Photo Album

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Over time I have compiled a large selection of photographs of various die cast vehicles. If you spend much time on the web, you have probably seen lots of pictures of cars in blister packs, pictures lifted from the Mattel web site, and pictures that appear on lots of web sites. The photos you will see here are exclusive to Die Cast Pro.

I add photos of cars purchased recently and cars that I have in my collection. Please check back often to see the latest pictures!   This page will not necessarily reflect updates but the newly reorganized Photo Album Index will!

About the Photography

As a trained professional photographer, quality images are important to me.  On the internet we need to strike a compromise between quality and performance - in other words, image quality must be sacrificed in order to offer images that download quickly. 

While I understand the frustration of waiting for a download to finish,

I do not want to offer images that download fast and lack detail, color fidelity, and have no lasting value.

In order to strike a balance between the kind of quality that I bring to studio work and the "fast and dirty" images that work best on the web, I have developed a system of producing images that gives the best of both worlds.  I shoot the images for my monthly columns using regular film and then scan 5" x 7" prints.  I save them as TIFF images for my publisher and save reduced-size JPEG's for use here.  For images of die cast vehicles that I catalog in the Photo Album, I use a digital camera that has a moderate level of quality and a reasonably small image size. 

At first I felt that these digital images were only marginal in terms of quality and decided to categorize them as "Cheap Shots".  Since that time, I have found that different lighting techniques, better lighting systems, closer camera positions, and a little extra care with the digital image (brightness, contrast, and color balance adjustments made using a photo image editor before posting to the web) have significantly improved the apparent quality of these images.  I have stopped separating these images from the ones made with film.

Film-based Images

Leica M-3 with 90mm lensOlympus OM-1MD with wide-angle lensOne studio lay outRandom Pentax of the MomentHasselblad 500CM with Zeiss 80mm Planar

I shoot film-based images in a studio environment using strobe lighting and light boxes.  I stick to a white background and controlled but basic lighting set-ups.  I use a slow speed film.  I always use a tripod.  I make 5 x 7 prints.  Then I scan the prints using a medium resolution setting on the scanner.  These images must be reduced to a size that will fit in the frames of my site - usually around 500 pixels by no more than 300 pixels.  These images are going to take longer to download but are much better quality than most anything you will find on the web.

Random Pentax of the MomentRandom Lens of the Moment
More about Pentax Cameras and Lenses

Digital Images

These photos are of a lower quality and smaller size than my film-based photos. The size reduction makes them download faster and take less disk space. This is accomplished at the expense of quality. The main reason for this is that I use a multi-purpose camera that can shoot video as well as digital still images without using a Snappy or other video capture method.

How the Digital Images were made.


Manual (PDF)

Digital images are made with a JVC GR AXM 700 video camera. This camera is capable of shooting regular video on VHSC tapes and also of storing up to 44 images to built-in flash-memory. In high quality mode, up to 22 images are stored. (More info here)

These images are shot in high quality (fine) mode. The White Balance is manually set to the white background. This was done to improve the color accuracy. The exposure was set to +2 (in a range of 12 relative settings, from 6 increments underexposed to 6 increments over exposed). The camera is set to Macro-Zoom, Autofocus mode to allow the closest possible shot. The camera is placed on a tripod to eliminate camera shake.  The image size is 320 x 240.

The camera does an adequate job of recording images. There is no doubt that something like the Olympus D-320L does a much better job of producing high quality images. This camera does not render reds very well. The image size in high-quality mode is only 320x240, which is pretty small. The built-in light is useless for taking pictures like this. The software that comes with the camera is extremely basic and reads like a badly translated instruction manual. Unlike the Olympus software, it does not load the image to an image editor before storing so images lose something right away because they are stored in a JPEG format, which is very "lossy". One nice feature that the software does provide is the ability to send images back to the camera for use in titling etc. That accounts for the incredibly good sample images that come with the camera....

As a video camera for home use it is pretty nice. I got it as a gift so I cannot be too crabby about it. I would prefer full VHS sized tape and a longer battery life, but it serves it's intended purpose - to record the early life and times of our young son. And the still camera feature is a nice extra if you can't afford both a digital camera and a video camera.

The flexibility of settings is incredible. I do not recommend this camera to anyone who has trouble setting the time on their VCR! But you can manage most settings manually as well as automatically, perform several useful special effects, low light shooting, titling, and even automated editing with a compatible VCR. The camera has inputs and outputs of every possible kind.

Anyway, that is my "professional" opinion of the camera. I hope you like the Photo Album

Update: 11/19/09


Pictures on this site were made with the following cameras:
Camera Make/Model
October 2009 - Present -
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5d Mark II with Battery Grip BG-E6

November 2008 - September 2009  -
SONY Mavica MVCCD500

May 2003 - November 2008 -
SONY Mavica MVCCD400

March 2001 - May 2003 - 
JVC JVC GR AXM 700 with digital still feature
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic (Black)
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II
Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic II
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic F
Spotmatic F and Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50mm f/1.4
Asahi Pentax ESII
Pentax ES II



Paul M. Provencher

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