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Vermont Jan 9, 2004 8:21 PM

Digicam needed for work....*Update*Camera puchased
Hello all,

Here is the deal: My boss wants to get a new digital cam for the shop. We work at an aircraft jet engine repair facility, so we end up taking close up shots of damaged parts for evaluation.

The detail of color and cracks are very important.

We are looking for an under $400 digicam with the best detail possible, ability to do fine shots up close (macro)?, no zoom needed.
Another important factor is size...not too big so we can travel with it if necessary...(airline)

Could anyone point me in good direction?


I actually just read another post asking sort of the same thing...good macro.

Nikon 4500?

eric s Jan 9, 2004 9:11 PM

In general, the Nikon cameras seem to have very good macro. I haven't done any testing of it (I have a DSLR) but that seems to be the common thread in posts. So maybe the CP4500 would be the best choice, as you asked.


cobra46 Jan 12, 2004 3:27 PM

I recently purchased the Casio EX-Z4U as a point and shoot for my wife. I have been quite impressed with the macro capability for such a small camera.

I can email you some samples if you wish

[email protected]

JimC Jan 12, 2004 10:59 PM

Nikon Coolpix 4500. It can "fill the frame" with an object less than 3/4" across, with virtually no distortion (since the "sweet spot" is at around half zoom).

No other digicam "straight from the box" can even come close to macro capability of the swivel bodied Nikons (Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 4500) -- not even other Nikons.

Steve uses a Nikon 4500 for his product shots in the camera reviews here at

BTW, Nikon has a $100.00 mail in rebate on the 4500 through the end of this month.

You may also want to consider the Coolight SL-1 to go with it (it's a Macro Light that attaches to the front of the camera's lens, that lights small objects with a ring of bright white LED's).

Vermont Jan 13, 2004 10:08 PM

Thanks for the Nikon 4500 tips.I will show boss this forum when I get to work.

Would you have any macro shots you could post in this thread or email me?

I like that LED light you speak of.......just about all the guys in our shop changed over to LED flashlights.The "whiteness" and brightness of those lights are incredible.

checklg Jan 14, 2004 9:16 AM

Here's an example macro shot from a CP4500. I think I was about 0.8 inches from the woodlouse, and the image is cropped slightly.


JimC Jan 14, 2004 10:16 AM

BTW, I thought I had mentioned it in my first post, but apparently I did not.

I see you mentioned a budget of around $400.00. The Nikon Coolpix 4500 retails for $699.99 (which works out to $599.99 after the $100.00 mail-in rebate).

However, Nikon offers factory reconditioned 4500's for $369.99.

I have no problem with Nikon's factory reconditioned products. I once purchased a Coolpix 950 this way, that arrived in perfect condition. I was unable to tell the difference from a brand new model in any way, even upon close inspection (camera, packaging, software, cables, manuals, etc.). I still have this camera, and it's working fine after several years of use. However, I'll probably only use it for extreme closeup work now, since I purchased a new 5MP "Pocketable" camera in July of this year.

Nikon is temporarily out of stock, but you can still place your order, and one will be shipped as soon as available. Your credit card will not be charged until they ship. There is a purchase limit of 2 cameras.

Here is the link to the camera on the Nikonmall (the Nikon site, where they sell factory reconditioned units directly to the public).

It's actually less expensive to buy this model directly from Nikon, compared to most retailers that sell it in refurbished condition:

IMO, it's a lot of "bang for the buck" buying a factory reconditioned unit, since it's at a significant savings off of list. Nikons reconditioned models have a 90 day warranty (versus 1 year for a new camera).

The optional Cool-Light SL-1 sells for $99.99 . Here is the link to it:

You will also want a larger Memory Card than ships with the camera, in order to take more photos, before you need to download them to your PC. These are available in a variety of sizes. The camera ships with a rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery, but you may want to consider a spare also.

Steve has a review of this model (Coolpix 4500) on this site. Here is the link to it:

BTW, Ritz Camera (a.k.a., Wolfe Camera) had reconditioned 4500's for less than Nikon a month or so ago at $349.99. However, the web site shows they are now out of stock. Apparently, they made a deal with Nikon to buy a quantity of these units. Even though the Web Site no longer shows it, you may be able to find one at a local store.

If you go with a reconditioned Coolpix 4500, the Cool-light SL-1 Macro Light, a larger CompactFlash Card and Spare Battery; it will put you over budget, but I would consider it well worth it, given the capability of the camera with this setup for your use.

If you want the best macro photos of tiny parts, etc., then you cannot find a better solution IMO. Again, it can "fill the frame" with an object less than 3/4" across, with virtually no distortion. You won't find this capability in other cameras, without using add-on macro lenses, etc. Even then, you probably won't be able to get the depth of field you get with the Nikon with most models, thanks to it's very fine control over aperture.

The Nikon also has a unique feature known as best shot selector (BSS). It allows you to press and hold the shutter button while it snaps off multiple photos (I usually hold the shutter button down for 5 or 6 photos with the Nikons I've owned using this feature).

When you release the shutter button, it automatically saves the sharpest photo --- probably by keeping the one with the largest file size, which indicates more detail.

It's a great way to get sharp, handheld macros, without using a tripod at slower shutter speeds.

To see lots of examples of closeups using this model, just read through the camera reviews on this site, looking at the closeups taken of camera controls, etc. Apparently, Steve Sanders (owner/editor of this site), uses a Nikon Coolpix 4500 for closeups used in his reviews. See his response to someone asking what camera he uses for this purpose in this forum thread:

Vermont Jan 14, 2004 6:43 PM

Holy crap thats a close detailed shot...thanks for posting it.


Thanks for your post and help. I am not sure if they will go for the sticker price even if reconditioned due to the warranty....and apparently the battery packs. I think they want something that AA batteries can slip into in worst case scenario (no outlets at location to recharge).

We shall see what happens. Hopefully Boss might post in this forum.

JimC Jan 14, 2004 7:07 PM

Well.. I should have mentioned the sticker price earlier. I overlooked your budget in the first post. :oops:

What size objects do you need to photograph? Most digicams do a reasonable job at macros (some better than others).

Depth of field limitations, barrel distortion because some can't focus as closely unless at wide angle, and glare from flash reflections requiring specialized lighting are the biggest limitations with most.

However, it you don't need to get as close (for slightly larger areas), then many cameras may "fit the bill". Give us a better idea of exactly what size parts, etc., and perhaps we can suggest some alternatives.

As far as batteries, you'll want to use rechargeable batteries, even in a model that can use AA's. You'll find that Alkalines are really only good for "emergency use" (the power requirements are just too high on most digital cameras for them to be practical).

So, if you end up getting a model that uses AA batteries, make sure to factor in the cost of a battery charger, and a couple of sets of rechargeable NiMH AA Batteries (which are pretty inexpensive anymore).

However, you'll see the same thing with Lithium Ion Batteries, too (inexpensive, provided you go with Generics versus the Manufacturers batteries).

My latest camera is the Konica KD-510z (Minolta G500). It uses a Lithium Ion Battery. However, I can find Generic spares for only $10.50 each, and have gotten well over 100 photos (mostly with flash) on a single charge with a battery.

Lithium Ion batteries also tend to hold their charge better when "on the shelf", as well as in the cold.

So, there are pros and cons to both types.

Give us a better idea of what size parts, etc., you'll need to photograph. Also, let us know what the photos will be used for (on screen only, prints, etc.). Also, if printing the photos, what size prints will be needed.

Again, if the area you want to photograph is a little larger, then many cameras may work fine. Even my lastest "Pocket Cam", the Konica KD-510z (a.k.a., Minolta G500) can do a reasonable job with closeups (of areas 2 or 3 inches across). See some macro samples from it here:

But, it can't "hold a candle" to many other models for closeups -- especially the Nikon Swivel Bodied Models.

Aviator 327 Jan 14, 2004 7:42 PM

It would be nice if Canon had a factory outlet like the Nikon Mall but I can't find anything on the Canon website about one.

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