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Old Oct 29, 2003, 4:18 PM   #1
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Default Best cameras for Macro/Closeup work

Huge apologies if this is a topic which has been done to death but I couldn't find any specific threads (macro being a rather common search term!)...

Anyway - I'm looking for a digicam for closeup work - shots taken for EBAY/Catalogues/Valuation purposes etc. etc.

Don't have a proper studio setup so I need something with a good/adaptable flash too - and pref. a proper hotshoe even.

I don't need high-res - 2Mp is fine tho obviously more is merrier - but my budget is tight so I'll be trawling EBAY and the like for 2nd-hand bargains so please feel free to mention older cameras.

A friend uses a Nikon 990 which he chose esp. for this - and his shots are pretty-good - but they're a bit scarce and still not that cheap compared to other cameras that sort of age...

Any help greatly apprec.

Thanks in advance

JP
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Old Oct 29, 2003, 6:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best cameras for Macro/Closeup work

Quote:
Originally Posted by therealjohnpeat
I don't need high-res - 2Mp is fine tho obviously more is merrier - but my budget is tight so I'll be trawling EBAY and the like for 2nd-hand bargains so please feel free to mention older cameras.

A friend uses a Nikon 990 which he chose esp. for this - and his shots are pretty-good - but they're a bit scarce and still not that cheap compared to other cameras that sort of age...
Then, how about a Nikon Coolpix 950. It is 2mp and cheaper than a 990.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=11070
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=11070
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...category=11070
And, there are a lot of 950 on eBay!

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500 User Guide
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Old Oct 29, 2003, 7:25 PM   #3
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If you're in Georgia, (I'm in Marietta, GA, but travel to both Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC frequently -- I may consider selling mine (Nikon Coolpix 950).

It's in Mint Condition (like new in every way). I've also got some extras (Sandisk CF Card Reader, extra Memory Cards, Digipower DPS-8000 belt worn powerpack, rechargeable AA's with charger).

I really don't need it, but don't want to go to the trouble of putting it up for sale, and worrying about shipping, getting payment for it, etc. -- too much hassle -- I'd just as soon keep it as a spare.
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Old Oct 30, 2003, 6:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

I'm actually in the UK - where 950/990/995s are rather scarcer sadly - but there are a few of ech on EBAY.

I know the 9xx has a nice 2cm macro mode - does anyone know of any other cameras which offer such a close-up focus?

Thanks

JP
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Old Oct 30, 2003, 5:48 PM   #5
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Don't just look at the focus distance. There is a lot more to capturing good macros than focus distance.

You need to look at the field of view (size of the object that you can "fill the frame" with).

Also look at lens distortion in macro mode (some are much worse in macro modes).

No other digital cameras even come close to the macro performance of the swivel bodied Nikons (Coolpix 950, 990, 995, 4500) -- not even other Nikons.

These cameras are able to "fill the frame" with an object as small as 0.7 inches across, with virtually no distortion (since the macro "sweet spot" is at around mid zoom.

Phil Askey has some macro tests in his reviews of cameras. Here's an example for the latest Nikon (Coolpix 4500) -- note that the earlier "swivel bodied" Nikons perform the same:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp4500/page15.asp

The next best cameras "out of the box" are probably a couple of the Olympus models. The C-4000z can fill the frame with an object as small as 1.4 inches across (about twice as large as the Nikons, but better than most other camera models). The same applies for some of the the Olympus C-7xx series (like the Olympus C-750UZ).

However, you can get closeup lenses for many other models, to get better macro modes.

What size objects are you looking to photograph? Perhaps you don't really need macro performance as good as these models.

For example: my Konica KD-510z can fill the frame with an object around 2 inches across (nowhere near as good as the swivel bodied Nikons, but still better than many other models).

Also, depending on your use for the photos, you may be able to simply crop the center of the photo using software, if larger prints are not needed.

Phil Askey (owner/editor of http://www.dpreview.com) includes macro performance tests in his camera reviews (in the photograph tests sections).

Another site that includes macro tests is http://www.megapixel.net

Their reviews (see test photos sections) also show the field of view that can be captured in a cameras macro mode.

Don't just look at focus distance -- instead, look at the size of an object that can be captured, and what kind of lens distortion you'll have in macro mode (for example: some only work at full wide angle, where barrel distortion can cause soft corners, etc. at closer focus distances).
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Old Oct 30, 2003, 7:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for that Jim - it's exactly the sort of thing I was hoping someone would tell me (I'm not too clued-up on cameras and lenses as you can tell).

Most objects I photograph are book-sized or larger but I do some jewellery and smaller ceramics which is where most of my problems lie.

Even with a good lighting setup and backgrounds few of the consumer cameras I've tried produce the sort of results I need (clear legible and realistic shots) - but then jewels and metals are hard things to photograph at the best of times.

I have an old Olympus (C820-L - a real antique) which I use for 'dirty' jobs and it's been rock-solid and never glitched so I'll be glad to look at their newer models.

Thanks again

JP
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Old Oct 30, 2003, 7:35 PM   #7
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Sorry, this is off topic. I get a fuzzy feeling when anyone mentions the Nikon swivel lens cameras because my first digicam was an Agfa 1280 and I always admired the similar-bodied 990, 995, and 4500.
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