looking for camera, Canon PowerShot A1100 IS any good?

This discussion group is is hosted by Robert Oehler and dedicated to the art of photographing models. Subjects include tips & techniques, equipment, lighting, and digital photography.

looking for camera, Canon PowerShot A1100 IS any good?

Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:21 am

March 26th, 2010, 4:59 am #1

Hey guys
I have little experience with purchasing and owning a camera, and I have decided that I would like to purchase a digital cam. What I need is something that will work for everyday situations but still produce quality model images yet isn't terribly expensive as I am on a budget. I'm looking at the Canon Powershot A1100 IS and it seems like it would fit but I'm no expert. Any recommendations?
Thanks
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Joined: August 23rd, 2004, 4:20 pm

March 27th, 2010, 6:15 pm #2

Both film and digital?

The Canon A1110 IS is a point and shoot camera best suited for taking pictures of people on vacation, at birthday parties and of vast project sites in American Samoa (I am a Civil Engineer by trade).

The A1110 can be used tro take photos of models, but is limited by it's lack of control of the aperture. When taking photos of models, I tend to be very close to the model. On a point and shoot camera (hereafter shortened to PS), this makes for a vert narrow depth of field. In other words, if your are taking a photo of a Tiger tank in 1/35th in a 3/4 front view and the turret numbers are in focus, the tip of the barrel will not be and the rear corner will not be.

here is a photo of a 1/48th scale Kurogane shot with my PS Sony W-30:


and again at a distance:



and cropped to look the same as the above:



If you don't have that much camera experience (film or digital) the A1110 is an OK place to start. Just remember, if you want a photo of the entire model to be in sharp focus, pull back from the subject, use a tripod and use the timer if possible. For detail shots, this camera has a 3cm minimum macro focus distance, so don't get closer than 3cm (1 1/2").

As you gain experience with the camera, I hope you consider the more manually controlled cameras.

I hope this helps,
Aloha,
Val

Pago Pago,American Samoa, February 2010


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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:21 am

March 28th, 2010, 2:36 am #3

Thanks for the response. My photography experience is limited to the cheap 35mm point and shoots everyone has used at one time or another, and some limited digital work (I can take a picture but have no clue about all the settings). As for the budget, well I'm not going to spend over $300 on anything. I'd prefer to keep it under $150-$200 but I realize that the less expensive cameras are not going to perform like the DSLRs.
What attracted me to the 1100 is the price (under $150) and the 4x zoom and 12 mp. Though I seem to recall that for most photography 8 mp would be sufficient. If I a reading you correctly, the 1100 would be a decent enough starter camera but would have its shortcomings. In reading reviews of the 1100 I've come across something that concerns me and that is the battery life. Seems half the reviews out there say it eats batteries (some claim they die after 15 pictures) but others swear it can be overcome by leaving the display turned off and using the viewfinder or switching to rechargables.
I do some more looking around, the price sounds too good to pass up but in the long run it may be better to spend a little more on something else.
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Joined: August 23rd, 2004, 4:20 pm

March 29th, 2010, 5:58 am #4

A PS with 12MP is a good place to start. If you use the right techniques and are not afraid to do a little post processing, a PS can take decent photos of models and still catch Auntie Kamakawiwoole's 90th birthday.

If you are worried about battery life, buy two batteries. I have four batteries for my Sony cameras. Both cameras, A DSC W-30 and DSC H-50 share the same battery. I am often away from my chargers or a source of power while on site, so I need to carry several fully charged batteries. I agree with the others about turning off the LCD to extend battery life. But when photographing models, two batteries should be enough. If the battery is lithium ion, you shouldn't have a probelem. My H-50 eats batteries like I drink water. But even with the LCD on,I can easily shoot 100 photos in half an hour.

Since it is digital, learning and experimenting is cheap, no prints to pay for. I decided not to go the DSLR route due to cost and weight. I like to travel and a heavy DSLR kit with the body, lenses, batteries and so on would have weighed me down.

My Sony H-50 cost more (current cost is $600, but I bught mine for $450 a few years ago) but it has everything I require from a model camera. It has a tilting LCD so that I can position the camera at any angle (from high to low) and still see the LCD and the camera settings, remote control (necessary for crystal clear photos), good macro range (for photographing 1/700 dioramas) and manual controls so that I can control shutter speed, aperture, and focus. Here's a photo of the entire kit after I bought extension tube, filters, extra batteries, memory cards, camera bag and other little things.



I Love this camera. I can get as close as 0cm to the model (yes, the model can touch the lens), I can have the camera on a tripod over the model, tilt the LCD and still see all the settings without having to stand on a ladder, at 9MP, I get nice clear photos, with the remote I get really clear photos and with four sets of the same battery, I never worry about juice.

Here are some photos with the H-50 (yes there is an infrared shot in there)















Back in 2001, I bought my first Digital Camera, an Olympus C2100UZ. As I learned how to manipulate the camera's settings and such, I wrote several articles about digital cameras and model Photography. If you wish, I can send you PDF's of these files for you to use. Several of the photos used in my other post used photos from these articles.

I hope this helps.
Val



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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:21 am

May 1st, 2010, 4:35 am #5

Got it yesterday. Hope to have some time this weekend to play around with it. Thanks for taking the time to respond.
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Joined: August 23rd, 2004, 4:20 pm

May 3rd, 2010, 6:42 am #6

I was wondering which camera you went for. Post photos when you can.

Aloha,
Val

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