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Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

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Old 02-21-2003, 04:34 PM
  #1  
GarySS
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Question for any camera buff's:
I am considering a couple of digital cameras; one with 3x optical zoom and the other 6x optical zoom. The price premium of the 6x over the 3x is about $60. Is the 6x power worth it for RC work....I might take a few pictures of planes out on the field,etc.

Both are 3megapixels so that isn't a consideration.
Both can take very close-up pictures so that isn't a consideration.
The 6x camera does take two more batteries (4) vs (2).

Thanks
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Old 02-21-2003, 04:48 PM
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Steve Guinn
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Get the highest optical zoom you can afford. The digital zoom degrades the picture quality.
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Old 02-21-2003, 05:32 PM
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JohnVH
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Steve is right on!

I just bought a Sony DSC-P51, its 2.0megapixel, takes small video's, has only a 2x optical and a 6x digtal zoom and cost just over $200. For the price I think its a bargain! For what I do I am happy with it as I only got it to take pics of planes and stuff I do at home. Im not trying to do precision photography with it.
Im still figuring out the functions and settings, but here is my sukhoi on low quality. I think its alright.
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Old 02-21-2003, 05:50 PM
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pettit
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Default Digital camera for R/C

Here's what I did:

In the last year and a half, I have owned 3 digital cameras. #1 was a starter camera, Kodak 4800, 3.1 MP, 3X zoom. Got it just to see if it could replace the "old iron" (Canon A-1 35 mm) It couldn't. #2 was Koday 5000, 4 MP, 3X optical zoom. It was better and I took a lot of photos for the magazine. #3 is now a Minolta Dimage 7i, 5.1 MP, 7X optical zoom. Let's put it this way, the A-1 is getting a little dusty.

Plan on getting at least a 128 MB memory card. Plan on using batteries "like Grant going through Richmond". AA NiMH are inexpensive and you will need at least 2 or 3 sets. Try to shy away from cameras that use "dedicated" batteries, rather than individual AA cells.

What's next for me? Nothing yet, I can't afford a digital SLR and all those expensive lenses.
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Old 02-21-2003, 05:50 PM
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Default Other Option needed ...

I agre with the above. The more "x" optical the better.

Another consideration is focus. Most autofocus cameras don't do really well focusing on a close, moving object in the middle of an "infinite" field. Maybe 1/2 the time the camera will get the focus correct. If you choose a camera that has a manual focus mode, or at the least a focus "lock" mode, you will be more satisfied with your pictures.

I've attached a photo I took at last years warbirds over Delaware. It has been "de-resolutioned" a lot to be uploadable, but I think you get the idea. The photo was taken at the equivelent of 200mm, which is the full 7x on my Dimage 7.
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Old 02-21-2003, 07:08 PM
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Tall Paul
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Digital "zoom" merely makes the pixels larger.
There's several 6x to 10x optical zoom cameras available. The more optical zoom the better.
Digitals with auto-focus have a problem with moving targets. There's a perceptible delay between punching the shutter button and the imager actually taking the image.
You must follow the moving object while the auto-focus does its thing, or you'll get a very good photo of empty sky.
I use the Sony Mavica, 10x, 640x480 and the Fuji FinePix 2600, 6x,1600x1200. Both do very good. The Sony needed an external aiming viewfinder to point at the object, as the LCD screen is useless in direct daylight.
The resolution of the Fuji is superb! A full-frame close-up of a flying plane has all the detail you'd wish...
Here's an SP2H waterbomber on final at Fox Field, Lancaster... (image cropped for rcu limits)(original 1600x1200)
"digitally zooming 3X" you can almost read the part numbers on the flap track parts!
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Old 02-21-2003, 07:16 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

If you're looking for a great mid-priced camera, take a look at the Sony Cybershot 3.2MP. I recently got one, and it takes great RC pics. It costs about $350. It has 3x optical zoom, and 2x digital, which has proved to be enough for me. Also, it is EXTREMELY easy to use. You can see some of the pictures I have taken with it on my website.

http://home.attbi.com/~michael.damico


Mike
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:35 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

My Wife just bought me a Kodak LS433 and I love it. It has a 3x optical zoom ( same as a 35-105 lense) and a 6x digital zoom. It's a 4.0 mega pixel and takes really sharp pictures and it has it's own little dock for charging the lithium battery and for downloading. It's so darn easy to use even I can do it. Here's a shot of Bert Bakers #2 prototype P-38 that I took last week.
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:43 PM
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Flyfalcons
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Definitely go with more zoom if you want to do any in-flight shots. Here's the best my camera can do, and the photographer wasn't standing that far away when he snapped this one.
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:55 AM
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GarySS
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Thanks for all of the information, guys. I'm considering the Fuji FinePix 3800 or A303. Neither come with rechargables and only a 16MB storage card, so there is some additional expenses facing me. Prices seem to change daily but these cameras run $285 and $250 respectively, so the base price diff. isn't as great as I first thought.

That is quite a picture of the water bomber with the Fuji 2600. I see the Fuji 2650 (2MB pix, 3x optical runs only about $170 + the required extras.
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Old 02-22-2003, 02:24 PM
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RCKen
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

One thing to consider that most people don't think about when buying a digital camera. shutter delay. All digital's have a slight delay from when you push the button to when it takes the picture, some are better than others. If you plan on taking pictures of moving planes this should be a consideration. It's hard to take a good action shot with a long shutter delay. You push the button when you want the pic, and 3 seconds later the camera takes the picture. By then the shot is gone. I've learned to live with the delay on my camera, but I still miss shots because of it.

Just something else to think about.
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Old 02-23-2003, 05:21 PM
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glowplug
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

That's a good point RCKen. I did actually check that when I was buying mine. With the flash off, mine takes the picture almost intantaneously. (I have a few action shots on my homepage) With the flash on, mine is a completely different story.....the delay is a couple of seconds......luckily, the flash obviously won't be used in normal outdoor RC photography.

Mike
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Old 02-24-2003, 01:17 AM
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David_Moen
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

Another VERY important considerateion when sinking big dough into digital cameras is thier relativley slow exposure times. If you are familiar with film cameras, you know what the difference between 100ASA and 1000ASA film is. Most digital cameras are like 65 ASA or so. This can make getting good hand-held shots with the 10X zoom cameras almost impossible. You need lots of light and/or a tripod for good results. If long shots are a requirement, stick with film and get a negative scanner if you need digital copies. Having said all of that, digital cameras are still very cool!

I'm on my 13th digital camera and am finding that latley the Canon's have the least objectionable amount of shutter delay.

Great info regarding all current cameras can be found at www.stevesdigicams.com and www.imaging-resource.com
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Old 02-24-2003, 09:30 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

My favorite when I bought it and still my favorite when I try looking for an upgrade replacement -- matter of fact I haven't found one with the zoom and image stabilization capabilities. I'd rather have the 10x optical zoom 2.1 mega pixel image rather than the equivalent digital zoom 5.0 mega pixel image. Now if only Olympus would put a 5.0 mega pixel CCD in this camera as an upgrade.

Many examples of pictures taken by this camera can be seen on:

http://www.cma1193.com

Olympus C-2100UZ Specifications

Max resolution 1600 x 1200
Low resolution 1280 x 960
1024 x 768
640 x 480
Image ratio w:h 4:3
CCD pixels 2.1 megapixels (1.92 megapixels effective)
CCD size** 1/2"
ISO rating Auto (100-400), 100 / 200 / 400
Lens 13 elements in 10 groups (F2.8 - F3.5)
Lens thread 49 mm
Zoom wide (W) 38 mm
Zoom tele (T) 380 mm (10 x)
Digital zoom Yes, 1.1x - 2.7x
Auto Focus Single or Continuous AF + Low Light Assist Lamp
Manual Focus Yes
Normal focus range W: 60 cm - Infinity
T: 200 cm - Infinity
Macro focus range W: 10 cm - 60 cm
T: 100 cm - 200 cm
White balance override Auto, Four presets
Min shutter 16 sec (Manual), 1/2 sec (Auto, Shutter Priority)
Max shutter 1/800 sec (1/10000 in Movie mode)
Flash Internal, pop-up
Flash range W: 0.3 - 4.0 m
T: 1.0 - 3.2 m
External Flash Yes, Olympus synch port
Flash modes Auto, Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Off
Exposure modes Auto, S-Prg (Portrait, Sport, Landscape portrait, Night), Programmed Auto, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Exposure, Movie
Metering Digital ESP, Center-weighted, Spot
Aperture priority Yes, F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.0, F8.0
Shutter priority Yes, 1/2, 1/2.5, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/13, 1/15, 1/20, 1/25, 1/30, 1/40, 1/50, 1/60, 1/80, 1/100, 1/125, 1/160, 1/200, 1/250, 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/650, 1/800 sec
Full manual Yes (any combination of above apertures & shutter speeds plus: 16, 13, 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3.2, 2.5, 2, 1.6, 1.3, 1, 1/1.3, 1/1.6 sec)
AE Lock Yes (one-touch)
Exposure adjustment -2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV steps
Bracketing Yes, 0.3, 0.6, 1.0 EV in 3 or 5 steps
Continuous shooting Yes, 1.8 fps (16 images @ HQ)
Movie clips 320 x 240, 15 fps, up to 42 seconds inc audio
Audio clips Yes, WAV file format
Tripod mount Yes
Self-timer Yes, 12 sec delay
Video out Yes, varies by region
Storage types SmartMedia
Storage included 8 MB SmartMedia card
Uncompressed format Yes, TIFF
Compressed format JPEG (EXIF)
Quality Levels Standard, High, Super High
Viewfinder Yes, electronic viewfinder (with dioptre correction)
LCD 1.8" TFT (114,000 pixels)
Playback zoom Yes, 1.5x, 2.0x, 2.5x, 3.0x
Operating system Proprietary
Connectivity USB, RS232C (optional cable), Mic Input
Battery Yes, 2 x Lithium (non-rechargeable) or 4 x AA (NiMH recommended)
Battery charger No
Weight (exc. batteries) 540 g (19 oz)
Dimensions 113 x 78x 141 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 5.6")
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:19 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

My vote is for the Canon G3. A little expensive, though.

4 MP
4x Optical
Flip out screen and a viewfinder
Movie mode
Hot Shoe for a flash
Very nice pics

I like www.dpreview.com for digicam info. Great site.

As for focusing, I can set my G3 to manual. Then I don't have to pre-focus.
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Old 02-24-2003, 11:31 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

I have a Canon A40, 2.0 megapixel 3x zoom
has a lot of manual settings, probably the most in the
non pro range.

It also has a prefocus lock feature where you can press the button halfway and focus on an area then when the object comes flying/driving in you can press the button and it will snap
immediately instead of waiting the 2 second delay.

It also has decent macro/closeup capabilties
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Old 02-25-2003, 04:15 PM
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Default Digital Camera for RC work - Zoom strength?

If you're going to do a lot of close-in picture taking, be sure to get a camera with a large, quality (glass) lens.

- George
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