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Old Aug 20, 2010, 12:45 PM   #1
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Default Pocket Camera for a Dermatologist's Macro Pics

I posted this question on another camera enthusiast site but am looking for some other thoughts before making my purchase.

I am a dermatologist looking to upgrade my camera that I use to take macro pictures of skin lesions. I currently have a "Canon PowerShot SD1100IS 8MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom" that I purchased 2 years ago without much research (obvious not the camera for me now given my research). It is an ok camera but I often struggle to get crisp macro pics of skin lesions in the often poor indoor lighting of the clinic rooms.

Ultimately, I am looking for a camera that fits in my white coat pocket (excludes an SLR but camera certainly does not have to be an ultra compact) and takes precise macro pics in indoor hospital lighting without use of flash (in my experience with my camera flash makes skin lesions look artificial). I plan to use this camera exclusively for my clinic so I am not really too picky regarding what it does outside and on vacations...

I was thinking of getting the Canon PowerShot S90 simply because it seems to get exceptional reviews and would easily fit in my pocket. However, someone replied that the LX3 would perform better in artificial indoor lighting and has a much closer macro focus limit of 1cm as opposed to the S90 with a macro focus limit of 5cm. Other suggested cameras for my use include the: Fuji F80EXR, Sony HX5, and Canon G11

Here are some more specifications that I am looking for:

Budget
-Anything less than $500 is fine

Size
-Fit in pocket of my white coat
-Does not have to be ultracompact, but SLR is too big

Features

How many megapixels will suffice for you?
-Not sure

What optical zoom will you need? (None, Standard = 3x-4x, Ultrazoom = 10x-12x)
-Not sure. Do I need >4X zoom to take macro pics of skin lesions?

How important is “image quality” to you? (Rate using a scale of 1-10)
-10
-I will be using pictures for presentations and medical journals

Do you care for manual exposure modes (shutter priority, aperture priority, manual)?
-Not familiar with.

General Usage
What will you generally use the camera for?
-Taking macro pictures of skin lesions in a clinic room with often poor indoor lighting.

Will you be making big prints of your photos or not?
-Will be using in powerpoint presentations, but not printing

Will you be shooting a lot of indoor photos or low light photos?
-Indoor photos with often poor and low light hospital lighting

Will you be shooting sports and/or action photos?
-no

Miscellaneous
Are there particular brands you like or hate?
-no

Are there particular models you already have in mind?
-Panasonic LX3

All replies are welcomed given my almost nonexistant digital camera knowledge. Thanks!
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 1:34 PM   #2
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mgo-

Welcome to the Forum. We're pleased that you dropped by.

Either the Panasonic LX3 or the Canon S-90 would be the best choice for your needs. They have larger than normal imagers and much better image quality.

Another possibility would be the Canon SD-4000 that was designed for low light photo environments.

Sarah Joyce

Last edited by mtclimber; Aug 20, 2010 at 1:46 PM.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 1:56 PM   #3
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Sarah would the FX700 Panny also be worth a look?
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 2:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgo737 View Post

...crisp macro pics of skin lesions...
Yuck. There... somebody had to say it. Please don't post your work here.

I was concerned about a camera with low-light capability being able to focus closely enough for your needs. But specs say the s90 will focus a close as 2" at both the wide and long ends. That ought to be more than close enough, and w/o using flash shadows shouldn't be a big problem.

Ricoh P&S cameras have a reputation as very good macro tools from what I've read, but for your lighting conditions you can't beat the s90 short of moving to a larger format.

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Old Aug 20, 2010, 2:41 PM   #5
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Ha! Us dermatologist get that a lot---yuck, that is. That being said, what other specialty has complete strangers offering to take their clothes off at a party?

Ok, solely for low artificial clinic lighting and macro pics of skin lesions, which camera would you go with regardless of cost? S90 or LX3? Others said that the LX3 is better for low artificial light situations...

Thanks for all the input!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3puttpar View Post
Yuck. There... somebody had to say it. Please don't post your work here.

I was concerned about a camera with low-light capability being able to focus closely enough for your needs. But specs say the s90 will focus a close as 2" at both the wide and long ends. That ought to be more than close enough, and w/o using flash shadows shouldn't be a big problem.

Ricoh P&S cameras have a reputation as very good macro tools from what I've read, but for your lighting conditions you can't beat the s90 short of moving to a larger format.
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Old Aug 20, 2010, 3:22 PM   #6
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I too would suggest the LX3. You can use ISO 80 for increased image quality - but stay under 800, preferably no greater than 400. Its Leica f2 lens is one of the fastest in this size class, for low ambient light and will fit into a lab coat pocket. It is a 3x zoom, and at the wide end (with Macro set) will focus as close as 1cm (but at the telephoto end of the zoom range its minimum focus distance is 30cm - still with Macro), normally its about 50cm.


One of the drawbacks is the lens cover that is connected with a "string" - hence it can dangle, or you can just remove it altogether.


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Old Aug 20, 2010, 5:49 PM   #7
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I already have some experience with the Canon SD-4000. I think that the better technology of the SD-4000 will make a real difference. Plus it is much more lab coat pocket size.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 12:01 AM   #8
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The LX3 initially created this particular market segment with the larger sensor and faster and wider angle lens, a bit over 2 years ago. However the SD4000 is a much newer camera that meets or exceeds what the LX3 offers. It also fixes some of the quirks of the LX3. The dangling lens cap - with a fully automatic recessed lens for stowage. The top knob on the LX3 can too easily be moved to another setting, and the SD4000 has a different user interface for this. It also appears to be a tad smaller in size.

In the end, I like Sara's suggestion much better...


Last edited by interested_observer; Aug 21, 2010 at 12:03 AM.
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 12:30 AM   #9
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I love the LX3 too, but in this case I think that age and technology might have produced a better camera in the SD-4000 that might better meet the OP's requirements.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Aug 21, 2010, 9:16 AM   #10
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Ok, both the S90 and SD4000 can be purchased online for the same price of $299 with free shipping. I am planning on ordering today. Which one do I go with for my needs? Sorry for being so uncertain, but I do not know very much about cameras and would like to get the best camera for my needs rather than what the salesman tells me I need.

Thanks again for all of the input! I cannot wait to start snapping pics of beautiful skin lesions!
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