What Kind of Camera Do You Use When Railfanning?

NKP Muncie posted:

 

culpsetup

David--

 

Is that 5x7 or 8x10?  You shoot C41 or b&w?   I've been doing night/flash shots with 4x5 b&w, and have been tempted to try 5x7.  Already have a 5x7 back for my Gundlach Korona.

 

As for what camera OP should pick, again I'll say that if you are mostly just posting on the web, what camera really isn't going to make much difference.  Foamer photography is the least demanding type of shooting on camera gear there is.

 

Kent in sD

Blessed are those that help the poor;

The Lord will deliver them in time of trouble.

Kent -

Mostly B&W, occasionally chromes, it's 8x10.

Here's a small version of the pic shot there. Was really peeved  - waited for two or three hours, then 20 or 30 seconds before 611 arrived, those guys on the left came barreling across the tracks and ruined everyone's shot. Would have waited until the train was a bit closer - maybe between the crossing and the crossbuck.

Your night work sounds very interesting. culpsmall

David

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One of the things about buying s DSLR is the fact that so many of the "kits" both Nikon and and Canon offer the the 18-55 selection.  That always struck me as an odd combo for a zoom. It requires that you have the big tele readily available for the longer shots that we so often have to take. With the higher focal length available such as a 125mm I have some telephoto ability.

 

Dick

NKP Muncie posted:

Kent -

Here's a small version of the pic shot there. Was really peeved  - waited for two or three hours, then 20 or 30 seconds before 611 arrived, those guys on the left came barreling across the tracks and ruined everyone's shot. Would have waited until the train was a bit closer - maybe between the crossing and the crossbuck.

Your night work sounds very interesting. 

David

Drum scan the neg, and clone out the clowns.  I posted a couple of 4x5 night shots here on last week's "Midweek Photos."  Will shoot some more when I get back from Pittsburgh.

 

Kent in SD

Blessed are those that help the poor;

The Lord will deliver them in time of trouble.

CBQer posted:

One of the things about buying s DSLR is the fact that so many of the "kits" both Nikon and and Canon offer the the 18-55 selection.  That always struck me as an odd combo for a zoom. It requires that you have the big tele readily available for the longer shots that we so often have to take. With the higher focal length available such as a 125mm I have some telephoto ability.

 

Dick

Most kits from both Nikon and Canon come with cameras that have crop sensors (DX sensors).  More expensive DLSRs have full frame sensors (FX sensors).  An 18-55mm lens on a camera with a crop sensor is roughly equivalent to a 28-80mm lens on a full frame or traditional 35mm film camera.  IMHO a 28-80mm lens is kind of the standard for an indoor or close quarters zoom.  I have one for my 40 year old film camera.

Canon's crop sensor uses a 1.6 multiplier and Nikon uses a 1.5 multiplier.  So the math works out like this:
     Canon 18-55mm = 28.8-88mm and Nikon 18-55 = 27-82.5mm

Now the "roughly equivalent" statement also includes depth of field.  Even though these combinations yield focal lengths around the classic 28-80mm lens, the depth of field remains the same as the actual focal length of 18-55mm.  But with that said, I've only ever herd 1 pro photographer complain about the depth of field difference.  A crop sensor with any lens gives you a little more room if you screw up.

The photo in the link was shot with a Nikon D80 (DX sensor) and a Tamron 18-50mm lens back in 2007.

http://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/t...12#71397234057746412

Tony

It's not the camera brand or model that is most important. The person taking the picture is the most important factor as in how to use it so one can get the desired results. For a DSLR won't go wrong with either Canon or Nikon. Do recommend when it comes to lenses best to stick with Canon or Nikon brand as they give the best results. Some (not all) aftermarket lenses can do quite well but in my experience a lens that is same brand as the camera was the most satisfying to use.

Tripod - it's a necessity for low light and night shots for a sharp (not blurred) image. Also helps with taking pictures with a long telephoto lens as in 300mm and larger.

Tony_V posted:
CBQer posted:

One of the things about buying s DSLR is the fact that so many of the "kits" both Nikon and and Canon offer the the 18-55 selection.  That always struck me as an odd combo for a zoom. It requires that you have the big tele readily available for the longer shots that we so often have to take. With the higher focal length available such as a 125mm I have some telephoto ability.

Dick

...

Canon's crop sensor uses a 1.6 multiplier and Nikon uses a 1.5 multiplier.  So the math works out like this:
     Canon 18-55mm = 28.8-88mm and Nikon 18-55 = 27-82.5mm

...

Tony

add to that, cropping most full resolution digital photos up to 50% still leaves a huge amount of pixels left to work with, so you can basically double those figures.

but after all, the std 50mm SLR lens has always be a popular field size with tourists, wedding parties, etc, so the 18 - 55mm lens (and considering the CCD-crop, as pointed out, effectively ~30 - 80mm) brackets that standard lens fairly well.

cheers...gary

There are some amazing photos in this thread, and should be included in that other thread about "My Best Railroad Shot Ever".    

Personally, I use my smart phone, iPhone 5c, I think it is.  Before that I used a kodak Easy-Share digital camera.  And way back in the day, I used my Miranda Sensorex SLR, I purchased while on the Ho Chi Minh Trail back in 1968.  

I was pretty good with the Miranda.  I hadn't used in in many years as life took over, kids, house, etc.  When I got the Kodak camera as a gift, I thought it was the cat's meow.  Then three years ago, I obtained my smart phone.  And not long after bought a mac computer.  While taking some lessons at the Apple store, i asked the gurus there why I was having a hard time coordinating my kodak camera with the new computer.  The answer I got was to retire my Kodak and use my smart phone as it has a much better camera.  They were right.  

So to answer the question posed, it's my smart phone that I use for rail fanning photography. 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Tony_V posted:

Canon's crop sensor uses a 1.6 multiplier and Nikon uses a 1.5 multiplier.  ...

with my suspicion that there had to be a live steam link here, i looked up the US HQ's...

NiCan NY
... might be interesting to check out the corporate softball league situation in Melville, NY. or whatever other challenges that have likely been brewed up during Marriott happy hours.

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645 posted:

It's not the camera brand or model that is most important. The person taking the picture is the most important factor as in how to use it so one can get the desired results. Some (not all) aftermarket lenses can do quite well but in my experience a lens that is same brand as the camera was the most satisfying to use.

Tripod - it's a necessity for low light and night shots for a sharp (not blurred) image. Also helps with taking pictures with a long telephoto lens as in 300mm and larger.

At one time lenses from the camera makers were the best, but not so much any more.  The latest lenses from Zeiss and Sigma (ART series) are now the best you can buy.  Half of the lenses in my camera bag are now Sigma ART and I'm planning on adding another (14mm f1.8).  I'm talking about ~$1,000 lenses though, not kit lenses.  As for tripod, I use one for virtually all of my shots as a tripod is even more important than the lens when it comes to sharpness.  And the most important thing?  I agree that it's the photographer and their ability to previsualize the shot.  The camera is the least important thing in photography.

 

Kent in SD

Blessed are those that help the poor;

The Lord will deliver them in time of trouble.

A Canon 60D with a Canon  28-135 zoom lens that I have had for awhile. No tripod, usually shoot at 400-500th of a second. For me it is one of several hobbies and I like to keep it easy and simple plus I take a lot more than RR photos. If I did an upgrade it would be a better lens.  I love digital- versatile, instant gratification, easy printing and I keep buying more memory chips as I fill them up.

 

I'm just curious why Sony cameras don't get more love.   I have two of the them an A330 and an A58 (also picked up a used A330 for my dad) and we LOVE THEM.  I have no issues with the other brands, but my experience with Sony products is they are darn near bullet proof and do a good job. 

DIESELBOB,

I love my Sony SR-12 Hard Drive Handycam, but declined getting their DSLR A6000 or upgraded model due to No touchscreen.

I went with a Nikon D5500 - Touchscreen.

The issues I'm having now with all of these extra pixels - I'm able to see the limits of the kit lens. Am considering spending some money on a decent Sigma lens.

 

UP_662_12-2-16

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I've used many cameras to railfan and to shoot in general. I have a Nikon D750 which is a great camera, great autofocus, and low noise under ISO 6400-12800 in some conditions. I use manual mode so im not sure about the auto mode functions, it should be ok. 

I have also used a Sony A6500 A7rII, Canon 70D and Nikon D4. The Sonys are nice and small, but the battery life is short, not sure im ready to make the move to mirror less. I like my D750, just the right size and resolution for trains and shoots with m friendsIMG_4393 [1)IMG_4192IMG_4061E2EF07C3-5ED5-4862-AF5D-B178939161C5.  

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A very old and battered Nikon D1X with Nikon lenses which I owned from new and has travelled with me to several parts of the world. Smart phones are killing the SLR market here, my current one has many time the pixels of the Nikon.

 

DSC_5675 

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SPSF posted:

DIESELBOB,

I love my Sony SR-12 Hard Drive Handycam, but declined getting their DSLR A6000 or upgraded model due to No touchscreen.

I went with a Nikon D5500 - Touchscreen.

The issues I'm having now with all of these extra pixels - I'm able to see the limits of the kit lens. Am considering spending some money on a decent Sigma lens.

 

UP_662_12-2-16

Well, I've never really looked into those camera models, so I can't comment on them other than to say that the word touch screen usually running for the door.  Touch screens are one of the main reasons I don't have a smart phone (size is the other) and while I love what I can do with my tablet, the way I have to use it makes me want to throw it against a wall.  I use my wife's smart phone from time to time and would love to throw it against the wall too, again all due to the way touch screens work and their refusal to lock and hold anything.  I can't even pick the dang thing up without it doing something I don't want it to do.

I have a lot of Sony products except digital cameras. I just got started on Canons back in the film days and like them. Have always liked the way they handled and were easy to use.  I still have a Sony Hi8 video camera plus a Sony D1000 with a hard drive. Don't video as much as before.  In retirement, money is limited and I would rather save to go places to take pictures than get the latest trinkets. I have talked to pros and if they aren't using a Hasellblad, they use a Nikon or  Canon as a GENERAL rule.  Up until a few years ago I would occasionally use a WW II German 35mm Leica. Took great photos.

SPSF posted:

DIESELBOB,

 

The issues I'm having now with all of these extra pixels - I'm able to see the limits of the kit lens. Am considering spending some money on a decent Sigma lens.

 

 

I have a Nikon D5300 (same sensor as D5500) that I use as my travel & light hiking camera.  The best zoom lens I found for it was the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 OS.    I bought a used one on ebay for less than $300.  Here's a DxO comparision.  Under "Lens Metrics" look at the line labeled "Resolution."  The Sigma has significantly more resolution than anything Nikon sells.  The very best zoom lens is the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8, but because it has a limited zoom range you would need to pair it with another lens, such as the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8 or 50-100mm f1.8.   Those are considerably more expensive lenses, and heavier.  DxO:

https://www.dxomark.com/Lenses...919_1208_919_173_919

 

Kent in SD

 

LetcherElvM

Blessed are those that help the poor;

The Lord will deliver them in time of trouble.

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While it seems this subject has largely been discussed thoroughly, I will put out a vote for Pentax digital.  I have shot 4x5, medium format, and a large variety of vintage cameras over the years, but my very first "pro" quality camera was the Pentax K1000.  I still have it and carry it on back country trips as a back up.

What I like about the Pentax system is the amount of features versus the lower relative cost for equal quality products.  I have progressed from the K1000 through the ME Super and Super Program in film and then into the *istD, K10D, K5 and just now the K1 full frame 35mp.  While I have newer lenses all my old ones are compatible with every K-mount Pentax ever made without an adapter.  That means that my 1970's vintage 50mm / F1.2 lens and 20mm / F4 lens are still useful as they still cost about $350.00 each on the secondary market.

Lately my main lens for railroad photography is a Sigma 135-400mm zoom that has given me consistent results on trains.  I also like a wide-normal zoom lens.

Regardless of the system you go with, remember that when purchasing a DSLR you are buying into a system, not just a camera.  To keep in your budget any of the major brands with the kit 18-55mm lens will be a great start.  You can expand the system as funds permit.  The biggest thing is to try them all and decide which one feels best in your hand.   

For me, staying with my original brand of camera loyally for 30 years has meant that I have an incredibly diverse collection of gear that all works within the system.  The camera is ultimately a throw away anymore which is the big change from the film era.  You are really investing in lenses that will hopefully give your many, many years of quality service.  As an example my APX sensor digital bodies, the Pentax DA 16-45mm has been in use for 13 years during which I used it on three separate bodies.

A variety of photos all shot with my Pentax Digital gear.  Only three lenses were used on these; 16-45mm Pentax, Sigma 10-20mm, and Sigma 135-400mm.

One thing about us Pentax users is that we are so fiercely loyal to our brand we are known at "Pentaxians".  Depending on who you talk to, it's a badge of honor, or a slur. 

Arizona Eastern Railway Excursion Train in 2011, the last year it ran before the line was sold by SLRG to the Genesee & Wyoming and the service stopped:  Pentax K10D with Pentax DA 16-45mm.

IMGP4889_ED

UP 844 when it visited Arizona in 2011:  Pentax K5 with Sigma 135-400mm.

IMGP6143

IMGP6209

30th Street Station in 2012:  Pentax K5 with the 16-45mm lens

IMGP8393_edIMGP8413_ed

Then New GE ET44AC's in February of 2016 on a cloudy day in New Mexico:  Pentax K5 and 135-400mm lens.

IMGP1691

Amtrak fun under wires during my York trip last April:  Pentax K5 with both 135-400mm lens and the Sigma 10-20mm lens.  To be honest, I haven't been extremely pleased with the 10-20mm.  It tends to be fuzzy at the edges.  I just had to learn how to shoot with it and how not to shoot with it.

IMGP2193_EDIMGP2210_EDIMGP2248_EDIMGP2250_EDIMGP2256_ED

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 2008:  Pentax *istD with 16-45mm lens.

_IGP9054_ED_IGP9056

 

  

Jonathan Peiffer Modeling the NY&LB in Arizona

Proud TCA Member, rivet counter, and operator of all scales of scale trains.

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But probably a few cannons.

David, with Canons, Gitzos, Manfrottos, Bogens, Speedotrons, and not a clue how to take a pic. Really.

Edit: Farmer Bill: you do have a valid point. The equipment can make it easier to take the photo, but one has to have the idea for the photo first. A few time recently I've found that having too much gear leads to bad photos. This year, I hope to simplify. One picture, composed. Oh, something a boss said about 35 years ago, when people were clamoring for a certain lens. Was the Charles Lindbergh photo taken with a 300 f/2.8?

NKP Muncie posted:

. . . Was really peeved  - waited for two or three hours, then 20 or 30 seconds before 611 arrived, those guys on the left came barreling across the tracks and ruined everyone's shot. . .culpsmall

Those guys again???!!!  Aren't they the same ones who shoot in rapid sequence with loud mirror clack right next to anybody who has carefully composed a video shoot?

Tom

 

Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Tom - I'm guilty of sitting on the motor from time to time. This year, I might bring back the film camera, which is even louder, with the motor drive. Vicker in Virginia is so popular - hundreds of people. Where to go for a different shot.  I have some ideas. but they involve trespassing. Not doing something stupid, but still....

David

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