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Author Topic: rail trip photography
Iron Mountain
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This is directed primarily to Mike Smith and Henry Kisor: I was impresssed with the photographic record of your trips including the King Street Station and the Algoma Central tour. I have done some picture taking on trains but the results are not nearly as good as yours. Could you recommend a camera(s) that either of you think is a good choice for recording your travels. Years ago I had a Pentax K-1000. I really enjoyed it and it took great pictures (pre-digital). I have tried a couple of cameras of the digital age but do not like the displays for sighting, and the buttons are too small. I much prefer the look through sights. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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RRRICH
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Iron Mtn -- I am not Mike or Henry, but I agree with you. I much prefer the "older" cameras such as the Pentax for photography of any kind. They are MUCH easier to use than digital cameras, in my opinion. My digital photos typically come out either nowhere near in focus, or so dark you can't see anything. I much prefer the older cameras with SLR focusing where you can actually pick your own exposure speeds and f-stops!
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Mike Smith
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I have been learning the Nikon 5100, and all of the White Pass photos were taken with that camera. I really like this camera, but it is bulky. I especially like the 9 dots in the viewer. It gives a great picture "target" and the points turn red to signify what the camera is focusing on. If the camera focused on the side of the train (far right side dot), instead of the mountain (center 3 dots), I just released the button and tried again.

The other pictures were taken with my Canon SD 1200is(comfortably fits in my pocket). The 5100 has taught me a few things about the composition and the auto focus aspects of my small and easily portable Canon. Pushing the button about halfway down brings up a box, and that box is where the camera is focusing. Don't like the focal point, release and re-press the button. If you like the focal point, DO NOT release the button, just continue to press down until the shot is taken.

Iron Mountain, if you give me a price range, I'll give you my opinion of the best bang for the buck.

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yukon11
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I bought a Canon Power Shot digital camera, a few years ago, that I really like. Resonably priced and simple to use....it takes good pictures.

Consumer Guide rated (in the subcompact catagory) the Nikon 5100 highest, as Mike mentions. That is a subcompact camera. For a compact digital camera they rate the Nikon Coolpix P310 as the best in that category. Both in the $200-$300 range. I have also heard the Nikon Coolpix P7000 and, newer P7001 ($300-$400) are very good.

Richard

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HopefulRailUser
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And remember that Henry is essentially a professional photographer as you can see via his website. So his equipment and skills are off the chart.

I agree with you, those recent pictures the fellows posted were terrific!

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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Henry Kisor
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I am NOT a professional photographer. (But thanks, Vicki.) I am an amateur photographer with delusions of grandeur. In truth, I get lucky a lot, partly from experience and partly because I've got good prosumer equipment.

I can recommend any of the entry-level DSLRs, Nikon, Canon, Pentax or Sony. They're roughly $550 with an 18-55 kit lens.

My equipment is Pentax mainly because I've been using Pentax since 1966 and am used to it . . . and alone among manufacturers, every lens ever made for a Pentax will still work with the current Pentax DSLRs. I've got about 20 lenses, so . . .

But if I were starting out now I'd certainly look at both Nikon and Canon. Their stuff is as well made as Pentax's is, and since pros use those cameras, there is a greater choice among Nikon and Canon lenses.

The trick to getting good pictures from a train window with any camera, most especially a DSLR, is to use a rubber lens hood with the correct filter screw diameter of your particular lens. Clapping the hood to the window locks out reflections.

Try to get people into the photos, not waving at the camera but doing something recognizable or interesting. This also gives scale to the subject you are photographing.

The best from-the-train photos are taken from open vestibule windows, but that will get you thrown off the train if you are caught at itt. Of course if you are riding private varnish that rule does not apply.

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yukon11
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Henry's photos are terrific! Dittos for Mike and his recent photos on the Coast Starlight.

Mike: I should have clarified my post three up. Consumer Reports gave their highest rating to the Nikon Coolpix 5100, the subcompact camera. You mention the Nikon 5100 as bulky..did you mean the Nikon D5100? That is their more expensive DSLR.

Richard

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Mike Smith
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Yep, forgot to add the "D".

And any good car attendant will "disappear" during the scenic parts of a trip. Funny story. Tzena had the window open shooting pictures while the train was being inspected by the conductor (a 5 mile an hour "roll-by"). When he passed her door window, both of them ignored each other and pretended they did not see each other... [Smile]

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chrisg
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I use a Nikon D 3000 which has given me excellent results.

Chris

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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by chrisg:
I use a Nikon D 3000 which has given me excellent results.

Chris

Second that - the photos in your trip reports are the next best thing to being there!

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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