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Old Jul 1, 2004, 10:27 AM   #1
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Hello,
I need some help selecting a good camera for doing product shots. The final destination is for the web so I don't think it is necessary to have a really high pixel resolution, Probably 3-5 Mp should suffice. what I do need is the ability to prioritize shutter speed, aperture, etc. I also think the camera should have a superb lens with the ability to zoom 2-4 times and take macro shots.

My budget is around 400$ but if there is a very compelling reason the go higher, my ears are open.

Any and all suggestions are Welcome!

Thanks,
Joe
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Old Jul 1, 2004, 11:59 AM   #2
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All decent cameras will take macro shots. Some will focus on a smaller area than others. If you need only about 3 inches to fill the frame most work fine. If you need an inch to fill the frame you have to go with a limited number of super-macros.

If you are going to use the built-in flash for macro, some work a lot better than others. If you are going to provide lighting without the flash most will do fine, but you do better with a remote so you don't have to use the self timer for every shot. Unless you are using sunlight you want the camera on a tripod for shots without the flash in most cases.

Most cameras do well with remote strobes triggered by the internal flash. A good technique for professional looking images and the remote strobes are inexpensive.

Manual focus is a good feature for macro so you can focus on exactly the point you want. But manual focus is difficult in a camera that doesn't give a good readout of the focus distance in the LCD.

Most cameras put out good quality once you learn to use them. Steve has the widest range of reviews I know of but doesn't have a standardized test of the macro. In Dave's "Test Results" for his reviews there is a separate report on closeups with the minimum size, flash quality etc:
http://www.imaging-resource.com/MFR1.HTM You might crosscheck back with Steve's reviews: http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html

I don't find aperture and shutter priority an absolute necessity for that kind of work unless you intend using a flash attachment. In that case you not only want to look for full exposure and focus controls but also a hotshoe.

Most better Olympus and some Canon cameras come with a remote. Others have them as an option for a reasonable price. Check on that if you plan to be using a tripod for your macro photography.

Check Steve's buyer's guide for prices:
http://www50.shopping.com/xPP-Digita...kin_id-3053120 Then crosscheck the macro performance at Imaging Resource for anything that looks interesting.

Nikons seem to have a super macro mode that fills the frame with the smallest subject, but they tend to not throttle the flash down well.
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Old Jul 1, 2004, 12:31 PM   #3
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Thanks Slipe,

I'm mostly interested in taking photos like this...

http://homepage.mac.com/justsayjoe/taylor_b.jpg

But also would like to take some detailed closs-ups of the interior and wheels etc. (hence the macro).

This photo was taken with my Dimage7 from home. The company would like to invest in a camera so that when I am on vacation they can still take pictures.

I'm not sure if this is the greatest cammera for this type of work. I do like the ability to to adjust anything and everything. It's great for my vacation shots. I'm not sure if I can convince the boss to fork a grand either.

What should be the top priority decision. I thought it would be the lens?


Thanks,
Joe
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Old Jul 1, 2004, 4:26 PM   #4
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Butterfly Photo has the Minolta A2 for $752 and free shipping. It is the evolution of the D7 series with lots of extra features. It is a camera you would love to use. You might consider selling your employer the D7 and buying the A2 yourself. If I could have only one camera that is probably what I would get. I have a D7i and lust for some of the great features on the A2. The A2 is more than you would need for your business photographs though.

I think any camera from a quality maker would give resolution good enough for the shots you are taking. Flash exposure when using the macro would be an important consideration I think. Some don't expose properly at macro ranges. How close the macro gets is also important if you want to photograph little wheels. You can probably crop and still have the quality you need though.

You could probably get good flash exposure by zooming out and not getting real close – planning on cropping some. With plenty of pixels you can crop a good bit and still get plenty resolution for web work.

Nikon has a $50 rebate going on the 4300. It is 4Mp and 3X optical zoom, which I think would be enough for what you are doing. It has manual exposure modes. It has excellent macro abilities although you might not be able to use the flash if you get into their super macro range.
http://www.profeelvideo.com/showpage...ource=dealtime

Read some reviews and see what you might like.


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Old Jul 1, 2004, 7:35 PM   #5
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One camera that is within your budget is the Sony W-1. It has a large 2.5 inch LCD where you can actually see the focus area in red. Easy menue selections for resolutions that can meet a number of requirements and the on board flash levels can be adjusted for close ups. I used my W-1 recently at a wood carving seminar and was very pleased with the results.
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Old Jul 1, 2004, 9:14 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd go with a camera like the Nikon Coolpix 4500. It's macro mode is about as good as it gets, from a "straight from the box" camera model without using any kind of add-on lens accessories.

The Coolpix 4500can "fill the frame" with an object as small as 3/4" across, with virtually no distortion (since the macro "sweet spot" is at around half zoom). BTW, it can focus from less to an inch to infinity in macro mode.

It also has aperture priority (so you can use a smaller aperture for greater depth of field). I would consider the ability to control aperture to be a "must have" feature for closeups -- especially since most "full auto" models are going to try and shoot "wide open" indoors (reducing Depth of Field).

Unfortunately, the Coolpix 4500 is no longer being manufactured. However, you may still be able to locate one if you search a bit (it's still considered to be a current model). Note that the older Swivel Bodied Nikons (like the 950, 990, and 995) also have the same great macro ability.

The non Swivel Bodied Nikons (like the Coolpix 4300 mentioned above) don't perform as well for closeup use (but they are still better than most cameras).

As Slipe pointed out, for web use only,most cameras would probably suffice though (since you could simply crop the portion of the image needed from the center of the frame, if the field of view is not as good as needed). Your bigger challenge will probably be lighting.


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Old Jul 2, 2004, 6:12 AM   #7
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The 4500 is a great camera but like all of this Nikon series can be a difficult camerqa to learn.
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Old Jul 2, 2004, 10:29 AM   #8
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Thanks guys!!! Much appreciated.


P.S. Snipe, how is the battery life on your D7hi? I had to build a battery pack with 5 cell batteries in order to get it to last a week.
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Old Jul 2, 2004, 1:32 PM   #9
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joe k wrote:
Quote:
how is the battery life on your D7hi?

I have a D7i. I wish I had the Hi with the better buffer. They improved the battery life a little over the D7, but it is still a battery hog. The D7i probably came with higher capacity batteries as I don't think the 1850s were available when the D7 was released.

I always carry a spare set. NiMH batteries are cheap enough that I never found it a problem. I always carry it in a fanny pack and there is room in the end pockets for spare batteries and my extra CF card.

The Nikon 4300 will capture a 0.85 x 0.64 inches
area, which is exactly the same as the 4500. But the flash does a better job on the 4500 in super macro. It is also 4X rather than 3X on the 4300. They are still available new but pricier than the 4300.
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Old Jul 2, 2004, 2:17 PM   #10
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slipe wrote:
Quote:
The Nikon 4300 will capture a 0.85 x 0.64 inchesarea, which is exactly the same as the 4500. But the flash does a better job on the 4500 in super macro. It is also 4X rather than 3X on the 4300. They are still available new but pricier than the 4300.
Slipe:

I see you checked the review at http://www.imaging-resource.com for it. However, I think Dave Etchells is mistaken. Dave sometimes copies text and specsfrom other reviews from the same manufacturer, and occassionally forgets to change the small details. I suspect that he copied the specs from the 4500 review, for the 4300 macro performance comments (and forgot to change the coverage area).

Take a look at Dave's macro photos from both cameras. There is no way that the 4300 captured the same minimum area as the 4500:

Coolpix 4500 Macro Photo:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/C4500/C45MAC.HTM

Coolpix 4300 Macro Photo:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...00/CP43MAC.HTM

If you check out other reviewers that have tested both models, you'll find that the smallest field of view you can capture with the 4300, is considerably larger than with the 4500. For example, Denys Bouton ( http://www.megapixel.net ) calls it at around 6.3cm (~2.45 inches).

BTW, the mininum focus distance is also much greater with the 4300 in macro mode (around 1.6 inches).
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