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frasermanx Dec 5, 2004 11:00 AM

I have a NIkon 35mm outfit that I can use closeup lenses with .. but no digital camera that can focus 1/2" or closer .. actually 1:1 ratio would be good but almost certain that a macro lens on a DSLR would be needed

So the question is what relatively cheap camera can focus VERY close?? with or without accessories?

Some of the older SLR style digital cameras appear to be able to take close up filters but not sure about the quality of the image e.g. HP912

I did think that a 2meg camera's image should be good enough for a website since a 6meg camera only makes the image huge .. 3000x2500 when for a webpage its best to have pix no bigger than 800x600.

I thought that the image should be high quality if the lens is good .. brand name like nikon, canon, lecia, etc.. but now after seeing some of my closeups from the HP635 with Pentax lens I am not so sure ...

However the macro fotos I can make with my Canon ZR40 are very close and quite sharp .. just about ideal except getting the photos from the camera since there is no memory card I can put in computer ...

any helpful ideas/feedback

Frz in Toronto

JimC Dec 6, 2004 4:44 PM

For very small objects, most Digital Cameras have a macro mode that works quite well.

It's not so much the focus distance, as the amount of the frame you need the object to occupy. Keep in mind that focal length (amount of zoom being used) works in combination with focus distance for how much of the frame your subject occupies, and some models are better than others at this combination).

Also, non-DSLR Digital Cameras have dramatically greater depth of field (amount of your image that's in focus as your get further away from you focus point), thanks to their smaller sensors, that can use shorter focal length lenses. For example, the HP C912 you mentioned had a lens that was only 8.2-25.8mm, to give it a 35mm equivalent focal length of 34-107mm. Since depth of field is computed using the actual versus 35mm equivalent focal length, your HP has much more DOF than you'd have with a 35mm camera at any given aperture setting.

But, it didn't have a very good closeup mode by today's standards. Themajority of digital cameras probably have a better macro mode, compared to the closup mode on your HP, which could only fill the frame with an object about 5.8 inches (15cm) across.

For example, the Nikon Swivel Bodied Coolpix models (Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 4500)can fill the frame with an object as small as 2/3" across with virtually no distortion (since the macro "sweet spot" is at around half zoom). As discussed above, you also have dramatically more depth of field with a non-DSLR model at any given aperture setting and 35mm equivalent focal length.

What do you mean by cheap?

Also, you could crop a higher resolution image so that your subject fills the frame better for web viewing purposes, even if the model didn't have a great macro mode. So, you've got lots of options there.

Personally, I'd go with something like a used Coolpix 990 if macros are your primary concern. You may also want to look around to see if you can locate a Coolpix 4500 in new condition (4 MP model with more optical zoom). I've seen some from time to time (even though this model is discontinued now). That way, you'd be able to use it for larger prints and have more zoom to work with (although 3MP is fine for 8x10's).

Even though the Depth of Field is much greater with a a non-DSLR model at any given aperturer setting, you can stop down the aperture to an evensmaller setting for even better depth of field for closeups if you get a model with Aperture Priority mode like these. Of course, a smaller aperture requires slower shutter speeds.

See my post in this recent thread for more on these Nikon models for macro use:;forum_id=87

Again, most digital cameras have a pretty decent macro mode now, so you could find something even less expensive, depending on what you're trying to photograph and how you use the images.

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