconds! :D I would like to upgrade my camera even further, though, as I do occasionally print my photos as either fun gifts, or for the fundraisers. But I'm also occasionally experimenting with shooting outside of toys, so I'd like to be a little more well rounded.
     
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  8. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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    So would you have to go DSLR to get the full advantage of better photos relative to phone cameras? Or, do you think a compact like the LX100 be just as good for my purpose? Also, as a beginner, I'm weary I couldn't even take full advantage of DSLR. But, I am willing to learn, if the consensus is that it's truly worth it.
     
  9. Roger

    Roger Super Deformed

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    I hadn't considered the possibility of connecting the camera to the phone via a cable or wireless. Does the phone recognize the camera as a drive, the way it would when you hook it up to a PC?
     
  10. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx S7 Royalty

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    @Madmax405 Sorry, I didn't mean to blow off the main question! I definitely wanted an DSLR after using my phone for a couple years, particularly with the toy photos. I was using apps to get the depth of field effect, and it was cool at first, but then it started to look worse and worse the more I came to know what DLRS's are capable of. As far as a DSLR or compact/point and shoot, I'd have to go DSLR. There's more functionality, more potential for post editing(which I'm a HUGE fan of), interchangeable lenses, etc. Point and shoots are pretty much exactly that. There isn't a whole lot of options, and most settings are fixed to just give people an average, simple photo.
     
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  11. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx S7 Royalty

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    @Roger With the dongle, you just place the SD card inside of it, plug it into your phone, and all your images on the card come up on your phone through your Photo's gallery. You can individually select photos, or select all, hit "Import" and they transfer into your gallery!

    The dongle: https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJYT2AM/A/lightning-to-sd-card-camera-reader

    I've never plugged my camera into my laptop, admittedly. My screen doesn't produce colors to their true shade, so I avoid editing on it. When I hook up my phone and camera via WiFi, I shoot through the Canon app, which allows me to toggle majority of my settings, shoot, and transfer photos wirelessly via the app on my phone, or whichever iDevice.
     
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  12. Roger

    Roger Super Deformed

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    That sounds handy.
     
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  13. xSuicide Squadx

    xSuicide Squadx S7 Royalty

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    @Roger Incredibly handy! It's saved me so much time. And it's really great now, since more and more editing apps(I don't use/own any legitimate software) are supporting RAW images. So it's been pretty killer!
     
  14. Mr. Humphreys

    Mr. Humphreys S7 Royalty

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    Very nice photos! That GID shot of Twintail is beautiful!
    Actually, if you use the Google CHROME browser, install the IG app, and you can instantly upload your photos using the app interface. That's what I use, super easy (browse to your file and upload from your computer)! The only thing is that you can't read or check IG messages.

    Download the free Chrome IG app here
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...tagram/nlhjgcligpbnjphflfdbmabbmjidnmek?hl=en

    *Once installed and logged in, the interface looks like the frame of a cell phone with all the familiar button doodads...
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  15. spatula007

    spatula007 Comment King

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    I use a Nikon 1 J5 mirrorless camera. Essentially a fancy point and shoot. I'm happy with the results. I upload to IG predominatly but sometimes throw them up on Flickr.
    I can transmit pics to my photo via a wireless link, like a mini, local wifi network.

    Sometimes I use my iPhone too, of course. You can tell by the location of the pic or subject.
    Boys, dog, inside toys - iPhone.
    Outdoor toys, badass inside toys - Nikon.
     
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  16. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Super Deformed

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    I'm of two minds:

    1 - A phone does nearly everything a point-and-shoot does, you already have one, and it's much smaller and more convenient. So if you're going to buy a second camera you may as well go for the biggest departure from what you already have, which would be a DSLR.

    2 - Coming from someone who mostly uses cameras while traveling, DSLRs are cumbersome. A point-and-shoot is much less cumbersome and can perform many of the DSLR functions that phones cannot. And they're much less expensive.

    The DSLR features that a P-A-S can kinda do, that phones can't, include adjusting shutter speed and aperture. These are the two most important features for controlling what your picture will look like. I'm not familiar with the LX100, but I would say if you do decide on a compact camera you should get one with a removable lens so you can add or upgrade lenses as you get more into it.
     
  17. DrilOne

    DrilOne Comment King

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    I use a iPhone xs and the camera is so much better than older phones. I use it over my DSLR for IG
     
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  18. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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  19. akum6n

    akum6n Prototype

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    It depends on whether you are taking studio photos or walking-around photos of your toys. If it is more the latter, I can't say that I'd recommend a DSLR. If more the former, I personally feel that you cannot replicate the control and tactile experience of using a DSLR with a phone camera (P&S or mirrorless cameras can get you pretty close).

    Right now, I am using a Canon EOS M3 and Adobe Lightroom.

    Eventually, I want to move back to a normal DSLR (probably a Canon model so that I can share lenses with the EOS). The EOS is good for traveling due to the smaller frame, but I don't like it as much as a full DSLR. In particular, the manual focus feels very mushy and the interface is cumbersome.
     
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  20. ---NT---

    ---NT--- Super Deformed

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    Totally agree here. Studio setting = DSLR all the way. Unless cost is an issue, in which case you can get great results from a mirrorless camera.
     
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  21. boon velvet

    boon velvet Post Pimp

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    @Madmax405 , if you go for a camera with detachable lens (DSLR , mirrorless), invest in nice lenses over the type of camera body. If video isn’t a concern, Most 10 year old DSLRs, for example, will suffice to your needs. The cameras coming out today are well beyond what most people will use them for yet kit lenses never match up to sharp glass.

    Just so you know where I’m coming from - I went to school for photography, was a camera salesman, and was a professional photographer/ fine art photographer before my health decided to go turncoat and tanked that passion and everything I had built around it. Now I am forced to use my phone most of the time, granted it’s not 1 of the top in photographic phone capabilities, but whenever I have the physical assistance and Do use my camera equipment , man, the results make me smile like an idiot. The images just don’t compare! There are many reasons for this, but 1 of the obvious ones (and circling back to my original statement) is the size and quality of the lens.

    Some food for thought : )
     
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  22. Madmax405

    Madmax405 Toy Prince

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    My GF has a Nikon D3000 in the house, and two lenses (not sure what). Should I try to get a feel for DSLR photography with this, then?
    Or is this too much of a stretch? Not sure how well such an old camera will hold up against my Note 8 for small format (IG) photography.
     
  23. boon velvet

    boon velvet Post Pimp

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    @Madmax405 , if you already have that camera on hand, I would definitely start there. It’s considered a beginner DSLR anyhow. I honestly couldn’t say what the comparison would be if the lenses are the 18-55 vr & 55-200vr (other than zooming / telephoto capabilities without compromising image quality), as those are “kit” lenses, like I was referring to. Are those the ones she has? Entry level cameras like the D3000 tend to be a tad slower, but if predominantly shooting toys, that won’t matter. It apparently doesn’t shoot RAW, but have you been using that on your Note 8 either?

    What I would do, seeing as you’re in New York, is rent (if your girly doesn’t already have something comparable) a fixed Nikon lens of higher quality and good for still life photography (like the 35mm / f 1.8 for example) from somewhere like B&H for the weekend. I haven’t lived in New York for over 13 years, so B&H may not be the go-to anymore. But a larger rectilinear lens with a wide aperture will provide more light to enter, allowing for some nice toy image options, where only a section of the toy is in focus to the whole toy being in focus and in a variety of lighting situations. The beautifully blurred backgrounds will also surpass those of the kit lenses too. You should take some with each to compare, along with your Note 8 too.

    At the end of what sounds like a fun adventure :) you will have a better grasp on what you would like to do next without investing in something that may not turn out to be what you want anyhow. I wholeheartedly recommend taking advantage of the D3000 being available to you right now though. You can find How-Tos and Reviews for about any camera and lens online to guide you in your use too.
     
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  24. akum6n

    akum6n Prototype

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    I would definitely test drive the Nikon DSLR if it's available to you. If you have never used a DSLR before, part of the experience is learning about all of the menus and dials on the camera. Just be warned: your first 100 photos will probably look awful and you will feel like you don't know what to adjust to make it better. It probably helps to read guides and such, but in the end, it just takes a lot of practice to become decent with a DSLR.

    My other two cents is that I wouldn't necessarily chuck the kit lens and explore the specialized lenses. If you are just starting out, it will just add one more thing to the list of unfamiliar things on the DSLR. Based on my experience, I would try to get familiar and relatively competent with the kit lens before branching out. They're sort of a one-size-fits-all lens, but they're good to learn on, and you will eventually understand its limitations (that can be overcome with the specialized lenses).

    (FYI, I'm coming at this as someone who picked up a DSLR without any technical knowledge of photography.)
     
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  25. boon velvet

    boon velvet Post Pimp

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    The issue with only using 18-55 vr & 55-200vr is that they will not give a realistic view of the image quality available. The look and distortion of images thru those 2 lenses may not compare to what you like about your Note 8 even.
    @akum6n , you would have benefited from solely using a fixed 50mm equivalent lens like the 35mm / 1.8 when first learning too. When I moved to digital, I too used the 2 kit lenses for some time, simultaneously complaining about how digital was inferior to film, because that is where I had started. I rejected digital for awhile because of this, then I learned that most of that was due to the lenses & not the camera itself. 50mm lenses have been the best lens option for anyone to begin with since before there was a D next to SLR. I am half joking but that is also how I learned, when beginning with an all manual 35mm film camera. I wish I had used a similar lens when first shooting digital too, as the experience would have no doubt been better.

    I would recommend a 50mm equivalent as the prime lens for anyone just picking up a camera, as it's actually perfect for the reasons you mentioned, @akum6n . Reasons being: (1) the focal length is fixed so there is little attention needed to give to the lens at all (technically simpler to use than zoom lenses), putting more emphasis on the camera itself as well as teaching framing within set parameters , (2) true 50mm lenses are rectilinear so the perspective is true to life - the proportions that you see with your eye is how the images will also look, (3) the 35mm / f1.8 is a mid grade lens that does not have all of the external control options that higher end specialized lenses do, yet the quality of the images are just as crisp and comparable to the higher end options than to that of the kit lenses (which also tend to blowout highlights), and (4) the Nikkor 35mm / 1.8 is in the more affordable group and apparently sharper than the 35mm / 1.4 ... The reasons can be more drawn out and if interested, here's an article I just came across at the top of a search - https://expertphotography.com/reasons-everyone-needs-50mm-prime-lens

    Echoing @akum6n, specialized top of the line lenses definitely are not going to help without learning how to use the camera first, but to that same point, and why I suggested it is that the Nikkor 35mm / f 1.8 will be 1 of the easiest to use and with the better image results to compare to your Note 8. If you go to an equipment rental place like B&H, CSI, or Adorama, propose the question to them. If not that lens specifically, I am sure that they will recommend something similar

    Does your girlfriend know at least the basics around her camera, @Madmax405 ? Because that's the best resource you can have; someone to guide you through it hands on in person, 1 on 1.
     

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