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Mobile Phone or Digital Camera for BJD Photography?

Mar 12, 2019

    1. When I first started this hobby, digital cameras were just becoming popular. I had an old $600 (:barf) Canon point-and-shoot that took 4 rechargeable AA batteries that I adored, at the time! I took a few years away from heavy activity in the BJD hobby, though, and now that I'm back, my old dinosaur of a camera now takes lower quality photos than most phone cameras. I own a Google Pixel 2 that takes decent quality photos, so I haven't been able to justify buying a camera just to photograph my dolls.

      What about you - do you still use a dedicated digital camera or DSLR for doll photography, or are you happy with (or do you PREFER) to use your phone camera for that sort of thing?
    2. I still use a DSLR I’ve had for years for most doll photos. I wish my phone could compare so I didn’t have to lug it around with me, but my phone just can’t give me the control over depth of field and light intake that I want. Plus it warps doll faces unless I zoom in, and that leads to pixilation in lower light settings. (I have an iPhone8 and will until it explodes.)
    3. I do both. Some photos turn out better with my camera phone, and some I like the contrast more with my DSLR. I do agree though. It is crazy how the quality has gotten so nice with just a simple camera phone - and how fast the "fancy" camera's, like DSLR, are having a struggling to keeping up. (specially since you still have to pay a bunch for both!)
    4. I almost entirely use my phone these days. I had a very sweet digital camera that I loved using and that takes noticeably better pictures, but it's had so many issues that I can no longer repair it. I've also been having health issues that make holding heavy things (or... anything really) for a long time more trouble than it's worth - which means that I'm not super willing to spend the price of a new BJD on a better camera, when I could just buy... a new BJD...

      As soon as I know where I stand with my illness and thus what model to get, I'm going to get a new digital camera for photoshoots. The pictures really are much better, in my opinion.
    5. I use my cellphone. I would actually love a camera...but like @Mayhem I also have a health issue that makes holding heavy things really difficult and handling the doll is already basically too much most of the time. I've been taking a lot of portraits. :sweat
      • x 1
    6. Right now, I have a super old phone, an iPad, and a digital camera, and none of them takes decent doll photos :(

      I kind of want to buy a new digital camera, but my phone is so old that my mobile carrier will stop supporting it in a year or so, so I may just end up upgrading to a phone with a decent camera. Right now, at the moment though, my camera takes the most decent photos, so that’s what I use.
    7. I have a LG v20 and it doesn't take good photos. All my photos turn out pretty blah. I hope my next phone has a better camera.
    8. I have a decent point-and-shoot but I generally use my phone camera for pics. iPhone X has a great camera, so that and a decent editing program helps me come up with some pretty nice photos.
    9. I have a pretty old iphone 5S and the photos it takes are not great, so I use a camera. I have some health issues that sometimes impact my hands, so I have a small tripod I can leave my camera on to still take photos even when my hands are sore. If I get a new phone (I intend to use mine until it dies) then I'll probably switch between the phone and camera depending on what I need!
    10. I use entirely my phone, as it's all I have, it's a Samsung Note 8. It seems to take pretty good photos,,

      except for in low light conditions.

      Those are completely a lost cause lol.

      I do end up retouching most photos in Photoshop though.
    11. Any photo taking tips for phone camera users?
      • x 1
    12. I've been looking into photography tools lately, myself.

      For cellphones, I've read that getting a little tripod for it is useful (the stability helps reduce blurriness). Also even with just a phone camera, properly lighting your shots is still important, so investing in light box or lamp options (either DIY or bought) will help a lot.
      #12 RinSetsua, Mar 12, 2019
      Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    13. You can achieve great results with a phone and a lot of post editing can be done to improve even the photo you thought couldn’t be saved (as long as you don’t intend for it to be super zoomed so all the noise is apparent.) They can work pretty well in outdoor or well lit scenes without a lot of work. It’s a good place to start.

      However, my preference is still a digital camera, specifically DSLR. The freedom to compose a shot, to use lenses, the quality — my eyes will automatically gravitate toward pics shot with a camera vs phone in every scroll I do through my Instagram feed. I do think it’s an investment and perhaps I’m drawn to pictures shot with those cameras because the owners are hobbyist photographers (some even professionals) and so they know how to work their subjects well.

      What I have found is that when I shoot with my phone and edit it, I immediately bring out my camera because I have more control. I’m now used to that and it’s what I prefer.
    14. I have an iPhone 6 and a decent point-and-shoot camera, but the phone pictures often look better. I'm not sure if it's camera's quality or my lack of knowledge on how to use it, but I have a lot of trouble with photos either being too dark or the dolls looking extremely washed out (even without flash). I'd love to take a photography course just to get better at it, but photography is also not my main interest in the hobby, so I haven't been able to justify the cost of a fancy camera or classes so far.
    15. I use my Galaxy 7 for taking all my pictures. I have a nice compact Sony digital camera, but the phone has higher resolution. Only thing I miss the most, is a bigger zoom lense on the phone. I’d love to be able to take spectacular photos, but I just don’t want it bad enough to invest in a good camera. Plus how fast technology is outdated, I can’t keep up!
    16. I really wanted to buy DSLR camera, and having a bjd kinda pushed me. I'm so happy I got it tho, the pictures come out so beautiful and it's much sharper than the phone. OOOhh and dont get me started on the bokeh :love
      • x 1
    17. I prefer high quality point and shoots because I've found DSLRs to be... overrated.

      With my budget, I'd rather drop $500~ once than hash out for lenses. I've used both DSLRs (actually, exclusively a DSLR for years until it died on me) and a bunch of point and shoots. A good point and shoot can do most of what a DSLR can, in my opinion, with less of a learning curve and money investment. There are definitely things DSLRs excel at, but unless you're a professional photographer, I don't see a reason to spend the money.

      With that said, phone cameras have come so far I haven't felt the need to replace my DSLR. Tools can only get you so far - a lot relies on composition and understanding of lighting/etc.

      Don't get me wrong - I do love DSLRs and I'd love to have both a point and shoot and DSLR so I could take advantage of the convenience of a point and shoot. I just feel like that money is better spent on other things in my case.
    18. Nowadays the only time I use my dslr is for taking sales photos. I prefer to use my iphone. I guess this is because I'm less interested in taking good quality photos and more interested in capturing the personality I see in my dolls, and I find this easier when I'm just using my phone - maybe because the simplicity of it allows me to concentrate more on what I'm doing with my doll than on the camera? I don't know.

      I don't think I'm really a good enough photographer to get the most out of my dslr, and I'm not bothered about learning at the moment. But I think I've become pretty good at getting the most out of my phone camera.

      I definitely enjoy taking photos a lot, lot more since I stopped using my dslr anyway. It takes the pressure off and is more relaxing to use my phone. I'm not worried about getting my photos perfect. So long as the doll looks cute it's fine with me xD
    19. I use a little Canon Elph, point & shoot & yet it's amazing the things you can do with that camera. It has a great zoom, the option of setting your own shutter speed or f-stop, doing close-ups & lots of things I've never even tried. Right now my images are all a little soft as I'd dropped my camera & it's been that way ever since. I may look into upgrading a bit but I doubt that I'll ever get a DSLR. Just can't justify the expense for taking doll photos. Besides, back when the earth was cooling I used to have a Canon SLR. It came to be a royal pain to drag lenses & battery pack & flash around. It took darn good photos but my little one now seems to take ones just as good.

      I don't have a cell phone that takes photos as I only use it when I'm away from home to call for emergencies. I'm living in old land line territory as it's included with my cable & internet.
    20. I would agree with the consensus that a small tripod helps, even for phone photography! You can get one for just about any phone or camera for a relatively inexpensive price, so anyone who faces stability or lifting issues - be it a health reason or not - would probably benefit from trying one. I believe there was also once a tutorial in the Photography chat about building your own mini lightbox, if anyone would be interested in that.

      Lighting is always a struggle, though I still find my old camera photos far easier to work with in less-optimal lighting, and far easier to edit after the photos are taken. For some reason, I find cell phone cameras add extra grain even my old dinosaur camera doesn't give me!