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Old Oct 26, 2012, 8:16 AM   #1
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Default Camera for indoor close up photos

Hello everyone,

Thank you in advance for your help. This website is a wonderful resource to get advice from people in the know.

I am interested in a camera for use taking close up pictures of skin lesions in a dermatology clinic for medical records and publication in medical journals. I have been reading reviews on mirrorless system and still wonder if a good point and shoot might be sufficient.

Main items on the wish list:

1) Fast autofocus in indoor lighting (fluorescently lit exam rooms). Sometimes after positioning the patient, I only have one hand available making manual focus difficult. I went to bestbuy to check out the NEX-5 and found that the autofocus never found the right plane when taking a close up photo of my hand. Is this a universal problem with macrophotography (in which case I just have to manual focus) or is there a solution?

2). High quality macro mode

3). Ideally pocketable (though the pockets in out white coats are bigger than the average coat pocket -- about 8.5x5.5".

4). Threads for filters. I have a dermatoscope that is capable of attaching to 28mm threads for taking micrographs of lesions. I have seen adapters by CKC and Lensmate to enable filter attachments to point and shoots, but wonder if these will be sturdy enough to survive swimming in my pocket and whether there was any downside to using these in terms of photo quality

5). Budget: $300-500

6). Any thoughts on the importance or RAW file capabilities?

Thanks again to everyone for your help!
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 2:03 PM   #2
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I wonder if this might suffice...?
You can fix your AF point to wherever required,and it's swift- focuses as close as 1cm- and the f/1.4 lens will gather plenty of light...
You can also add a filter adapter to the camera- and with a step down/up ring should work with filters of your choice.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonic-lumix-dmc-lx7
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 4:41 PM   #3
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G'day mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by higuy2003 View Post
.... I am interested in a camera for use taking close up pictures of skin lesions in a dermatology clinic for medical records and publication in medical journals. ... High quality macro mode ... Sometimes after positioning the patient, I only have one hand available making manual focus difficult.... Is this a universal problem with macrophotography (in which case I just have to manual focus) or is there a solution?
I am sure that there are others here who have either seen similar requests or assisted with answers [we had a dentist asking similar Qs recently]

Whatever camera you end up with [and Simon's usually pretty good with his suggestions] will give you focus issues when in close focus / macro mode ... you've probably got 3-5mm / 1/4-inch depth of field when in close mode

Could you locate a pyramid-shaped viewing device which you'd place onto the skin, then placing the camera at the point, shoot the skin lesion?

Or - make yourself a "focus-guide" [a triangle-shaped device] from perspex or MDF, which is screwed to the base of the camera via the tripod thread and pointed toward the subject, and where the outer dimension of the triangle equals the focus distance of the macro setting. Then all you have to do is gently rest the triangle on the skin & press the shutter button. ie- accurate focus guaranteed

I'm sure that there are other ways of doing this that others here can offer advice / solutions for you

Hope this helps anyway
Regards, Phil
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Old Oct 26, 2012, 6:26 PM   #4
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I think one of the problems you'll have is light. If you need to get really close, often you and the camera will block your light, so you'll be stuck with slow shutter speeds, resulting in motion blur.
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Old Oct 28, 2012, 6:30 PM   #5
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Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies!

I appreciated having the LX7 brought to my radar screen... I wouldn't have otherwise come across it. The included lens sounds ideal, and I like the idea of physical aperture control, but I'm concerned that the smaller sensor size would mean poor low light performance. At $499, it seems a little pricey for what it is unless I'm missing something...

I checked out DxOMark, and seems like despite the lens on the LX7, the Canon S100 and S110 scored better. And the price of the LX7 makes me wonder if I should just bite the bullet and carry around a larger NEX-5F3K or Olympus mirrorless (PM-1?).

A related question: as an amateur, I wonder what thoughts on getting a 50mm prime lens for one of the mirrorless systems to cut down on bulk and improve image quality would be? I am pretty sure that would push me over my budget, but just a thought for the future...

Versus staying in the vein of the LX7, are there any other fixed lens cameras that you would suggest to consider that might fit the bill?
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Old Oct 29, 2012, 4:18 AM   #6
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The LX7's low light/high iso performance might not be up to a larger sensor camera- but just how "low" will the light you'll be shooting in actually be..?
The f/1.4 lens should actually help avoid climbing the iso ladder and/or allowing a faster shutter speed- and if you use a tripod,all the better...
Obviously a larger sensor camera will potentially yield better IQ- but a mirrorless camera with a prime lens of 50mm or equivalent probably wouldn't allow you to focus close enough.
Sony's 30mm macro lens for the NEX might suffice however- allowing a 1 inch close focus distance- just remember to select the AF area..!
There are other alternatives- such as the Canon's you mention- but the IQ difference would be barely noticeable at standard viewing sizes- and indeed any other P+S will have the same limitations due to their small sensors.
Sony's RX100 is a P+S with a large sensor and a fast lens- and the resulting improvements in IQ- though doesn't have the option to attach filters and doesn't come cheap..!
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Old Dec 19, 2012, 9:48 PM   #7
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I wanted to write in with a follow up!

I ended up purchasing the LX7 and am really happy with it. The low light performance is wonderful, as is the fast zoom and macro focusing.

The only problem is getting the filter thread adapter. I ordered and paid for it 5 weeks ago, and after many calls to Panasonic, still have no estimated shipment date despite a promise of 3 weeks on the website. *sigh*

Anyway, I just wanted to thank everyone for your advice.
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Old Dec 20, 2012, 1:56 PM   #8
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G'day HiGuy

It is always great to get the 'final feedback' so to speak from someone who has asked for help, got lots of good advice, then gone out and chosen their new toy

If / when you feel so inclined, let's see some of your results
Regards, Phil
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