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Old Nov 14, 2004, 7:07 PM   #1
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I am a new digital camera buyer and this is my first post. I have a cheap digital camera thatI got for free. It has 100K megapixels, no LCD screen, 16 MB inbuilt memory, No other,memory , no zoom, no flash. It has a USB cable and uses AAA disposable batteries.

I have had fun with it and now want to move up.

As I like insects, I want a good macro and ,as I want to keep the camera with me, I want an ultra compact, as light weight as possible.I assume that most digital cameras will give good pictures of people and scenery.

I did as much web research asI could absorb and nowmy shopping list runs like this:

Point and shoot camera, weight>5 ounces,4-5 megapixels, 3 times optical zoom,macro at least 6 cm( less if possible), LCD 2 in ( but I' d take a bit less) Flash, USB cable, rechargable battery(? lithium ion), memory card slot.

I am not looking for the cheapest, just a camera that will do whatI want .I came up with the following three:

Pentax Optio S5i ; Casio EXILIM Ex Z50 : Canon PowerShot SD300 Digital ELPH

As I live over 200 miles from a town with any camera shops ,I cannot handle them or ask questions. So, please , has anyoneany comments on my choices ? Or have imissed something? Any suggestions?



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Old Nov 15, 2004, 11:00 AM   #2
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Did you have a look at http://www.imaging-resource.com/WB/WB.HTM?view=dp_macro? This link takes you straight to the macro list of Dave's Picks (best cameras)at http://www.imaging-resource.com.

Some digicams listed (such as the Canon Powershot s1 is) do not have a dedicated macro function, but can still take good close-ups. Check out Samcheri's posts in the canon forum (page 2)under the link "S1 and add on lens" for 2 macros made with the S1.

I advise you to read the reviews on the cameras that you consider possibilties. You can also compare them side by side.

Hopefully this will help you.
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Old Nov 16, 2004, 5:04 PM   #3
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Hello!

I'm also looking for a compact camera with good macro (but unfortunately I have some more whishes, which makes things harder)... I do not get one, so here is my findings at the current moment:

Many digicams (especially small one) have small focusing distance, lets say Minolta X series, Pentax 33/43WR and many others. But they may be not good for macro, because most of them will have best macro coverage area when zoom is set to widest position. This means that you camera will be very close to subject, so all the light will be blocked and there will be little to no way to use flash, insects will fly off, and finaly a lens will have a lot of barrel distortion. So it is much better to have good macro at long zoom, so you will have some working distance for light and no distortion. The problem here is that this data is practically never published in official specs and reviews on the web are often incomplete and contraversal on this subject. The best source of information about this matter is DPreview site (http://www.dpreview.com/).

Quote:
LCD 2 in ( but I' d take a bit less)
I also think that for macro work (if you are going to do some shooting at ground level) lcd should be rotatable. I've shoot a lot of macro with SLR, and some with Canon PowerShoot Pro70 (old camera with rotatable LCD), and this LCD is so much better...

Now what we have for those criteria... Canon S1 IS has rotatable LCD, but it has bad (large area) macro at wide end and even worse at long end. I've tested it and it can't be called "macro", unless you use special add-on lenses. It is not small too.

There is a very interesting camera from Sony, DSC-F88. It has a good macro (area of 36x20 mm at tele end) and super-macro mode with area of 25x15 mm (however at wide end). It is small and aslo have unique rotatable-lens design. The problem here is that the image quality is not that good, it has the same lens as Sony T-1, which nobody like here... So it is the only reason which stops me from buying this camera right now. Manual controls are also limited (but acceptable).

The best macro mode ever was one on the Nicon Coolpix 900/950/... line. The last camera of this generation is Coolpix 4500, which is old and discontinued. It takes crazy macro pictures, whith area of 17 mm (2/3 in) wide and no
distortion. But it is large and old. Newer Nicon cameras (at least those that can be called "not so large" and have rotatable LCD) are not that great with larger area and distortion. I've not seen any final review for new CP8400 though...

Another camera with rotatable LCD which can be taken into consideration is Canon A85/A95. It is small, inexpensive, have full manual controls and good image quality. But macro area is not that good, so if I go this way I'll have to buy macro lenses. May be it is not that bad, I've seen great macro pictures (like a head of a fly), taken whith Canon G-4 and a lot of teleconvertors/reversed lenses added, but this is not going to be compact set...

It will be interesting to see if I missed something, because now nothing really meets my criteria.

With best regards,
Sergey.
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 11:35 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I did go to imaging -resource and i did check the reviews. I read so many, i got confused and did the comparison on one of the web pages. But apart from the macro,I also want ultra compact.

Every opinion is a help. I see that in my original post i said I had a 100K"

megapixel "camera- it should have been" pixel"I feel a bit stupid.:sad:
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Old Nov 18, 2004, 11:46 PM   #5
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Sergy,

Thank you for all your trouble,I am overwhelmed will go to Dpreview and print out your comments.

AmI mistaken,then, in thinking that I must get the smallest macro distance that I can? One of the Canons goes to about 1 inch. The Pentax has just over 2ins. I had assumed that the flash would do for lighting, but it seems not.

thanks again-mavis
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 10:48 AM   #6
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mavis wrote:
Quote:
I had assumed that the flash would do for lighting, but it seems not.
To provide sufficient light on a macro subject without the camera lens getting in the way (it causes a shadow)you will have to provide light from a different light source. A possiblity is to use an external (slave) flash positioned and angled so that the lens isn't a problem.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 3:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Am I mistaken,then, in thinking that I must get the smallest macro distance that I can?
Yes, I think you are mistaken. You must get smallest shooting area at greatest distance possible (this means you need macro which works closer to tele end of zoom). I describe the reasons at the first letter. The problem is that this data is never published by manufacturers and it is practically impossible to deduce it from other parameters.

Quote:
I had assumed that the flash would do for lighting, but it seems not.
For flash macro shots see reviews at www.imaging-resource.com. However they can be not at greatest magnification, for example they show 59x45mm for Sony F-88 (this is coverage at wide-angle) while dpreview shows 36x20 mm (at tele end).

If the camera have extending lens it is most probably block the flash at close distances. Another problem may be overxpoisure - if camera can't reduce flash power enough.
Hovewer it may be not that bad... I think one can made some kind of light diffusor (for example using white paper), which will reduce flash power, however I do not test this.

Good soluiton for macro lighting with digicams is led ring "flashes". Nikon has one (called CoolLight, if I'm not mistaken), and I've seen models from 3d-party manufacturers (and it is actually easy to do itself).

But, again - if you work at very small distance you will have many problems on how to position you flash/diffusor, you simply may not have enough place. For example Nikon CoolLight do not fit between CoolPix 4500 and a subject at closest focusing distance (see dpreview again).

P.S. Pentax X seems to have the same lens as s5i (exactly the same spec, including macro), but also have rotatable split-body design, so it may be a better choise. For my taste, at least.

And Pentax 750z seems to be very compact and packed with all feaures possible... But super-macro at wide end again.. However can be not that bad at long-end macro too... Should we wait for new reviews again and again?..

With best regards,
Sergey.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 4:43 PM   #8
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... and for the minimum shooting distance I've found an answer: Pentax Optio MX/ MX4. They have minimal focusing distance of 0 (zero), that means you can shoot moscito sitting on lens...

WBR,
Sergey.
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 10:28 PM   #9
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To Pvb-

Thanks for the input.

I have tried to visualise this andI cannot see that the lens would NECESSARILY cast a shadow. Would it not depend on whether the camera was tilted? I tried the angles with my present compact, non- digital camera and it looked as if the shadow would to to one side of a small object.

regards -Mavis
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Old Nov 20, 2004, 10:43 PM   #10
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To Sergy again-

I did see reviews of Pentax X and I will check out the other 2. Ring flash would probably give me better lighting, but I am not a professional photographer andIdo not want complications. Just a very small ,light weight cameraI can always have handy. With all the help I have had and all the reviews i have read, I think that the perfect one has not yet been made, so i will settle for less. But can anyone tell me whay i have read less than good remarks about Pentax in some forums? No details were given.

Again thanks, Sergy

-Mavis
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