Recommendations for Digital Camera for rocket photography use

Office mates have tracked down a couple good deals on 3.2 megapixel digital
cameras with bigger than normal optical zoom, and I'm looking at buying one
this weekend. I'm looking for feedback on either camera, particularly how
they are for rocket use, (NOT for sticking inside the rocket like the
Pencam) as in the ability to snap a picture instantly when the button is
pushed, without the typical digital time lag.
Olympus C-720 3.2 MP, 8:1 optical zoom
Fuji Finepix 3800 3.2 MP, 6:1 optical zoom
I've found both on sale at various places for under $300, which seems to be
what the cameras with only 3:1 optical zoom are going for elsewhere.
Or if you've got something else you'd recommend in this feature and price
range, let me know. Soon!
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD"
>>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
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Good job on narrowing it down to Oly and Fuji. Those are the two brands I like for consumer digitals.
Of your two choices, I'd take the Fuji 3800 over the Olympus 720. (But you should be aware, neither of those cams are current models.) The 720 had real problems with chromatic aberrations (purple fringing) here's a review:
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3800 will give you nicer photos than the 720 but has a smaller zoom and continuous mode is only 2 shots at 1fps (continuous is great for lift off shots).
You should really be looking at the Olympus C-740 with the new ED lens that cuts down on the CA that i mentioned above, and the Fuji S5000 (just released) They're both current models with 10x zoom (optical)
This spring I was deciding to go with the Oly C-740, Fuji 3800 or 602. I chose the C-740 and I'm quite happy with it. I plan on keeping it until I buy a Canon DSLR (probably the 10D).
Below are some samples from my Olympus C-740
here's an example of continuous mode:
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I'm the one setting the timer:
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closeup (blown Hypertech):
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evening shot:
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night shots:
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I think I could have gotten some better night shots out of it if I manually set the camera, but these were all "auto".
Hope ya find one that suits your needs!
-Dan
Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry
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Reply to
Dan Chandler
snip
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All the digitals have different lag times, pick the camera you like and really learn it.
Become one with the camera
Dan Chandler Southern New England Association of Rocketry
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Reply to
Dan Chandler
I'm aware of this. I suspect they are this cheap because they are being cleared out in favor of the newer models. I've got some good deals from OfficeMax (the place with the 720) on closeouts on my PDA and Camcorder. I can get the 740 over the itnernet for about $370 instead of $300 for the 720.
The big OPTICAL zoom ratio (and the price) is really the feature that drew me to these two choices.
I also note that the newer 740 uses a different memory card format than the 720. As I'm not really tied to any digifilm yet, is there any advantage of one vs another? Other than Sony being more expensive (wouldn't buy Sony anyway, but that's another story).
Thanks for the feedback. I'll check out your web stff later, as I'm off to go see Homer Hickam again.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
I went for the Fuji S602. LOVE IT. Great continous shooting, Plus a nice video mode if you forget to chage the video cam (happns more than you would think)
I've only shot 2 or 3 launches with it, but I learned hot to use it ay NYPOWER.
Heres some of my pics:
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(day 1 + 2)
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(day 3)
Im running a 256 CF, Transonic 32x, I like CF alot, I'd go for that if I were you.
- Theo McD.
Reply to
Theo McD.
Many Digital Cameras can "rack the focus" by pressing half way down on the shutter release. This allows the camera to sample the shot before the action, and then pressing down all the way will snap the shot.
Also look to see if the camera has burst shooting. This allows you to take multiple shots in a row automatically (like an autowinder on a SLR camera). Some cameras change the shot rate based on the resolution you set the camera on.
With that said, I find digital cameras to be VERY sensitive to motion. You'll need to practice your rifle finger (slow steady) and avoid a shotgun finger (slapping the trigger).
Mark ASTRE WebGeek
>Office mates have tracked down a couple good deals on 3.2 megapixel digital >cameras with bigger than normal optical zoom, and I'm looking at buying one >this weekend. I'm looking for feedback on either camera, particularly how >they are for rocket use, (NOT for sticking inside the rocket like the >Pencam) as in the ability to snap a picture instantly when the button is >pushed, without the typical digital time lag. > > Olympus C-720 3.2 MP, 8:1 optical zoom > > Fuji Finepix 3800 3.2 MP, 6:1 optical zoom > >I've found both on sale at various places for under $300, which seems to be >what the cameras with only 3:1 optical zoom are going for elsewhere. > >Or if you've got something else you'd recommend in this feature and price >range, let me know. Soon! > > > Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" > >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD! > Save Model Rocketry from the HSA!
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Reply to
Mark Hutchinson
One feature you must have BOB: Rapid sequence shooting. I found a $299 kodak to have a 4 rapid shoot feature, and get a lift off and boost shot every time.
Ary
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Reply to
Art Upton
Chris Taylor's digital launch shots are some of the best I've seen barring high end digital SLR's. You might not agree with him on his Grrr, but you have to admit he's got it going with digital launch photos. I don't remember what model his camera is. Chris?
tim
Reply to
Tim
I fully agree.
Reply to
Jerry Irvine
They were good...very good?
What cam did he use???
Ted Novak TRA#5512
Reply to
the notorious t-e-d
I finally Googled up his camera. Nikon Coolpix 5000.
tim
Reply to
Tim
They're about 500+ bones with a 128mg card on ebay new. I'm sure that's a good deal but way out of my current budget.
Ted 'still waiting for a killer deal' Novak TRA#5512
Reply to
the notorious t-e-d
I bought an Olympus D560 a while back. it was under $300 and was rated at 3.2 mp I'm happy with it.
Reply to
Reece Talley
Two good camera review sites;
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I have been very happy with my two Olympus cameras, C3000 and E20.
Kevin Patterson
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Reply to
TOOLS R US
For General Shooting any 3mp is fine. BUT for rocket LIFT OFF shots only one "digital" camera is truly good and that is the Canon EOS 1ds (About 6 thousands dollars for that 11mp job)
The following advise assume you want to make PRINTS otherwise any res will do as long as it meets the rest of the criteria.
First you need a minimum of 5mp and THIS assumes 2 things. 1 you have a very nice zoom lens or 2 you have a relazed RSO and can sneak much closer to the pads (not dangerously so off course) and this #2 assumes you have a DAMNED fast finger.
Ok now what things are an absolute must no matter the resolution. (this assumes you desire consistant reliable shots IE I have a roughly 98-99% success ratio in "getting" the shot)
First you MUST have an OPTICAL viewfinder. the LCD has a lag time and is not enough resolution to use effectively.
Second you need an instant shutter release.
this does not mean push button shot taken. I use a Nikon Coolpix 5000 and "that" figure can be anywhere from 1.5 seconds to 6-7 seconds or MORE.
what is important is the Preprep of camera and I am not locked in and ready to go (half press of shutter)
Once I get the green light and I am half pressed and lined up when I then fully press the button the delay is not measurable (on steve's digicams equipment) ie its effectively "bang right now"
ANYTHING short of this will cause you headaches.
If you are more than 30 feet away it is nice if your camera can "lock into" infinity so that clounds do not skits the AF and cause you to GET a shot but its useless because it blurry.
Beyond the above its practice practice practice.
WHen you can catch a mosquito from 15 feet away your GOOD (I am 50/50 success on that one so I am still working on it)
seriously though you need to get good at knowing WHEN to hit the button. you have to be able to judge it based on motor and rocket and mass and drag and your distance to the pad. I get goosed a lot by E30's damn those things are hard to judge. so damned faster. even in larger models they just get up and go (naramlive site the white rocket from uderneath where I JUST clipped the top of the nose cone. I believe that was an E30)
HPR is both the easiest and most useless at the same time.
easy cause you are far away (easy to nab) but also because you are far away even with zoom only a small percentage of teh captured frame is the "rocket" this is where resolution is king. period.
Bigger zoom helps but now it is not easy anymore now you have to get good again (fast eye/finger)
I personally like to catch rockets IN flight IE clear of the rod. this is much harder. catch ignition on the pad is a little easier sometimes.
if you want waht should be a good choice so far according to preliminary reviews. the canon rebel G digital. 6.3mp (adequate) and it is a REAL Digital SLR IE through the lens and you can swap real lens. this means you can get a nice long zoom for those HPR shots. $999 with lens NICE !! I am thinking is selling my Nikon and all the goodies I have for it later to buy this new canon if the final reviews are as good as I hope.
goto
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and look up the cameras you are looking into getting. read it all the way through (lots of good info) he will also measure the shutter lag. THIS is important.
if the shutter lag is below >.1 (he can not measure faster) and it has an optical viewfinder it is at least usable.
as to whether you can get "printable" images or usable images depends on the MP and on the zoom/how close can you get factors.
During the colorado Naram I got much closer than normal to the rocket. PLUS they were giant sport scale PLUS I had a fast finger. result the mother load of awesome pictures.
Giant Sport scale is your friend :-)
If you have any other specific questions just ask.
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
OH one more thing. Shutter Priority Mode is a definate plus.
I can put my camera in shutter priority and select 1/1000 or 1/2000 and let it figure out the rest.
ANYTHING slower than 1/1000 (MAYBE 1/850) is begging for blur. I sometimes get blur at 1/1000 !!
If you do not have shutter priority but you can lock the focus on infinit point the camera in the vicinity of the sun (NEVER AT IT) which will force it to max out its shutter speed (BUT cause it to deeply step down the aperature so if it is not a very bright day the images might come out dark)
Chris Taylor
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Kaplow)
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
Nikon Cool pix 5000
you can get one for around $600-$700
VERY worth it BUT if you can afford $300 mroe the Canon Rebel Digital looks to be VERY NICE (true slr) and 6.3mp)
Chris Taylor
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Reply to
Chris Taylor Jr
The only digital camera listed on his web site is a Casio QV-100.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
I'd love a Nikon, but to get the big zoom you gotta go to the 5700 thats around $800 :-( I *REALLY* want that 8x or 10x optical zoom!
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow
Again, not the high OPTICAL zoom I'm looking for. IMHO Digital Zoom is useless. You just throw away pixels. You can to the same thing without the zoom once you've taken the picture.
aQ z.
becomes
aaQQ aaQQ zz.. zz..
and you see all the pixels.
Bob Kaplow NAR # 18L TRA # "Impeach the TRA BoD" >>> To reply, remove the TRABoD!
Reply to
Bob Kaplow

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