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This is a quick guide to how to photograph a slot car. I use a 4 year old Fuji MX-1200. It is perfect for web work and has a macro setting which is essential for close up work. You will not be able to take any pictures within 600 mm of your subject unless you have a macro setting on your camera. If you have a powerful camera then for web work you will have to reduce the image quality if you want the upload time to be respectable. With my Fuji MX-1200 I don't need to do this.

Lighting is very important and you will see from the first picture that I use a 500 watt halogen floodlight. This is ideal for macro work and provides enough light to flood the background. Without this your background will be dark if you use your flash. You should always use your flash if you want good close up images with the macro setting.

A cardreader and a ubs port are essential for speedy transfer of your pictures to the PC. The software that comes with your camera is normally OK for photographic editing but if you want any fancy effects then you will need to purchase additional software.

Simply store the shots you want to keep in a file on your PC and download the pictures to a photographic host on the internet, such as StarPhoto, when you want the world to see your masterpiece.

I will let the following pictures do some of the talking.

First shot with standard lens and flash:-



Second shot slightly closer with standard lens and flash:-



Third shot with macro lens and flash:-



I hope this is helpful.


Moped
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, Inte. I can take the hint.

My "white" Corvette is now about the most famous "white" vette in the world and it is now getting slightly embarrasing that it is still "white".

I promise that you will not see it again until it is painted.


Moped
 

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Allan Wakefield
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Hey thanks for that Moped !


I would add a couple more tips and hints to the above...

I also use a high Wattage Tungsten Halogen setup almost identical to Mopeds BUT ...

It gives off a yellow tone light that spoils other colours regardless of whether you use the camera flash or not.
Best is to use, and very cheap these days from places like IKEA, is a Low Voltage Halogen spot light system, these give off white tone lighting that lets you see colour very true to natural. This is why so many shops use this system.

If you can take your pictures outdoors (hard when you want a track picture I know!) then even better, in fact - THE BEST.

Be careful of using the camera flash as it can bleed colour out when close up and reflection can be an issue, although Moped seems to have the knack for this alot better than me!


QUOTE One other point before I submit a couple of (for me - 'good lighting' pics).
With pictures taken for the Internet, if you use JPG format then, almost regardless of image quality, the size of the picture is what makes the file large. Good practice is to take the biggest and best quality picture you can and then reduce it in pixel size.

For the above paragraph - read "INCOMPLETE DUE TO ILL INFORMED POSTER" namely ME! See further down for further explantion.

In fact for definition, the higher the quality, the more clearly contrasted the picture, especially when shrunk to a user friendly 500 / 600 pixel wide picture for the Internet.

With all cameras, the darker the ambient room lighting, the more the camera has to compensate and the longer the exposure time. This results in more easily blurred pictures unless you have a totally steady tripod setup.

Ok - some pictures with the lighting conditions given (IMAGE SIZES REDUCED)...

Outside and cloudy, under a white canopy..


Outside and raining but under a white canopy..


Outside, clear but early morning and also under a white canopy (This is from a 'super macro' setting)..


Outside, sunny early afternoon..
 

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Ouch!

Hear that?

That's the sound of my modem screaming out as it tries to download another fat image from a forum.


We ain't all got broadband yet you know. Tsch.

Images on the net do not need massive resolution: 72dpi is all your pc monitor can hack whereas for making hard prints you want all the dpi you can muster. If you are going to post images can I please, please, please BEG of you turn down the wick on the file size a tad. Take a look at the image above and now at this one I've taken the liberty of trimming;



This is only 23k, against a wopping 155k, but still looks good enough (If you can see it: always had trouble with my images on forums!).

In the UK on the cover CD of this months .Net magazine there is some free software that would allow you to do this. Please, go get it, for the sake of my modem.
 

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DT
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Let me chirp in here.

Wankel is right about dpi in the sense that the screen can only produce 72dpi. Dpi (dots per inch) is important when printing, but the issue at hand is more about JPEG compression.

Here is a crop of that same file, saved with different JPEG compression settings:


100% quality (0% loss) 27,892 bytes


80% quality (20% loss) 13,757 bytes


60% quality (40% loss) 8,575 bytes


30% quality (70% loss) 4,799 bytes


10% quality (90% loss) 3,210 bytes


0% quality (100% loss) 2,490 bytes

I generally use a 60% quality (40% loss) as it is the highest compression where, to the human eye looking at a monitor, from normal viewing distance - the image remains good quality.

I'm using Photoshop for this, but I'm sure Paintshop Pro and other photo editing packages do the same thing
 

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A little tip on indoor photos. Instead of using one lamp to illuminate the subject, use two. Each at 45 degree angles to the center of you subect. This will eliminate the harsh shadowing on the one lamp with flash shots.
 

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Allan Wakefield
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Oops!


Then I stand corrected after many posts with 100% quality pics.

Sorry guys - someone should have moaned sooner


All I can say is " No pain No gain - you have to pay for quality! "


Actually I promise to look at this lower standard of pic for you


All done and reduced in size - SOMEONE needs to do a proper Article on this for the 'Resources' area., replete with good examples and clear text.

Offers anyone ?
Moped ?
Wankel ?
 

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This part of the subject is a minefield for the unwary - very prone to confusion.
Lots of ifs and buts.
Terminology must be correct and unambiguous.
For instance, the interface referred to earlier is USB not ubs and it isn't essential but is useful. A card reader isn't essential - if both camera and PC have USB ports it isn't needed at all. Placing pics on a photo host is an upload operation not a download (your PC is always used as the point of reference, so you upload from your PC and download to your PC - that is the accepted standard).

Nuro's series of shots are a great demo of increasing compression with increasing loss, but I have to say I have problems with the numbers quoted. For instance, the last one states '0% quality (100% loss)'. These numbers suggest that there should not be a picture at all - but there obviously is!
So, it's a confusing subject and needs very careful treatment
 

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QUOTE (Tropi @ 5 Oct 2003, 10:42 PM)For instance, the last one states '0% quality (100% loss)'. These numbers suggest that there should not be a picture at all - but there obviously is!
So, it's a confusing subject and needs very careful treatment

That one foxed me as well Tropi. I work for a national newspaper so I'll try and have a word with our imaging guys and see what they suggest as the optimum settings etc.
Regards, Ian
 

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I think different software looks at and treats pics rather differently and this is a BIG problem area.
For instance, the two pics following were both saved using Microsoft Photo Editor, rather than Photo Shop (which I also have).
The first is Nuro's highest quality original from above, re-saved at 'highest' quality and the second is exactly the same pic reduced to ''quality 1' (99% loss), both using MS Photo Editor.
The pixel count, even of the first one, is quite different from Nuro's original.
I rather think that the particular photo host contributes its own pixel manipulation to the mathematics also.

ORIGINAL RE-SAVED WITH MS Photo Ed at highest quality
7,503 bytes here, 29,285 bytes true size on my PC, 32,768 bytes minimum file size on my hard disk(NTFS)


THAT SAME PIC RE-SAVED with MS Photo Ed at lowest quality
3,535 bytes here, 1,337 bytes true size on my PC, 4,096 bytes (min file size) on my hard disk (NTFS)


So explanations will need quite a lot of thought!
 

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Another tip.

If you see a poor quality image with low definition such as shown above, if you squint when looking at it, you can actually see the picture as a high definition.

The alternative is to purchase those X-Ray specs that you all had as kids that enable you to see through things. They do the same thing. You sometimes get them free with The Dandy or Beano.

Amazing but true!



Moped
 

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Hi guys,

This is something that I deal with everyday in my line of work. In regards to which kind of software to use Adobe Photoshop is by the best. And it can be downloaded as a trial version from Adobe's website (I think!).

JPEG compression works by chucking away all the unwanted information in the image, like halftones and lesser used colours, hence reducing the file size. However think of JPEGs like this everytime you open and re-save a JPEG image it gets progressively worse - like if you re-record on a video tape - before long the tape is knacked.

And always save images as 72 dpi, RGB colour mode and remember most (standard) monitors have a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, so if your image is large than that - its gonna be massive on screen! I think for web stuff that downloads quickly but is large enough to see some detail between 400-500 pixels wide is best.

It is always best to have 2 versions of a file like a TIFF, EPS or BMP to keep if you want to edit it and a JPEG for posting on the web.

Also using a flash to take pics can bleed out colour, try using as much light as possible (the more light sources, the less shadows!) - and in software like Photoshop you can mess around and turn a rather dark pic into something that is far brighter.

By the way excellent forum!

Mark
 

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Oh man.

Can open. Worms, all over the place.

What I actually expected was some bright spark with a Mac to wade in and boast of the higher res their screens are capable of.

If nothing else, here's hoping that folks will experiment and play with their settings a bit more.

Mope, retrieved my old x-ray specs and donning them all I saw was the internals of the monitor!
 

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Al Schwartz
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A factor not discussed above that has a profound effect on the impact of a photograph is the effective* focal length of the lens. For example, Swiss' shot of the GT 40 was obviously taken with a wide angle lens (my guess is 20 mm or less) which exaggerates perspective and makes the model look more like the way we would see a real one. Alternatively, shots taken with a telephoto lens have a compressed look with little perspective. A wide angle lens will have a greater depth of field (range of distances from the camera that will be in focus) than a "normal" or "telephoto" lens

So far as post-processing goes, I use Paint Shop Pro - it is similar to PhotoShop and a lot cheaper. I use the "Resize" function to resize the image to 600 pixels wide and let the interpolation function reconstruct the image. I then save it as a JPEG and adjust the compression until I just begin to see some degradation and then back off a notch. Typically, this results in a file of 35-60K depending on the subject.

EM

* small can of worms: Because the dimensions of the CCD in a digital camera is typically much smaller than the size of a 35 mm negative, there is an effective "focal length multiplier" factor in the digital camera. Thus a 20 mm lens on a digital camera will be equivalent to a 30 - 40 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. this is often taken into account in the specs of digital cameras with focal length expressed as "35 mm equivalents" For anyone wanting to go deeper into this subject, I suggest:

http://www.dpreview.com

This site not only provides a wealth of information on digital cameras and authoritative reviews, but also has links to a whole world of information on photography, lighting, processing and printing
 

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Rich Dumas
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The great thing about digital photography is that you can take a lot of pictures and it doesn't cost you anything. You spend all of the money up front on hardware, so the more pictures you take the less each one costs. You can also revue your pictures immediately. Digital cameras have disadvantages when it comes to taking pictures of moving objects or in low light conditions. Most digital cameras are equivalent to 100 film, so you need a slow shutter speed unless there is plenty of light. You can set a higher film speed with many cameras, usually with some degradation in picture quality. Many digital cameras also have shutter lag, which can cause you to miss a shot of a moving object. Most people that are photographing their tracks and cars are not looking for some artsy effect, they just want sharp, well-lit pictures. I usually just rely on room lighting and the flash in my camera. Sometimes I use a flood light in a gooseneck lamp to fill in the shadows or maybe bounce some light off a sheet of white posterboard. My camera has a pretty good automatic white balance to compensate for various kinds of light. I can also pick the type of light from a menu. Natural sunlight is usually best and you can buy fluorescent lights that mimic sunlight. Ordinary fluorescent lights tend to impart a green tinge to pictures that is hard to compensate for after the fact. I use a tripod whenever I can. I always use the highest picture size and quality that the camera is capable of and use photo editing software later to reduce the file size to a manageable level. It is best to save your good pictures in their original file size. If you do some editing on a picture, but might want to get back to it for more work it is best to save it in a lossless format such as Tiff. Once you scrunch a picture down and save it as a jpeg you will get artifacts, such as tiling, when you try to enlarge it again.
I rarely use the macro setting on my camera, getting that close can block your light and the flash on the camera is useless. They do make special lights for macro photography, but they are expensive. When taking pictures of individual cars I usually get as close as I can and still focus, using the cameras' zoom. Later I crop out the unwanted part of the pictures. In the case of very small objects, I just put then on my scanner and turn the resolution up to get a large picture. Sometimes I pose my cars on the track, but I also built a little diorama to pose cars on. The diorama is just a few spare track sections sitting on green carpet to simulate grass and some green plastic mesh that looks like chainlink fence. I have printed out some pictures of bushes and trees and a grandstand full of people that I can prop up behind the fence to add interest.
It is a good thing to invest in some good photo editing software. The stuff that is included with Windows is clumsy and rather limited. Adobe Photoshop is the leader in its' field, but it takes a while to really learn to use it and it is very costly. For non-professionals I recommend either Adobe Elements, a scaled down, but more user friendly version of Photoshop, or Microsoft PictureIt. I often find it hard to resist doing a little retouching on a picture. Those of you that have taken Chemistry in school might remember Avogadro's Number.

 
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