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I am almost totally convinced that a good size tilt and swivel LCD is close to the top of the priority list for a camera operator who wants to photograph models that spend a lot of their time below waist level and possibly on the floor.

On this basis, a lot of otherwise excellent cameras are falling off my short list, including all digital SLRs and the otherwise very accomplished and excellent value Lumix cams from Panasonic, Kodak (yes they make a couple of cracking good super-zooms!) and Fuji's 7xxx and 5xxx series. In fact, at present, the only cams still on my list are Sony's F828 and the Canon Pro-1. But I'm very willing to rethink things (yet again!) in the light of any new info or insights from camera enthusiasts here.

Has anyone found a workaround for this problem?
I really want to see what you think about your own cameras, with regard to the LCD and its usefulness, whether you wish you had held out for a T & S screen etc.

Has anyone rigged up a small off-cam LCD or even a tiny TV to get around the problem?

Please post anything that might contribute towards my choosing my next cam, with a view to it providing for my needs over the next several years. It has become urgent after having had mine stolen from my car a couple of days back.
 

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Tilt and swivel LCD screens are especially useful for macro work. I've used one on the canon G-series cameras.

Have you considered the Canon A95?

I think there are more important features to look for though.
 

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My camera has a tilt LCD, but no swivel. I really do with I had sought out a camera with a tilt/swivel LCD; many times I would have found it very useful.
 

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QUOTE Does a swivel make much difference?

guess it depends how near your eyes are to the edge of your head! Often the most realistic angle is a low level angle, so the camera may be right on the floor, making it difficult to see the screen properly.
 

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Astro has got my point of difficulty!

Don't worry about opening up the topic beyond tilt and swivel screens, every one!
It's just that I can't see anything more fundamentally essential to taking a good shot than first being able to actually SEE what you are trying to frame! Until you can do that, it seems that nothing much else matters.
I'm particularly curious as to whether anyone has managed to rig up a small TV or separate LCD screen for this purpose.

I am also very interested in thoughts on the pros and cons of proprietary batteries against the ubiquitous AAs. Greatly in favour of the AAs is that they are MUCH cheaper and, at a pinch when stuck, you can buy bog standard alkalines almost anywhere.
But what does everyone else think?
I am genuinely interested in other points of view - no point in my asking otherwise!


Don't be afraid to say what camera you are using, what you like about it, what you don't like, whether you would buy similar again, or what you have learned that makes you wish you had bought something else instead or why you are thinking of changing it and for what. Let's have a good chin-wag, with photographing slot cars as the central theme!
 

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Don't forget that you want a camera that takes good macro shots. No good in looking specifically for a tilt and swivel LCD if the camera's macro capability is lacking.

I agree with you about the batteries. My camera (Canon Powershot A40) uses them and I have been able to grab some alkalines in a pinch. However, some of the proprietary batteries are very good, just a bit expensive for replacements.

I prefer compact flash cards too.

What will you be using the pictures for? No point in buying an 8MP prosumer camera if you just want to take pics for the web. What other features will you need/want?
 

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NO wait!

Your right, a swivel camera would be good for slot shots on the layout.
It would save you crawling across the layout or worse, dangerously balancing yourself above all the pointy heads of the little Scalextric people trying to work out exactly where you need to get the lense.

Good point Astro Boy!

Had a look at camera shop today Tropi, but alas no good swivel cameras.
 

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Proprietary batteries tend to be very expensive.

I like mine for using 4 R6/AA batteries. I'm using 2300 mAh Ni-MH batteries nowdays.

Trouble is that the same camera also uses 2 CR123A Lithium batteries (for built in flash) and one CR2025 Lithium button battery (for date & time etc.). It can be a pain sometimes.
 

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Agree that macro ability is VERY high on my list of preferences - but I still suggest that that ability is secondary to being able to line up and frame the picture in the first place! At present, I have tilt/swivel screen as priority No 1, followed by macro ability No 2, followed by everything else in an order of priority that seems to change every time I check my grid of wants and desires!

Jimster
QUOTE No point in buying an 8MP prosumer camera if you just want to take pics for the web.
I couldn't agree more!
I came to this conclusion some years ago, when I used to do a fair bit of scanning, before I got a digi-cam. I found the novelty soon wore off, spending literally days and even weeks with Photo Shop, and a million A4 prints, wasting VAST amounts of horrendously expensive ink making a mess of prints. Eventually, I concluded that printing was an almost complete waste of time and effort compared with screen viewing. I haven''t printed any pictures, other than thumbnail ID type, for several years!

Yes, apart from the very occasional desire to carry out terrific crops, I really don't want or need any more than 3MPixels, I'm absolutely convinced of that. BUT, if you buy a new camera, it's almost inevitable that it will be more than 3MP, these days. In fact, I am scouring around looking for slightly older, but new, models with a very significant cost saving. eg Sony F717 rather than the later F828 that many people SAY they dislike compared with its predecessor. (Many of the nay-sayers don't seem to have actually USED the new 828 cam though and base their opinions on reviews, so I take with a pinch of salt!)
 

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The F717 is a fantastic camera. Tack-sharp lens and excellent macro capabilities. Can be a bit noisy at higher ISO, but neatimage or noise ninja can sort that out. Colours can seem a bit more subdued compared to some makes too, but it's a matter of taste.
 

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Here are my latest thoughts, more or less in the order that they overcame me!

Having first ruthlessly ignored non-tilting LCDs, which removed Fuji's and Panasonic's otherwise good cameras, I got my short list down to the following:

Canon Pro-1. Possibly the best LCD (2"), good all-rounder.
Sony F828. 1.8" LCD tilts but no swivel, good all-rounder in spite of pernickety reviews.
Sony F727. 1.8" LCD tilts but no swivel, good all round, much cheaper than 828 but high cost of Sony Memory Stick tends to cancel this out.
Canon S1 IS. 1.5" LCD VERY small AND hard to see in sunlight but Image Stabilized, great zoom and bonus of excellent video mode. HALF the price of the others too!

I was about to disqualify the otherwise great little Image Stabilized S1 IS on account of its puny sized and low quality LCD. Then two significant factors emerged from my busy mind.

One, that Canon software can enable a video-out mode during record mode. If I have this right, it is immensely significant in that a crappy cam LCD becomes much less important and the S1 IS could go straight back on the list!

Then I thought, IF this is so, maybe I can put the Panasonic Lumix FZ20 (2" LCD) back on the list because, on paper, it is more competent and better value than any other camera here. But I suspect this camera cannot video-out during record, so am frustrated to hell again, as this would otherwise be top of my class! If I thought Panasonic would introduce tilt & swivel I MIGHT even postpone purchase.

The other very significant factor was the PRICE of spare proprietary batteries, most especially Sony - utterly extortionate!!!!
At one point, the little Canon S1 IS was the ONLY camera on my list, because it was the only one with swivelling LCD AND that used cheap AA batteries.
However, I discovered compatible batteries available at less than one third Sony prices, so the earlier list was swiftly re-instated.

I'd gratefully appreciate comments, for better AND for worse on the cameras listed above, most especially from, but not limited to hands-on users - sometimes a more objective view or an unthought of point can emerge from un-biased non-combatants!

My common sense is telling me that that, if it is true that Canon's S1 IS can video-out while recording, then it SHOULD be top of my list. But there is this creepy, insidious (and snobbish!) doubt whether it can possibly be good enough, when it is half the price of the others! What am I not seeing here, or is it simply that the others are all grossly over-priced?
BIG DILEMMA!

LATER
After a long phone chat with Nuro, I feel logically compelled to add the great value Canon A95 to the list (and apologise to Jimster for taking no notice until now!)
Damn you, both, for making it even more difficult!

(But you ARE right and thank you!)


LATER STILL
A95 looks EXCELLENT value but . . .
has no diopter adjustment on optical view finder - close to essential for specs wearers, who need to take them off to get the eyes close enough to use it. Shame,as I can't see a way round this important problem.
 

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UPDATE
I finally found a few of these cameras in shops where I could actually check a few things out.

Re Canon A95
Having made the important point that this model has no diopter adjustment on the optical view finder (correct) and concluding that it was no good for specs wearers . . . on actually using the view finder without specs, I discovered that I could see perfectly clearly through it! It appears that the view finder native optics have been carefully designed in favour of shortsighted people, presumably on the basis that short sight is so common. Worth knowing, so I pass it on!

I also discovered a Sony F717, on the shelf, at the same price as the lowest quoted price seen on the net - £440 and the shop willing to haggle a little even on that! A few real world points emerged from the hands-on experience here.
1. I always thought it was metal bodied. It isn't, it's plastic - slightly disappointing.
2. The tiny body is a little uncomfortable in the right hand - it just didn't feel 'natural'.
3. A demo showed that a TV CAN be used as a large scale viewing monitor on this model - VERY handy indeed.
4. The battery is charged IN the camera. Although at first thought convenient, this means that you cannot charge a flat battery while continuing to use the camera with a fresh one - a definite negative.
5. Still a very good camera though, with superb macro!

I also read some very favourable reviews of the Panasonic Lumix FZ series - those with a x 12 zoom Leica lens and Stabilised Imaging. Problem here is I can't find a dealer less than 150 miles away who actually stocks these and am wary of net purchase without hands on. Frustrating, as they seem to be truly excellent cameras at a very competititive price.

My short list isn't one bit shorter than it was two weeks ago!
But at least the wallet isn't any lighter . . . yet!
 

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Wish I could help you Tropi, but the model numbers are different here in the States.

I still prefer film cameras. Shooting slide film and scanning slides into my Nikon 4000 ED film scanner takes much longer but the quality of the images is superb and there are a ton of accessories such as extension tubes, shift lenses etc... that let me do macro work and have some meausure of ability to correct perspective "distortions".

The images I posted so far have been shot with a small Canon S400, smaller than a pack of smokes. That camera offers no focus control, limited macro abilities, limited zoom control and really isn't much good for anything except maybe taking snaps at the beach.

Best regards,
Steve
 

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I hope I can be helpful but being non autofocused, non digital. I thought that for models of slotcars, except maybe for racing you would be in control of your environment most of the time.
With my eyesight the way it is varifocal glasses. Even having an LCD screen would not be a total solution. On my T90 and F1 I have the old fashion technology of swivel right angle finders and speedfinders. If I am photographying a static model indoors I use a tripod to get down to waist level. The obvious accessory would be a waist level finder as this generally magnifies the image.
Incidentially, I have found, that because LCD are not close up to the photographer. Many times when I am out photographing cars (i.e. Goodwood Festival of Speed) digital photographers walk straight in front of you concentrating on their screen (i.e. like a mobile phone user) without any regard for the photographers behind them taking pictures. Also they seem to take up more space just to use the LCD. As for slide film thats fine it's the prints off them that are getting more expensive. Due to Digital coming in prints from a slide 6x4 have gone up from 60p to £ 1.50 each. Or my camera shop does a deal 4 for £4. Films not dead yet. But will prints from slides go the same way as Black & white printing? I have seen superb defination digital photos posted on the web. But as they say if aint broke don't fix it. So I'II stick with film for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
A genuinely interesting 'perspective' from film users.


I decided about 4 years ago that, as 25% (at MOST!) of my film prints were actually worth preserving, and that a huge amount of shots were blown off simply to get the film finished to look at the odd ones I thought I wanted, I was wasting a lot of money on processing and printing vast amounts of garbage! That's when I went digital and I sold my EOS 50e a year later when I belatedly realised that I would almost certainly never use it again. I love the immediacy of digital and the ability to retake and experiment until it's as 'right; as I am ever going to get it.

I also discover that I haven't used my own printer for three years!
Having seen just how good an A3 print can be using a decent ink jet and good photo quality paper from a decent digital camera source, I also know that I will never go back to film or producing my own prints again. It just isn't economical for me. I honestly think that film of all types will eventually disappear except perhaps as a very expensive niche market for real enthusiasts - sorry!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nearly another week gone by and the old wallet is still only lighter to the tune of several over priced magazines, some petrol and a few parking fees.


So who can tell me what they think of a fairly high end camcorder with decent still picture capabilities instead of a digicam? Until recently, their still pic capability was a little lacking, but they are improving all the time. I am thinking on the lines of a Panasonic GS 400 with a nice big 3.5 inch LCD and still pic capability of 4 megapixels. Or maybe a Sony or Canon equivalent
Sounds good to me.
So talk me out of tripling my budget, someone, please!
 

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DT
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I say this - pictures and movies are completely different. Until recently I'd almost given up on video as I appreciated the fine quality of my photos. My new Sony desktop computer has analogue video inputs though and I've been able to digitize all my old home videos. What I'm saying is this: you don't need the latest high end video camera - a decent 8 year old camera - like I have - that was high end for a time is great with a good lens and good controls. It basically works the same as any good DV of today.

Go for a good camera that can take good close-ups and get yourself a video card for your computer to use with your old Sony TRV.

Update: If you want a kick-ass video cam, get this: Sony HVR-Z1U HDV Camcorder

(Info just released)
 

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One other point I have about digital camera display screens. I have not seen one yet that is worth a hoot out side in bright sunshine. Which might not be a problem in the UK


The Sony Mavica I have also has a digital single eyepiece viewscreen that only comes on when you put your eye up to it and it can be adjusted to your eyes focus factor. It works like most 35mm through the lens camera for viewing. Also if shooting photos with that option you can turn off the large digital view screen to save battery power.

The batteries used with this one are the lithium ion ones. One is now three years old and is still going and has never run out on me in a shooting situation. They can be charged in the camera or on a separate charger. I keep a spare charged and switch them weekly in case one does go belly up some day. I have taken many thousand shots in these 3 years with no battery failures yet. Knocking on wood.

" Ouch that hurts my head"
 
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