Friday, November 22, 2013

And I thought Wargaming was expensive...

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Creating a setup to take reasonable photos and videos of games, miniatures and the rest of what comprises the hobby of miniature wargaming is not exactly cheap. You can get along with a point and shoot digital compact for a while at a distinctly amateur level, but to accomplish some projects you need to go that extra step and develop a skillset and equipment that allows you to grow. And that takes some serious cash just to get started.

The good thing is that photography is not just confined to miniatures for me as I have always wanted to dip my toes in the water. Until now, that was fiscally imprudent and unrealistic. Circumstances are now much improved; I've spent some time researching what I want to achieve and how; and as I approach my 50s I'm challenging myself intellectually and artistically again.

The Old and the New

The Old 

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Nikon Coolpix 4800 (2005)
I bought this back in 2005 and it has been an absolute trooper for me in that time. It's still going strong but it is showing its age now and is going into semi-retirement. 

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I've spent approximately three weeks researching which camera would best suit my needs, skillset and budget while still providing an ongoing base to improve my skills. In the end it came down to a choice of four cameras: Canon 100D; Nikon D320, Pentax K30 or the Sony DLT-A57.

I tried to avoid the religious debates over brands (somewhat successfully I think)  as well as my usual predilection  to go for the Ooh Shiny factor and ended up choosing the A57 because it ticked all the technical boxes I wanted at this stage and would hopefully last as long as the old Nikon above while still allowing me to learn and progress.

The New

Sony A57 + 18-55 photo

The actual package I bought included not only the standard 18-55mm kit lens but the larger 55-200mm zoom. These two lenses will pretty much give me a solid opportunity to learn how the camera works and familiarise myself with the core principles before trying more technical aspects. I will add a small prime 35mm  f 1.8 along with a dedicated 30mm  f 2.8 macro lens at some point , but only once I can justify the pruchases through my skills and requirements.


Digital Photography (Kelby) Understanding Exposure (Peterson)

As part of my research, I've purchased the above books so that I can gain an understanding of what photography is all about at my level. There is so much I have to learn but I'm effectively wiping all my preconceptions away and starting with a blank slate. This is going to be a real challenge and a steepish learning curve.

A57 Guide (Busch) A57 Guide (Friedman)

The technical how to guides are always a good idea - Reading The F%$#ing Manual is not an option to be ignored here - with at least $2K invested in Cameras, lenses, accessories and materials, I cannot afford to go Full Retard Bloke.

This is about as full on as it gets...very exciting indeed and I haven't even posted on the miniatures context for all this as yet.

It Begins...

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When the original blog started many years ago, I was working on starting up a commission painting business. It was an unrealistic goal as I lacked the motivation, dedication, wherewithal and to be blunt, high end skills to offer a service that would be attract a clientele willing to pay fair prices.

Instead I'm now looking at painting for myself in only a couple of genres and occasionally funding additional miniatures purchases through some spec work rather than commissions (basically the idea is to be wargaming neutral for my WW2 stuff).

So this blog will now be more about what I am doing in wargaming as a hobby rather than any attempt at a business.

The old Wordpress blog had a fair amount of miniatures articles and posts over the years, so I will be revisiting some of them, updating, adding better photos and bringing them up to date. Whereas previously I was doing everything on the cheap, scraping up basic materials etc now I have the core setup all accounted for and some discretionary time at my disposal.

What you will also see initially at least is my journey into the world of DSLR enthusiast photography as an absolute beginner. I've decided to bite the bullet and put away the 8 year old compact point & shoot in favour of an up to date digital solution.