Photographing Miniatures with an SRL Camera – Part I

My education in photography was with 35mm film on an srl camera.  It was completely manual.  You needed to set all the settings according to the type of picture you wanted.  Since the advent of digital cameras, my photographs have not had the same quality.  Most of that is because I’ve always purchased cheap point and shoot cameras.  They’re pretty good for family gatherings and some vacation trips, but they’re no substitute for a good srl.  For Yom Kippur, I treated myself to an entry-level digital srl camera (a Canon Eos Rebel Xsi) and a 50mm macro lens.  The lens was specifically to take macro shots of miniatures.  In the last few weeks, I’ve been shooting and reshooting photos for Cavalcade Wargames ( and it’s been a learning lesson.  Really, all the technology has changed since I last seriously picked up a camera.  Light bulb technology has changed, digital cameras are even more affordable and many things are easily obtained online – such as light boxes.  I’ve also learned the limitations of digital point and shoot cameras.  So, in my first experiments with my new dsrl camera, I’ve found immediate results.

The new camera is great, but the macro lens is a real boon.  To illustrate the real world differences of a regular lens and a macro, here is a two close-ups of my dog Crumpet (some might also refer to her as a miniature).  The first is Crumpet on the regular lens with auto settings and a flash.  The second is with a macro lens on the macro setting and several other manual setting changes.  I chose her because she’s black and white on a black chair.  It’s not easy to photograph black and white things and I wanted to test the waters.  The macro shot came out great.  The lighting on the regular came out too dark.  Some of that can be alleviated with the manual settings. Click on the Crumpets to get the full size photo.

Crumpet Macro

Crumpet Macro

Crumpet Regular

Crumpet Regular

Crumpet - Regular (Full)

Crumpet - Regular (Full)


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