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-   -   Camera for Insect Photos (

pseudocreobroter Dec 21, 2005 1:46 AM

My hobby is to breed praying mantids and document them, eventually building a database of all the different species that i can find and this year I have decided will be the year that i buy myself a half decent camera, rather than borrowing from friends and family.
As im sure you can guess, im not overly knowledgeable about cameras and would like some advice. I have been looking into the powershot s2 IS and the cybershot dcs-h1 and i am trying to decide which is better for my needs, or have a missed something and is there an even better suited model for my needs?

Any help would be much appreciated.

pseudocreobroter Dec 23, 2005 4:33 AM

Does anyone have any ideas?

rinniethehun Dec 23, 2005 10:59 AM

Most, if not all of the photos on your website were taken with either a G2 or a C5050Z... the pics look great - any reason why those cameras are no longer suitable for your needs?

The two cameras you mentioned are megazooms...seems like a camera with a good macro mode would be better for your needs.

Nice mantid collection.

the Hun

pseudocreobroter Dec 23, 2005 1:45 PM

Ok well thats why i need help, can you advise a good camera for my needs. Oh and the reason why I cant use those camera any more is because one is my sisters boyfriends, the other is another close friends camera, neither are actually mine, which is most irritating when interesting things happen and i miss the chance to capture it!

rinniethehun Dec 23, 2005 6:44 PM

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Actually, the H1 takes pretty good macro shots. Two of my friends recently purchased got the H1, and the other bought the S2 IS. Both take good pictures, but I think the Sony has the edge, especially as far as noise.

Regarding my original reply, I started thinking, that a mantis might not like you getting real close, so a bit of a zoom might not be a bad idea.

Good luck with your search.

the Hun

slipe Dec 23, 2005 7:24 PM

The Canon S2 has one of the best macro modes available as far as getting very close. Dpreview says you can actually touch the lens to the target and still get an in-focus shot in super macro. It is also pretty exceptional for macro shots zoomed out, being able to get an area 8.5 cm across at full zoom from 70cm away. That really helps for light and flash use, as well as makes for a much flatter and less distorted image.

The articulated LCD would also be great for macro if you had the subject higher than knee level or wanted to use the zoom.

The H1 is almost as good for close distance and probably more versatile in the ranges you would want to use for a large insect. It is almost as good at zoom also.

They are both good. I would think you would want to use them at zoom so you don't block light and can use flash if you desire. And avoid extreme barrel distortion you get from close at wide angle. They will both just about fill the frame with a big mantis at full zoom, which is unusual. Most other cameras don't do well in macro at zoom. It seems the S2 LCD would be more versatile. But the macro range at wide angle from up close is more versatile with the H1.

DAS44 Dec 24, 2005 11:02 PM

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First shot taken with a Nikon Coolpix 4500 with no accessories. Second one taken with a Panasonic FZ30 with 55-52 step down ring and Nikon T4 close-up lens. For the kind of work you want the camera for, I'd be looking at one that has a threaded lens for accessories and a flash shoe with TTL metering. Internal focusing and zooming in the lens would be a big plus also.

DAS44 Dec 24, 2005 11:36 PM

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pseudocreobroter Dec 24, 2005 11:44 PM

Ugh... I cant sleep, its 5:30 AM and i cant tell if its my near insomnia or my child like mentality and christmas morning combo that is keeping me awake...

So anyway, this is all over my head, is there a specific camera that you recomend das44 or are you sugesting one of the models that has taken those photos?

bernabeu Dec 25, 2005 8:36 PM

s7000 - will macro focus right down to 1 cm from lens

DAS44 Dec 25, 2005 11:37 PM

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I've been taking insect close-ups for more years than I care to admit. Used Nikon film SLR's for about forty years, but have since gone digital. The camera I'm madly in love with right now is the FZ-30 Panasonic. Great quality pictures and extremely versitile. It is very well suited for close-ups. I took the attached picture yesterday morning with the FZ-30, 55-52 step down ring and Nikon T3 and T4 close-up lenses. The subject (Still trying to identify it. Not an Antlion) is slightly less than 1/2 inch long. The image is full frame, no cropping. The original is much sharper at 8MP. Hope I've helped with your hunt. P.S. Owlfly larva if anyone is curious. Another advantage I forgot to mention is that a rig like mine will allow you to take pictures of insects without having to shove the camera in the subjects face. This picture was taken about 10 inches away from the subject with the zoom set to 420mm. Zooming the lens in and out allows you to vary the subject magnification without moving the camera.

pseudocreobroter Jan 3, 2006 12:19 PM

Ok, Ive been somewhat busy with christmas in all, but ive worked out that my budget is at maximum £350. To all the people that have helped me so far thankyou very much, but you have to remember that when it comes to digital photography im a complete amature (hell - with any type of photography, turth be told!) So if possible can i have an explantion for what a step down ring is?

mnosbor Jan 4, 2006 10:01 AM

A step down ring adapts the diamater of the threads on the camera to a filter size that is more readily available or preferred.

If you go over to the panasonicdigital topics youwill find a bunch of macros from this guy;forum_id=23

Look through the other topics or click on his profile to see more macros.

He has either a FZ20 or FZ30 I think its a 20. I have a FZ20 but havent tried any macros yet and havent bought any macro lenses yet you can get them without but easier to get with addons that let you be farther away. One of the reasons I got the 20 is that I can do great macros when the time comes.

As far as price I dont know how your $ converts to dollars but the FZ20 can be had for less than $400 the FZ30 just less than $600.

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