Recommendations for a compact camera

Includes workshop practice, painting and weathering, model photography etc.
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Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby ChrisMitchell » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:16 am

I'm looking to purchase a compact camera to take pictures of layouts and wondered if there any recommendation based on experience. I want something compact enough to be able to get into those awkward spaces on my layout etc.

Thanks very much


Philip Hall
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby Philip Hall » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:22 pm

I have used an old Canon Powershot S3IS for many years, the S5IS is very similar and can be found secondhand quite readily. The lenses are very good, and being a bridge camera, it's not too bulky. Slightly more compact is the Canon G series, G11 etc., I think the current model is a G16. It's not cheap, but does have a very good lens. The important thing for model photography as far as I am concerned is a relatively small sensor, which for reasons that I don't need to understand helps with the depth of field. The cheaper modern Powershot models might be OK but I have no experience there. Make sure that the camera has a macro mode, you may need to use that. My Canon has two such modes, macro and super macro, but I usually only need to use macro for layout photography. Most useful if you can get it is a flip and twist screen such as you find on a video camera, this enables you to see in all sorts of nooks and crannies without performing contortions. To start with, all you will need to do is set the camera on aperture priority, F8, self timer and let it do the rest. Once you've seen some results you can begin to play around with what settings suit you best.

I have recently acquired a Leica V-Lux 4 as a back up to the S3IS, and this does have a much better lens but came at a price. I think I got the last new one around, as they stopped making it two years ago, but Panasonic do an almost identical camera with the same lens, although that model is made in China. Once again, though, this is a bridge camera with a not too big sensor. I have yet to try it with modelling stuff though.

Last edited by Philip Hall on Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jon price
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby jon price » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:16 pm

I use an Olympus VG170. It is smaller than a smartphone and you can get one new for £64 on ebay ... dCEd_Hk5-A

or good condition second hand for around £40. It has a range of settings including macro and supermacro, plus a shake removing setting. The photos were taken with it, all without flash, on my workbench, at a model railway show, and inside a station.
Connah's Quay Workshop threads: viewforum.php?f=125

Tor Giffard

Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby Tor Giffard » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:59 pm

Aft'noon all,

Panasonic DMC-LF1 a lot of camera for £200....full manual capability inc. ... 2wodVt0C3w

....excellent close up capability....

P1020202.JPG (137 KiB) Viewed 3595 times


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Tim V
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby Tim V » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:02 pm

Any compact camera will do, but it MUST have some form of control over the aperture and ISO. So for model photography, you'd want F8 (usual minimum for compact cameras) and smallest ISO. Put the camera on a tripod/bean bag etc, ensuring it doesn't move. Take the picture using the delayed action.

I currently use a Canon G15, but used to use a Canon S90. Both excellent cameras. Previously I used a Canon A610, OK only 5mp, but capable of delivering very good results. All three cameras could be set so that F8, aperture priority, lowest ISO could come up automatically at the turn of the main control. Simples.

Most important thing with any camera is how you get on with the controls, are they big enough, are the controls you want hidden in menus. Hold and touch a few.
Tim V
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John Palmer
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby John Palmer » Tue Dec 08, 2015 4:06 pm

I am well pleased with my Fujifilm X10, which I purchased for £225.00 about 20 months ago. I see they now command a price IRO £190-£200.

For a compact it's got a bigger sensor than most and a very satisfactory macro capability, being able to focus at 1cm distance. I set a lot of store by this, as it helps me to see the shortcomings in my work (and there are many...)

By way of example, I have posted at shot of a vacuum ejector that tested the camera's macro feature fairly well. To give an indication of scale ,the pipework you see in this is 0.7mm diameter.

Andrew Ullyott
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby Andrew Ullyott » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:06 pm

I bought a Canon G16 in the autumn from John Lewis. Takes a good picture and has wifi capability so easy to download.

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David B
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby David B » Wed Dec 09, 2015 8:21 am

iPads take pictures as Danny and Steve found out at Warley. I managed to take 76 identical photos of them with Steve's iPad. I know I pressed the button, but I don't remember doing it that many times. Seriously, I have seen many very good images (better than my effort) come out of an iPad which has the benefit of other useful features.

Tim makes a good point about familiarising yourself with the controls. This is important if you are to get the best from your camera.

Warley 2015.jpg
As seen on Danny's Facebook page.
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martin goodall
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Re: Recommendations for a compact camera

Postby martin goodall » Wed Dec 09, 2015 12:11 pm

Philip Hall used his Canon Powershot to take photographs on my Burford Branch layout, and also some rolling stock, with excellent results which have been seen in MRJ and also on this forum.

More recently, I took some photos on my layout with an iPhone, which produced surprisingly good results, which were also posted on this forum. Ambient lighting is all that is needed. I also used the iPhone to take some photos at Scaleforum this year, again with excellent results. (When I get a round tuit, I must post some of them here.)

I had intended to get a compact camera for model photography and, based on Philip's recommendation, was going to buy a Canon Sureshot. However, in light of the results produced by the inbuilt camera on the iPhone, which is also an excellent all-round smart phone, I have decided that I really don't need to buy another camera.

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