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Old Apr 4, 2008, 11:06 PM   #1
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Hi everyone, I just recently had to return my canon powershot A560 due to a battery-use defect. While it was working I had a very hard time getting it to shoot good shots of my fish in the aquarium. Also, anything that I shot up close was quite blurry, despite spending a lot of time fiddling around with it.

Since I will be getting a new camera soon I have kind of been thinking of spending a little more money and hopefully getting a camera with better ability to shoot macros. Would it help to get a manual focus camera for this purpose? I am by no means a professional photographer, but getting good close-ups of my fish and aquarium plants is pretty necessary as this is mostly what I take pictures of.

What would everyone recommend? I was thinking of something in the $300 range. What is the best option for this budget in terms of shooting close-ups of fish

Thanks, Christina
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Old Apr 4, 2008, 11:23 PM   #2
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Christina-

I believe inthe case of aquarium shots,that these will be existing light photos. Therefore, you need a camera such as the Fuji F-20 or F-40 that handles those higher ISO setting with ease.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 1:09 AM   #3
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Hi Christina,

When you mention that closeups were quite blurry, how close were you? Most digicams have a minimum focus range of about 12", so if you are close than that, you will get blurry, unfocussed images. Most cameras have a Macro mode for focussing as close as 2".

Also, to be able to "freeze" the action of your fishes swimming, you will need a fairly high shutter speed, which inceidentally means you will need a good amount of light. As Sarah Joyoce has already pointed out, the Fuji F-series are the best at this, out of all the point-n-shoot digicams. A camera that has a shutter priority setting (Fuji F30/31, I don't know about the others) would be very useful.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 3:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I was looking at thePanasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18? Is this a good camera? The Fuji F30s are really hard to find, even on ebay! They sound like a good camera though..

With the canon, even in macro mode everything was blurry, unless I stood a long ways away and zoomed in, but even then the picture was kind of grainy. But like I said, it was broken and had to be returned (3 times I tried to get it fixed actually......).

Thanks!
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 4:17 PM   #5
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http://www.steves-digicams.com/2007_...onic_fz18.html
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 4:33 PM   #6
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http://www.megapixel.net/reviews/pan...8/fz18-gen.php
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 4:43 PM   #7
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The FZ-18 is a good ultra-ultrazoom, but is not considered a good low-light camera.

The reason the Canon "was grainy" is because the ISO was boosted to get that sharper picture. This will happen with most digicams. Any chance you can post a couple of the grainy/blurry photos so we can get an idea about the lighting conditions?
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 6:04 PM   #8
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Yes--here are a couple of pictures, the first one is actually pretty good small, but once it gets a little larger it becomes grainy.




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Old Apr 5, 2008, 6:46 PM   #9
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Christina,

Your first pic (the one with the fish) was taken at ISO 1600 - that's why it's so grainy. Many P&S digicams can't do justice to ISO settings of more than 200. At 400 they really start to lose it, and by the time you get to ISO 1600, you have chaos. I don't see a fish in the second pic, nor do I see any EXIF information - must be hidden behind the noise (LOL). If you go here, you can compare your A560's high ISO performance against the FZ-18...and others:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM

You'll have to click on 'All cameras' at the top of the page to see some of the older discontinued models. Select the A560 as the 1st camera, then scroll down to 'Still-life 1600'. Then go over to the right side and select another camera to compare. Try the Fz-18 first...then try the F30 and S6000 (don't forget to click on 'all cameras'). Keep trying cameras until you find one you like...stop when you reach the $7000 cameras.

The Fujis seemed to be better at higher ISO settings than their counterparts. Keep in mind, all of these pics were taken under bright laboratory grade lighting conditions...results in your fish tank my vary.

Take a look at a couple of the newest Fuji cams - no professional reviews yet, but they should be out soon.

the Hun

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Old Apr 5, 2008, 7:39 PM   #10
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Consider purchasing a camera with manual controls and optical image stabilization. These features will give you the ability to get the best possible shot under difficult lighting conditions, such as the one you're in. The Fuji F50fd has these features and will enable you to take a good picture at a higher ISO than almost any other compact camera.
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