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Old Apr 23, 2004, 3:24 PM   #1
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Default Coolpix 950 for Micro images?

I am doing some close-up image making of camera parts. I used to own a Nikon Coolpix 950 years ago. It worked real well. It got in as close as one inch and the best part was I could view what the camera was seeing on my TV using the video output on the camera. This made it a lot easier to focus and frame my shots in a micro mode.

Anyway, I sold my Coolpix 950 years ago, but now I need to take some of the same type of images again. They are for a book. I will need printed images about 4 x 6 inches in size in black and white.

I thought of just buying another Coolpix 950 on ebay, but I saw a Coolpix 990, 995, and 4500 that have the larger image file size (3.2 meg) and decided to ask around before buying. Of course, I noticed that the lens mm is larger also on these cameras. That probably means less depth-of-field in the micro mode.

What do you suggest and why? Are there any other cameras that I should consider that have a real good micro mode that also allow you to view what the camera sees while taking the picture?

Star
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Old Apr 23, 2004, 5:44 PM   #2
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Star:

I've owned both the Nikon Coolpix 950 and Coolpix 990 models, and both have great macro modes. I still have a 950 in mint condition (although it's just collecting dust now, since I haven't used it in almost a year).

As far as depth of field, I doubt you'd see any significant difference between the models you are considering -- provided you use Aperture Priority and select a small aperture (higher F-Stop number) for greater depth of field.

Chances are, the macro "sweet spot" is at about the same focal length on these models.

For what you are describing, the 950 would probably be a great choice.

However, if you can find a 990 or 995 at about the same price, I'd go for it instead.

A little known fact about the Coolpix 950 is that it only had 3 "real" apertures (with values depending on focal length). Because of the limited Aperture Choices, when using Shutter Priority Mode, the camera actually varied the gain from the CCD (just like you would by changing ISO settings), to simulate more aperture choices.

So, you could only use shutter priority mode with ISO set to 80 (and then the camera really moved it up higher, as needed, to match the ccd gain to one of the 3 available "real" apertures to insure proper exposure with the shutter speed selected.

Beginning with the Coolpix 990, Nikon incorporated a multi-blade iris with much finer control of aperture. The newer models also have many other features (more metering points, focus steps, etc.).

Between the two, I think the 990 is definitely the superior camera (and not just from a resolution perspective). However, for the types of photos you are describing, the 950 would work fine (but I'd still go for a 990, if you are going to be using it for other purposes, too).
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Old Apr 23, 2004, 8:48 PM   #3
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You may have not used the feature, but do you know if the 990 and 950 let's you see what the lens sees, with TV connection? I know I used this with the 950 and found it to be very useful for focus and framing in micro mode.

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Old Apr 23, 2004, 8:53 PM   #4
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I have been pricing the 990 and 995 on Ebay. They go for anything from 300-400. I noticed that most of the ones that are offered for parts have a zoom failure or a focus failure. It seems like the lens has some mechanical problems. Have you read or hear of any advantages of the 990 over the 995?

I would probably be happy with a 950, but I seem to remember that the images took forever to download. I am hoping that the USB on the 990 and 995 is much faster.

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Old Apr 23, 2004, 9:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star
You may have not used the feature, but do you know if the 990 and 950 let's you see what the lens sees, with TV connection? I know I used this with the 950 and found it to be very useful for focus and framing in micro mode.

Star
Star:

To be frank, I've never even used the video cables with any digital camera I've ever owned. ops:

However, I do understand how they work. Yes, the 950 and 990 will work the same way. Basically, whatever you see on the camera's LCD display, is also sent to the video out port.

BTW, the correct term is Macro (vs. Micro).
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Old Apr 23, 2004, 9:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star
I have been pricing the 990 and 995 on Ebay. They go for anything from 300-400. I noticed that most of the ones that are offered for parts have a zoom failure or a focus failure. It seems like the lens has some mechanical problems. Have you read or hear of any advantages of the 990 over the 995?

I would probably be happy with a 950, but I seem to remember that the images took forever to download. I am hoping that the USB on the 990 and 995 is much faster.

Star
If you're concerned about download speed, get a card reader (they're VERY cheap). Card Readers are the way to go, and you don't have to worry about running down the camera's battery while the photos are transferring either).

I've got several of 'em around somewhere (old Lexar Jumpshot reader, Sandisk Reader, built in readers in my HP Printer).

As far as differences between the 990 and 995, I'd suggest reading the reviews on both. Nikon did change from AA batteries to a Proprietary Lithium Ion Battery when they introduced the newer 995. Some may consider this an advantage -- others a disadvantage (depending on your perspective). The 995 had some physical design changes, too (pop-up flash for less redeye, plastic versus alloy construction for the flash portion of the camera, more optical zoom, etc.)

The 995 is a more feature rich model. This site has reviews of both models.

As far as pricing (you mentioned seeing 990's and 995's going for 300 - 400 on ebay), I think you could probably do a little better.

Heck, Nikon was even selling factory refurbished 4500's (the newest swivel bodied Nikon) for $369.00 a while back (with a 90 day warranty). Ritz had 'em for only $349 (but they're out of stock now). So, you should be able to find mint condition 990's for much less (or I would hope so, since the newer 4500 is a very nice camra).
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Old Apr 23, 2004, 10:32 PM   #7
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Default 4500 another good choice

The Nikon 4500 is a nice choice also. Same swivel design, great macro and 4MP. Its also a newer model. You can buy one reconditioned for a good price.
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Old Apr 24, 2004, 6:27 PM   #8
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I don't suppose you know if the video output on the 990, 995, 4500 is a RCA jack, or a S-Video?
Some TVs only have the RCA jack and the better ones have the S-video. I plan to plug the camera into the TV for better macro viewing.

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Old Apr 24, 2004, 7:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star
I don't suppose you know if the video output on the 990, 995, 4500 is a RCA jack, or a S-Video?
Some TVs only have the RCA jack and the better ones have the S-video. I plan to plug the camera into the TV for better macro viewing.

Star
I have both a 990and a 995, both use a standard RCA jack for the video signal, I'm not sure if any of the Coolpix cameras have a S-Video output.

If your main use is for Macro work I would go for the 990, the 4 AA battries are an advantage over the special Nikon Battery used on the 995 & 4500. The A/C power supply adapter would be a big advantage for any studio work. You might also consider the wired remote release (MC-EU1) to reduce any movement of the camera when shooting macro shots

Good Luck
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Old Apr 25, 2004, 6:40 AM   #10
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I saw some close-up filters on ebay for the 990, 995, 4500. If a person is using one of these in macro mode, will the close-up filters let you take images even closer in? Do they work well? Is there something that works better for close up work when using these cameras?

I need to really get in close on some of my camera gear shots.

Star
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