• Starting Out Digital

  • Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.
Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

  by RCH022
As of now i have a 35mm olympus camera its nothing special really but it does alrite i suppose. I have been looking at Digital Cameras recently and am looking between a 3 - 4 mp range. Any Suggestions/reccomendations for any cameras will be appreciated. Also any other info on digital rail photography will help. Thanks


  by kevikens
If you want your pictures to be around for posterity 50 years from now make sure your pictures wind up being printed on archival grade photo paper. Do not depend on any kind of electronic or digital device to store your pictures. Chances are the technology will be so different as to be incompatible with what you are producing now. By the way the Smithsonian has just announced that they are becoming very concerned with some of the prints from digital imaging that they had in storage. After only a few years many are showing signs of fading.

  by dj_paige
Megapixels is the first thing non-digital photographers learn about digital photography. The concept of megapixels is highly overrated, if you ask me. More megapixels means you get sharp prints at bigger sizes, but for 4X6 prints, or viewing on a computer, 5 megapixels doesn't help. There are more important features of a camera to consider.

For me, the most important feature has been the zoom capabilities of the camera. Ignore "digital zoom", look for optical zoom, the larger the better. I have a 10X optical zoom camera (Kodak DX6490) and I have found that feature to be extremely helpful in getting good railroad pictures at times (and it has been very helpful in getting good pictures in every other situation as well). Do I really need 10X? Well, if you can't get as close to the tracks as you would like, 10X really does help.

Another feature I like a lot is the burst mode on the camera -- the ability to take six pictures in two seconds. As that train speeds towards your location, put the camera in burst mode and you get pics of the locomotive down the tracks, a little closer, and right on top of you.

So I would definitely recommend my Kodak DX6490 if you can afford it. Others recommend it highly too.

  by Mike Roque
Hey, Paige...

I've seen some of your photos on the rochester_railfan list. I've got the Kodak DX7590 with the 10X zoom, and you're right...although 5MP is great for detail and print quality, the 10X optical zoom is like having a telephoto lens built-in. The burst comes in handy also.

One of the other important features in a camera seems to be the quality of the CCD, the sensor that actually captures the image (the "film"). I've seen cameras with equal resolution (megapixels) differ in image quality significantly. Some of the Sony Cybershot digicams, which are cheaper than some Kodaks, have amazing image quality that I attribute directly to the quality of the CCD.

Bottom line...play with any cameras you're interested in and compare them apples-to-apples on image quality. It may or may not correspond with price...

  by MEC407
There are several excellent digital cameras that I could recommend for you, but considering that they range in price from $200 to $1500, it would be helpful to know how much money you're willing to spend, and what you're planning on doing with the camera.

  by dj_paige
I am considering purchasing a digital SLR to give me even more control over the photos I take. But I'm not so sure that a digital SLR really helps for railfanning, unless you want to take some low-light shots ... some digital SLRs can behave as if they had a ISO 1600 film speed, while my current Kodak DX6490 will only go up to 400 (and then you have to put up with a really large amount of sensor noise).

The other thing that you might want to consider with digital photography is a good photo editing program. You can do things like change the contrast, change the color balance or color saturation, or just lighten up those shadows a bit. I am constantly surprised at how much better some photos look after a small amount of editing.

  by MikeF
No matter what kind of lighting you're shooting in, you'll appreciate the reduced shutter lag -- the amount of time between when you press the shutter button and when the camera actually takes the picture -- of a digital SLR. Many digital point-and-shoots have notoriously bad shutter lag, while digital SLR's are very nearly as fast as film bodies.