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Old May 30, 2007, 11:47 AM   #1
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My present digital camera is a Nikon Coolpix 5700 and although it has produced some excellent macro images, most are not acceptable due to focusing problems. The viewfinder does not have enough resolution to see the focal plane clearly enough to adjust manually, not to mention the awkward feel to the thumb-wheel focusing control. By comparison my ancient Vivitar 35mm is like looking through a picture window where I can easily turn the focus ring and watch the focal plane move along my subject, say a bug, and select the antenna, eye, wings...or whatever I want. I obtain best reuslts with my CP5700 by using autofocus and hoping the camera settles on something interesting in the depth-of-field...sometimes it does but often it does not (I call it "Point-and-Pray".) I use a tripod and shoot on a calm day to eliminate motion problems and in full sun to allow the smallest aperture size. I'm not really being critical of my camera since it's an older model and that's just the way it works....the lens is good enough but the control is not.

I know some of the newer cameras have enhanced resolution for macro mode and others a focusing ring but most reviews I've read either don't really discuss them or in some cases find them inadequate. Does anyone out there have experience with a non-SLR digital which gives good, repeatable focus control for macro photography?
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Old May 30, 2007, 2:50 PM   #2
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Personally I don't know which cameras have the best macro capabilities, but if you're serious about macro photos I'd take a look at some of the larger ultrazooms. Some of them have filter threading on the lens to allow for attachments, which allows for the use of macro lenses.

My last camera was the Panasonic FZ30, a camera which has the lens threading. It also has a manual focus ring which, when used, provides a 100% zoomed in view to get your focus as close as possible.

When I frequented the Panasonic forums here there were a couple people who used that camera with attachments for some very extreme macro shots. One regularly took shots of mosquitoes trapped in amber that were so close you can see the geometric patterns in the eyes.

I recommend you check out the Close-Ups forums, as well as the Panasonic forum to see what other people are using. Here's a recent one in Panasonic:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=23

Good luck.
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Old May 30, 2007, 4:47 PM   #3
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Macro means different things to different people. What is/are the size(s) of your intended subject(s)?
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Old May 31, 2007, 1:07 PM   #4
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The reason I asked the size of the objects you intend to photograph is that even with no attachments most of the "super-zoom cameras have good macro capabilities built in. Another factor that needs to be considered is what is the ultimate purpose of the these images, web pages, viewing on a computer screen, prints or the printed page?

As an illustration of the capabilities of an unadorned "super-zoom" I am uploading three images made with my Kodak Z612. All of the images were hand-held and I used auto-focusing. The original EXIF data is attached. Viewing these images on a 15" or 17" monitor will produce a larger than life image.

This first image was lit by direct sunlight and the salt shaker is ~ 2.75" tall.
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Old May 31, 2007, 1:09 PM   #5
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Salt shaker is about 1" tall. Lighting was room artificial light using an improvised tent.
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Old May 31, 2007, 1:17 PM   #6
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Used router bit about 1.5" long in improvised tent with artifical flood illumination.
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Old Jun 6, 2007, 10:31 AM   #7
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Thanks for the reference http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=571866&forum_id=23. He does just the type of macro with which I have trouble...focusing on a particular part of an insect when the DOF is very short. His approach is just to set the focus approximately then move the camera in and out until he is focused at the desired plane in the image. With my CP5700, though, I just can't see the image in the EVF well enough to do this. Plus, I like to use a tripod to eliminate camera shake and it's difficult to move the camera this way.

I was hoping someone would respond and say that the magnified view and focusing mechanism of their camera allowed adjusting until the desired focal plane was achieved....that's what some of the camera ads state...the FZ-30, for example. I've seen at least one review that said these macro focusing schemes left something to be desired.

Sorry for the delayed reply but while Steve's Forums was down I went on a short vacation and just returned.




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Old Jun 6, 2007, 4:40 PM   #8
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The issue for using that method is the resolution of the LCD/EVF. The Kodak Z612 applies a 5x magnification to both the EVF and the LCD to help manual focusing when in that mode. Haven't tested that mode and I not sure, with its lens barrel ariangement whether I could stack enough lenses on to get that kind of subject magnification. I may have a this weekend to play with manual focus in the macro mode.
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