Bioshock Research Camera Mechanic -- no SPOILERS!

I’m trying to stay out of the myriad of other Bioshock threads to avoid spoilers, so sorry for starting a new one.

Can anyone explain the research camera mechanic to me, please? I’ve got a ton of questions that don’t seem to be adequate answered in-game (or at least I haven’t seen/heard the explanations):

What does the A, B and C mean on the photo? Is there a way to take “better” pics than others? Should I be taking pictures of everything? What is the “penalty” for taking multiple shots of the same baddy? What does the status bar denote?

I think A, B, C are just ratings. Take pictures of everything until your research is complete. You will get damage bonuses against specific enemy types, as well as new plasmids, also enemy type dependent. The penalty means you get less points, but honestly, I’ve gotten in the habit of snapping pictures of enemies over and over until it doesn’t give me points anymore. I don’t seem to ever be running short of film.

I don’t like the way it’s implemented. You get a negative bonus for photographing the same subject repeatedly, but film is so cheap and so ubiquitous, there’s no reason to not keep frenetically clicking the shutter button over and over until the camera refuses to take the shot.

The camera is a great addition to the game, though.

Status bar denotes progress to the next research accomplishment. Filling the bar will give you a stat bonus, or something even better than that. The penalty for taking shots of the same splicer over and over again is reflected in how far the shots advance the progress bar.

The A, B, and C are grades. “Better” pics are pictures that are zoomed in to the subject (click right stick on 360), contain more than one subject and feature the subject in an “action” pose (attacking you or someone else).

‘Action’ shots where they’re in the process of attacking, and shots with multiple enemies are supposed to get you bonus points, but it doesn’t really seem to make that much of a difference. As the others have said, just take photos whenever you can, don’t worry too much about perfecting the framing or such.

Also, don’t forget to photograph things like turrets and cameras (while hostile, you can’t once they’re hacked), and the Little Sisters and Big Daddies.

There seems to be some way of ranking the photos you take. Higher ratings means yoru research bar fills up faster. As far as I know, the rankings are based on several factors when taking the photos.

1> How close you are to the subject.
2> Whether the subject is active (wandering around) or in action (shooting at you, someone else, running away, etc)
3> There’s more than one subject in the field of view. (Multiple subject bonus!)
4> It’s dead! (A penalty)
5> You took a picture of it already. (another penalty)

Like Charles said, just take pictures of everything. Higher research levels gives you tonics, damage bonuses, extra cash and items and in some cases, easier ways to approach certiain enemies. It fairly fuzzily implemented and the even the characters in-game don’t really know it works, (five dollars words says Atlas) but it works.

Ah, nice tips re: security. Hadn’t actually thought of that. As for big daddies I realized I hadn’t been taking pictures of them. With a few damage bonuses they seem easier to take down.

I thought the camera was neat in theory but, as implemented, it’s one of the chief stumbling blocks preventing me from replaying it. By the end of the game snapping photos got really old and I have no desire to do that again just to get the damage bonuses and tonics that you get from it all. Plus, it was pretty silly not to record the enemy’s weaknesses somewhere in the interface so you could review them later.

I’ll summarize:

People are weak against anti-people rounds.
Electronics are weak against electric rounds.
Armored things are weak against armor piercing rounds.

I don’t get it.

I’m with you on that. I’m still on the 3rd level, taking my time enjoying this sweet piece of work, so it’s my hope that by the time I’m going to replay, there’s some kind of mod that changes it so I only need to take one A shot of each breed of mob in order to get to the next research level.

Suck it, 360 owners!

Yeah, I sort of wish they had left the “use this ammo” hints out of the research camera discoveries, because it implies that you can use the camera to discover an enemy’s secret Achilles heel, when in reality it’s just reinforcing stuff that you already read in the manual. The benefit of taking pictures actually just seems to be the damage bonuses (plus other perks) that you earn. Which is already plenty, really.

I will sayt hat snapping multiple pictures of the same subject does have one downside: they are most likely beating on you while you do it. So it doesn’t just cost film, it costs film and health, for diminishing benefits. Still worth doing sometimes, but often I snap one shot and then quickly pull out a weapon.

That’s why you throw out a target dummy first :)

Heh, that’s true but that gets to another issue I have- when the game is talking about researching weaknesses with the camera I thought they would mention things like the zap/wrench combo for thug splicers. Because there’s obviously a deeper system running underneath things- some enemies would die with one shot from a crossbow bolt, some it would barely phase them, some one or two shots from the shotgun, others were resistant, etc. Even some of the plasmid descriptions make it sound like some are are more resistant to certain elements like fire.

It would have been neat have research be another axis on the difficulty slider, like regenerating enemies when using a vita chamber could have been. So on the hardest setting you can’t take a picture of a subject twice, no dead subjects allowed.

In that case it costs you film and Eve, which is even more expensive than Health. :)

There are several tonics related to photo taking that will help you, I don’t remember whether I got them as a reward or just around.

The camera bots are hard to get a good shot at, since they’re constantly flying around shooting at you. Same goes for turrets, also electroshock is a great to get in a splicer shot without being attacked.

Minor non-narrative spoiler:

Pretty sure I got the upgraded photo taking tonic from just taking a lot of photos. Might have been a reward from my first fully researched enemy.

Now that would be living up to the System Shock legacy.