Seeking recommendations for "entry level" decent camera for rocketry

Discussion in 'Photo/Video Tips' started by Marc_G, Aug 30, 2012.

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  1. Sep 3, 2012 #31

    SSenesy

    SSenesy

    SSenesy

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    Sully;

    I don't have any experience with the camera, so I can't say whether it'd be good or bad.

    From the review you've linked - the camera can shoot 10 shots at 10.5 fps until the buffer fills. It doesn't say how long it takes the buffer to write out to storage. If you can time things exactly, you'll likely get some good shots in that 1 second, but if you miss timing the liftoff exactly, you're going to likely miss everything. Also, the LCD is blacked out while shooting in burst mode, so you'll probably need to aim using a tripod.

    Again, this is just from the review. No personal experience on my part.
     
  2. Sep 3, 2012 #32

    Marc_G

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    T4i is outside the price range. Actually, all the cameras I'm looking at are outside the price range. But the T4i is too far out to stretch to.

    The durability of the value of the investment is something that has occurred to me as well. Either of the DSLR cameras would hold up well on my scale (lenses, certainly). The V1 less so, probably.

    But I've got to say, the V1 has me excited in a way that neither of the other two do. My big concern is focusing, frame rate and usability overall. Any of these cameras will be a dramatic step up from what I've got now. But here's some snippets from the V1 review at cameralabs:

    This approach inevitably leads to a camera with two different autofocusing personalities. Under bright conditions the Nikon 1 cameras are very impressive, with their AF frames turning green almost the instant you half-press the shutter release. Indeed at times there's virtually no visible focusing -Â the subject just eerily becomes sharp almost immediately. Even when it has to move from one end of the scale to the other, it's a very swift and confident process. This is particularly impressive when you're also talking about using the bog-standard kit lenses, and not exotic luxury models.
    ...
    With the Nikon 1 cameras you'll never interrupt the video while capturing stills, but you will need to be in the right mode to maximise their resolution. With the camera set to 1080p or 720p, the still photos will measure 1920x1080 or 1280x720 pixels, essentially doing nothing more special than frame-grabbing from the video. But set the video to 1080i and you can uniquely capture up to 20 stills at 9 Megapixels (or 15 with the J1); these are effectively the maximum 10 Megapixel resolution, but cropped to a 16:9 shape. There's more details in the movie mode section below, but just briefly, the ability to capture high resolution stills and HD video simultaneously without interrupting the latter is a unique capability of the Nikon 1 system and one of the major highlights.
    ...

    Continuous shooting is another highlight of the Nikon 1 system with both the V1 and J1 boasting 10fps with autofocus, or a massive 30 or 60fps with the focus locked at the first frame. These speeds employ an electronic shutter which sets the ISO automatically and offers shutter speeds up to 1/16000. The V1 and J1 additionally offer slower 5fps options where you can set the ISO; at 5fps, the V1 also gives you the choice of using a mechanical or electronic shutter, whereas the J1 is limited to an electronic shutter only.

    So, if I'm launching Der Red Max on an E15W, I'd hit the 60 fps! Routine BP launches, probably 10 fps with autofocus tracking as the bird lifts away, then hit the video record on the descent while snapping up to 20 stills of the thing under the chute, with the 1080i video as sort of a backup story.

    I'll sleep on this and await further input from more knowledgeable folks, but it looks like this camera is optimized for bright light motion photography/videography, which is my exact application. It's freaky that the V1 doesn't have a built-in flash (!! but the cheaper J1 does), but my application for this camera is outside. We have regular P&S cameras for flash use inside.

    I'm still digesting the cameralabs review and another one (less complimentary due to the uniqueness of the feature set), but there are good deals on a 2-lens set (10-30 plus 30-110 telephoto) kit. For a novice like me, who's not really interested in learning the ins and outs of photography beyond what I need to get decent shots, this might (just might!) be the thing.

    Let me sleep on it... I'm sure my mind will change overnight.

    Marc
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2012
  3. Sep 3, 2012 #33

    Marc_G

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    Not much changed in my mind overnight. I'm torn between the frame rate and well thought out movie/still combos of the V1 versus the more standard DSLR approach, though I'm leaning D5100 versus T3i if I go DSLR.

    I'm going to go over to the Ken Rockwell site and read up some there.

    One thing that is weighing on me is this: What is my photographic path, going forward? The reality is, I'm not interested in photography very much. I've kind of flirted with it in the past, but it doesn't enthuse me. The idea of being able to create cool pics of the rockets in flight / recovery gets me excited (enough to spend $700), but that's a rocketry thing, not a photography thing. Does that make sense? So, I don't really plan to get all into the photography thing. I see lots of folks here who are planning their next lenses, have a bunch of camera bodies, and generally are "into it." I kinda just want a camera good enough to give me neat shots, and that's sort of it.

    That's not to say I'm unwilling or unable to invest time in a DSLR to get good results for what I want to do. I'm technical and like a challenge. Sure, it would work fine for me. But it's not a passion.

    Oh well. Off to the Ken Rockwell site...
     
  4. Sep 3, 2012 #34

    Marc_G

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    I didn't get much from the Rockwell site. Meh. He liked both of the DSLR cameras I'm looking at.
     
  5. Sep 3, 2012 #35

    Sully

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    Thanks, it's good to have some knowledgeable eyes looking over the reviews. I had missed the LCD-blackout info. That may be a deal-breaker. If I am trying to get liftoff pics and follow the rocket up during burst shooting, I really would need to see what the camera's getting. I still like the optical zoom on this PnS model, though...
     
  6. Sep 3, 2012 #36

    Marc_G

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    So guys,

    I'm approaching the decision point on this. In addition to the Cameralabs reviews, I read this review on the V1. And several others. As I interpret these reviews, the concensus is the camera is unexpectedly good at exactly the kinds of "action shooting / quick focus needs / good video when I want it" that I'm looking for. It's clearly not as versatile as the D5100, and if my needs were more broad based I would go with the D5100 in a heartbeat.

    The Nikon 1 line is continuing with the recently announced J2 and a new lens, the interchangeable lens platform seems to have some future in it, for now at least.

    Here is what seems to be the best deal for the 2-lens kit (standard plus telephoto lens kit): V1 at Walmart

    A similar deal can be had here at B&H Photo.

    At B&H there is a used one available for ~$120 less, but I'm just not comfortable going used on stuff like this if I can't inspect / play with it first.

    The walmart one comes with a free 16GB memory card, though it's class 4 only, so I wouldn't use it with the camera, which really demands an ultrafast card.

    I know there is a bias here towards DSLRs, with good reason in general, but does the research I've done and the rational for my choice seem to hold water?

    Thanks all for your continuing support.

    Marc
     
  7. Sep 4, 2012 #37

    Marc_G

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    OK, I just bought the V1! I know it's a non-standard choice, somewhat risky, but worst case I'll sell it and get a DSLR.

    FWIW, I wound up buying it off of Amazon.com, as they had the same 2-lens deal, plus no tax (saves ~$50!) and free shipping (I'm doing a trial of Amazon Prime). Also got a 95MB/s UHS-1 16GB card for it.

    It should be here Thursday. Wish me luck and clear skies to test it this weekend!

    Marc
     
  8. Sep 4, 2012 #38

    SSenesy

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    Good luck Marc!

    Looking forward to seeing some pictures :cool:

    Your thread has got me motivated to buy another lens for mine. I started a thread for opinions, but only one response so far.
     
  9. Sep 4, 2012 #39

    Marc_G

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    Thanks. Will do. Where is your thread re: new lens opinions?
     
  10. Sep 4, 2012 #40

    SSenesy

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    "What's in Your Lens Kit?". Same forum as this.
     
  11. Sep 4, 2012 #41

    jadebox

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    The number of pixels has little relation to the quality of the images. Cameras with more pixels often produce images with more noise because each pixel is smaller. Larger sensors and faster, better quality lenses are more important.

    -- Roger
     
  12. Sep 5, 2012 #42

    Marc_G

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    One more note to cap off this thread.

    I want to thank all who participated in this and the poll over in Watering Hole for some very useful input. :handshake:

    Being a non-photographer, and not even a particularly enthusiastic beginner, just a guy who wants to take some pictures, the discussion of the relative merits of not just cameras but features and components was invaluable. :cheers:

    The language used was as useful as what was actually being said. For example, when looking into Canon vs. Nikon, the comment in regards to DSLRs came up to the effect of: "you're not so much buying a camera as buying into a lens system." This is certainly true, but it gave me the shivers. I don't want to buy into a lens system. I just want to buy something that will give me a good likelihood of getting some good shots, thank you drive through... I probably won't ever buy another lens for whatever camera I buy. This kind of thing was one factor in my decision to buy a more basic consumer camera, albeit one with excellent autofocus and fast frame rates.

    I'm sure I could have gotten fine and almost certainly superior results from a DLSR, and I doubt it would be hard to learn what I would have needed to know, but from the various reviews I was amused that one review railed against the V1 for not having a PASM dial (these are in the menus instead). I wondered, what's a PASM dial? Eventually I figured it out, but I've rarely used that on any of the three cameras I've owned in recent memory. This may explain my blurry shots in my threads :wink:

    So to others out there considering getting some sort of camera, definitely read lots of different reviews... it will be pretty easy to see which cameras are aimed at "you" (whoever you are) versus something too basic or more involved.

    Once I get the thing (probably tomorrow, as it shipped locally), I will start to document the likely comical adventures of me trying to learn how to use the thing. That will go into a new thread here in the tips section. I invite all to participate in what will hopefully be educational for me and the readers, though perhaps hair-pulling for the photo buffs who participate. Due to a busy work week, the adventure is slated not to begin until the weekend, but then look out!

    :duck:

    Marc
    It's clear that I've got lots to learn, and who knows... I may wind up with a DSLR anyway.

    Now, I've been known to change my
     
  13. Sep 5, 2012 #43

    mkadams001

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    I think that you made a good choice. I have the J1 which my wife uses every day. I think that you will be happy with that choice.
     
  14. Sep 5, 2012 #44

    Marc_G

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    Thanks!

    The only thing that freaks me out is no built-in flash on the V1 (for indoor use), whereas the J1 has a flash. But again, I have other cameras for indoor flash use...
     

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