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Old 20 December 2006, 11:01 PM   #1
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Photography the cheap way

For a long time I was convinced that I “needed” a big dollar set-up to take pictures that were even remotely close to those I’ve seen on this site and others. Although I’m looking at getting a DSLR at some point, I have to convince the wife that we really need one (not successful so far) and of course the camera money could be used for another watch……

So for now I have my trusty (but getting old) Sony Cybershot DSC-P93. It’s a 5 MP camera that I bought in the summer of 2004 to take on our last trip to Australia. It takes stills and video, although the video leaves a bit to be desired in terms of quality.



So, I use this camera with its 3X optical zoom for all kinds of “snapshot” pictures. Of course, looking at the great photos that others take on this site, I felt the need to be able to take “macro” shots and “telephoto” shots. But, I do not have lenses for this camera (and yes you can buy a telephoto and wide angle lens for this thing - really!) so I was left to improvise. So, for the telephoto function, I use my Bushnell spotting scope that I use for seeing my arrows in the target while shooting long distances (up to 90 meters).



The scope is in front of me as I’m shooting here (screen shot from a video actually).

It has a zoom feature on the eyepiece, and I can get 45X zoom at the max setting. The lens is 60mm so it let’s in an okay amount of light (I’ve compared it to some Lieca scopes that cost thousands and they are much better but this works well enough for my purposes while shooting). It’s not ideal by any means, but I can actually get some decent shots with it.

This is a picture of the moon taken through the scope back in the September full moon. This was a challenge because of the low light and the need to keep the camera steady during a longish exposure……..considering how I took it, it turned out pretty well I think.



This is a video my wife took while I shot an arrow from 90 meters one day this summer. Just zoom through the scope and shoot the photo/video! It works!

http://media.putfile.com/Hitting-the-X

Then of course for watch photos I need to make macro shots. I first tried shooting regular full frame in macro mode, and then cropping the pictures. It works, but sometimes does not give the best results. I had this old magnifier that I used to use at work for viewing engineering drawings on micro-fiche cards without having a proper card viewer. I used to sit in a remote office from the main engineering department and I could view the drawings on the cards by holding them up to the light and looking at them with this magnifier:



One day I thought of trying this in front of the camera lens, and it worked! It has 2 lenses, one 4X and one 5X, so I can use either or put them together and get 9X magnification.











The looking at various web sites with watch pictures, I thought I needed a light box of some sort. After trying a few things, I decided to buy a translucent garbage bin, and this works great! I eventually added some cheap lights, and this set-up works quite well. These are taken inside that garbage bin:







So, although I’m sure I could do better with a better camera, I have managed to get some good results by improvising and through a lot of experimenting. No where near the quality of some of the pros on here like Chip and Adrian, but with some practice, and a lot of patience (sometimes I’m short on the patience though….) I've done okay. So if anyone else out there feels that they need the fancy equipment to take decent pictures, I would encourage you to dive in and try some things with what you have on hand, and see what happens.
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Old 20 December 2006, 11:38 PM   #2
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I've always said, it's never the equipment but the shooter who takes a good shot. Some of my better shots were taken with an old K-1000. LOL
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Old 20 December 2006, 11:45 PM   #3
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Nice shots for a rank amateur, Al.
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Old 21 December 2006, 12:52 AM   #4
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Nice post Al, it just shows what can be done with a budget digital camera. I have a Pentax Optio which has given me some great results. The digital SLR's I use for pictures that I think could be enlarged to A3 for exhibition or where there's a need to get closer to the subject.
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Old 21 December 2006, 12:55 AM   #5
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Great shots, bro I could look at the Blancpain all day
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Old 21 December 2006, 01:00 AM   #6
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I could look at the Blancpain all day
Don't you have a job to go to?
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Old 21 December 2006, 01:02 AM   #7
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Don't you have a job to go to?
I'm out injured AGAIN!! I don't go back until tomorrow or Friday
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Old 21 December 2006, 01:04 AM   #8
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I'm out injured AGAIN!! I don't go back until tomorrow or Friday
OK, OK, you can look at it all day.
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Old 21 December 2006, 01:17 AM   #9
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OK, OK, you can look at it all day.
Thanks, Adrian You're O.K.
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Old 21 December 2006, 01:25 AM   #10
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Thanks, Adrian You're O.K.
PS

Get well soon. (Bloody layabout)
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Old 21 December 2006, 03:00 AM   #11
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What happened Craig. Get some jelly doughnut on your gear?
Great shots Al
In what little spare time I have, I have been playing a bit with my cheap cameras. Some shots are not too bad. No time to post them though.
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Old 21 December 2006, 03:03 AM   #12
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Don't you have a job to go to?
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.J. View Post
I'm out injured AGAIN!! I don't go back until tomorrow or Friday
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle-AJ View Post
OK, OK, you can look at it all day.
Quote:
Originally Posted by C.J. View Post
Thanks, Adrian You're O.K.
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Originally Posted by Uncle-AJ View Post
PS

Get well soon. (Bloody layabout)

Now that's what I call a CUTE hijack!!
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Old 21 December 2006, 03:38 AM   #13
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Great pictures Al and agree you don't have to spend mega bucks on mega-pixels to get good results.Good lighting of your subject when taking close ups is very important,and the use of a tripod if possible.Now for longer
shot then a high quality lens will give you high quality results.But my Sony K800i mobile phone has produced some remarkable close up results of my C/RoseTarantula.



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