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Old Nov 18, 2004, 8:47 PM   #1
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Hi. I am having a very hard time deciding which camera to get. I need one primarily for taking close up pictures of flowers so it has to have excellent color and macro ability. I dont really need more than 5 mp but in order to get the best macro I have been getting higher and higher in mps and as a result cost. I do want professional looking photos--but dont really need a DSLR. To give you an idea,I started looking at the Nikon 5700, Olympus C-5060, and Canon G6 and have now moved to the Nikon 8700, Olympus C-8080 and now after reading some more, the Minolta A2. I even considered the Canon Digital Rebel but really dont need the weight of the DSLR and I would like tobe able to use the LCD as the viewfinder. Help--I have been agonizing over this decision for far too long!
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 1:57 PM   #2
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the best machine for taking macro shots is the Fuji s20 pro/s7000, they take shots at 1cm at any magnification and have a full range of semi-pro features to back this up!!
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 2:30 PM   #3
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mweb wrote:
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...they take shots at 1cm at any magnification...
To use zoom with these Fuji models, it is my understanding that you need to be in normal (versus super) macro mode, which will require a focus distance of 10cm or greater. Of course, this would still be fine for something like flowers. ;-)



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Old Nov 19, 2004, 4:41 PM   #4
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Have you used the S7000? The other is out of my price range and I dont think that picture quality was rated that highly in the S7000. I want great shots, and great macro, and great everything. Perhaps I am asking too much?
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 5:16 PM   #5
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There is no perfect camera. Each one will have pros and cons.

Unless you need large prints, I wouldn't worry too much about the megapixels part of the equation.

Chances are, most digital cameras could take photos of flowers that that are nice enough for most purposes (but there are pros and consto different camera types, and how the sensor sizes and camera featuresimpact depth of field, dynamic range, noise, etc.).

What is your intended purpose for the images (on screen viewing, printing, etc.)? If for prints, what print sizes will you need? Will these photos be taken outdoors in good light? How much of the plant do you need to "fill the frame" (smallest sizeyou willneed to capture)?
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 5:24 PM   #6
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Hi Jim

I need to be able to take shots that I can submit for publication (printed journals as well as website) which I usually upload. Sometime I make a print--usually 4x6 but no larget than 8x10.

I am very concerened about getting accurate color in full sun--especially reds and purples which my present camera cannot do. Also--some pics with a light background and dark center usually have a glow about them on my present camera. Would like to avoid this too.

THe flower will need to fill the frame for most shots although landscaping shots would be nice too. The smallest capture size I would need would be about 3" give or take. Pics are taken outside in full sun--right now i have to use an umbrella to shade my subjects.

My old camera is a 3.1 mg Kodak that eats batteries. Surprisingly I have gotten some good shots with it but would like something that is going to give me consistent excellent results.

Thanks so much for your help.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 7:04 PM   #7
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lilyhouse wrote:
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I need to be able to take shots that I can submit for publication (printed journals as well as website) which I usually upload. Sometime I make a print--usually 4x6 but no larget than 8x10.
Well... some publications have very strict standards on images (and some even refuse to accept photos from digital cameras). You'll need to find out what the requirements are forimagesfrom each publication (some may wantvery high resolution images for publishing consideration). If it were me,I'd avoid telling them what camera took the shot and simply interpolate to a larger size using software if they require higher resolution. For web use, even relatively low resolution models should work fine (viewing sizes forwebimages are normally less than one megapixel).

Forpersonal use at up to 8x10" print size, even a good 3 Megapixel Model can produce plenty of detail (IMO, on most printer types, with most subjects, you're notgoing to see more detail with higher resolution models at typical viewing distances by going with more resolution at 8x10" or smallerprint sizes).

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I am very concerened about getting accurate color in full sun--especially reds and purples which my present camera cannot do.
I think you'll find similar problems from other digital cameras, too. For whatever reason (and I'm no expert on color), the way sunlight works with some colors in flowers (particularly violet) prevents many cameras from capturingcolors from some flowers correctly (even with custom white balance settings).

I've seen this one debated on other forums before (whether or not it's color gamut, and whether or not using Adobe RGB color space should help, whether it's the way light is reflected by the flowers, etc.). I was watching a forum thread about the way sunlight works with violet flowers recently with Konica-Minolta Ax models, and using flash seemed to be the solution to the problem in some instances. But, it doesn't seem to apply to all flowers/shades of violet (results are mixed).

To have more flexibility in post processing,you'll probably want a model that can shoot in RAW so that you can tweak the white balance easier later.

Quote:
Also--some pics with a light background and dark center usually have a glow about them on my present camera. Would like to avoid this too.
It sounds like you're describing a combination of two problems... One is dynamic range (ability for a camera to capture both light and dark portions of an image). The other is chromatic aberrations (where you sometimes get color fringes around high contrast areas).

Dynamic Range in a Digital Camera islower compared to shooting with negative film (it's more like shooting with slide film). So, areas of an image that are slightly overexposed (for example, the edge of a flower meeting a very bright background), can have what is known as "blown highlights".

However, there are some ways to improve it.

One key is to expose for the highlights (make sure the brightest areas of the subject you want to capture are not overexposed, even if it leaves some areas underexposed). Then, use software to bring out shadow detail later.

Taking more than one photo using different settings is anothercommon technique (so that you are exposing for the shadow areas with one shot, then exposing for the highlights with other shots). Then, you blend the photos together later with software (so that you end up with an image with both areas correctly exposed).This will require a tripod, andmay still not be practical if your subject is not absolutely still (and flowers outdoorsprobably won't be).

Another technique is to shoot in RAW, then saveone TIFF image from RAW tweaked for the highlights to be correctly exposed, and another TIFF image from the same RAWshot tweaked for the shadow areas to be correctly exposed. Then, combine them in software. This is sometimes referred to as "digital blending".

Here is an article on how to do this with Photoshop (it assumes that two different photos were taken, but saving two from a RAW image will also help, and will use the same technique for blending):

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...blending.shtml

This technique can also be adapted to other image editors with layers. Here is someone showing how to do it with GIMP (a very powerful and free, open source image editor):

http://www.gimpguru.org/Tutorials/BlendingExposures/

Of course,another way is not to take photos of subjects that don't have even enoughlighting to capture the desired result, or where there is too much difference between dark and light areas of an image (so that you're not exceeding the capabilities ofthe camera).

If you are seeing a color fringe around high contrast edges, too, this is known as chromatic aberrations. Some models are much better than others in this area.

Lens quality is very important to reduce it.

Also, some sensor types seem to be more prone to it (for example, most8MP Prosumer models using a 2/3" CCD tend to have a worse problem with purple fringing compared to the 5 Megapixel Prosumer Models using a 2/3" CCD). Ditto for the 5 Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD versus the 4 Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD (when everything else is equal between models).

Why CCD design impacts it is debatable (some think this has to do with the design of the microlenses for each photosite, and the way they can refract/reflect light if the lens is not perfectly matched). As a general rule, CCD's with smaller photosites for each pixel seem to have a bigger problem with it (and packing more photosites into small sensors seems to be a common trend now, since most consumers think that more megapixels equals higher quality). Although, there are exceptions (since CCD design is constantly changing). Lens quality is also improving on some of the newer models (which can help with the problem).

Quote:
THe flower will need to fill the frame for most shots although landscaping shots would be nice too. The smallest capture size I would need would be about 3" give or take. Pics are taken outside in full sun--right now i have to use an umbrella to shade my subjects.


Most models can handle a 3 inch capture area fine in macro mode. Although, some models do it better than others (for example, a desirable feature is that the closest focus distance does not have to be at a model's full wide angle lens position, so that you can minimize barrel distortion by using some zoom).

If your budget is limited, and you can't invest in a DSLR model with a high quality prime lens with good macro ability (i.e., 1:1 Macro Lens), then I'd suggest looking through some of the photo sharing albumsto see how different camera models handle the types of flowers you'll be taking photos of.

One good site with a camera database is pbase.com. You can look up a camera model, and see sample user albums taken withit. But,please keep in mind that the photographers skill and the lighting conditions have more to do with getting goodphotos than anything else. Also keep in mind that many of the photos you find in albums have been tweaked/cropped/post processed in software.

Here is a link to their camera database:

http://www.pbase.com/cameras


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Old Nov 19, 2004, 7:13 PM   #8
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Hi Jim

Thank you so much for all the information--it was very helpful. But I was really hoping you were going to just tell me what camera to buy:!::-)
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 7:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
If your budget is limited, and you can't invest in a DSLR model with a high quality prime lens with good macro ability (i.e., 1:1 Macro Lens), then I'd suggest looking through some of the photo sharing albums to see how different camera models handle the types of flowers you'll be taking photos of.
One more question: Do you think I need a digital SLR?

Also--the publications I send to dont require larger than 5mp.
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Old Nov 19, 2004, 7:41 PM   #10
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DSLR cameras don't have a macro button like point & shoot cameras do - you have to screw on a separate macro lens.

Thats why I still haven't upgraded from a Minolta Z1 - 38-380mm and a good macro function.


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