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Old Apr 17, 2005, 4:53 PM   #1
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Ok, I think this is the right forum to post the question. Which camera should I buy.

I take a few family snapshots but my biggest application is taking photos of small detailed items for eBay. Especially antique watches and fountain pens. Very good close up or macro is what I am looking for.

I have had a Canon S100 for two years, it does ok for people, but not so great in macro. Not sure I need just more megapixels or a different model, or (god forbid) just some talent!

I like My Canon, I think all things being equal I'd buy something that takes CF cards because I have a bunch of them. My budget is up to $600. I was looking at the Canon Pro1 but it seems to have some issues.

Size is not that important, big would be ok.

Any advice gratefully received. Thanks.
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 7:37 PM   #2
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Just about any recent digicam will take macros of watches and pens. The big issue in macro photography isn't the camera, it is the lighting. An inexpensive Nikon (Nikon is generally considered to be excellent at macro work) plus a light box/tent will make fantastic macro shots.

There is quite a lot on this info on the internet, and here as well since this subject comes up about once a week. Do a search both here and in general about the subject of macro lighting, and the building of a homemade light box.

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Old Apr 17, 2005, 9:40 PM   #3
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Thank you for that excellent information. Off to Google I go!
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 10:10 PM   #4
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Just dug up a link that you might find helpful.

http://www.creativepro.com/story/feature/19002.html

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Old Apr 18, 2005, 7:16 AM   #5
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PaulLeMay wrote:
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... I take a few family snapshots but my biggest application is taking photos of small detailed items for eBay. Especially antique watches and fountain pens. Very good close up or macro is what I am looking for.

I have had a Canon S100 for two years, it does ok for people, but not so great in macro. Not sure I need just more megapixels or a different model, or (god forbid) just some talent! ...
For ebay you want to put up images that are something like 640x480 so you have enough megapixels.

As the article PhilR linked noted, lighting is the most important issue. Though it wasn't mentioned in that article, the set-up illustrations show the use of a tripod. (If you aren't using a tripod, get one!!! NOW) A remote shutter release is very nice, but the self-timer will let you trip the shutter after any movement has damped away.

If you post an example or two showing what is going wrong, you are likely to get better advice.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 3:46 PM   #6
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Here is a good example of a terrible photo I took with my 2 megapixel Canon S100.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 4:26 PM   #7
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Think about lighting way before you think of another camera: shadows, uneven lighting, and glare won't change with a different camera.

Squaring the coffe grinder(?) in the frame would help a bit, and very small amount of perspective correction might improve it very slightly. Rotating the image with software will deal with squaring it, and the perspective correction can be done in software, but it is simpler to keep the sensor (back of the camera) parallel to the surface when shooting will deal with the perspective issue.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 12:35 AM   #8
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Ok, so perhaps I am in the wrong forum. I have a Canon S100 and I am unhappy with the close up shots I am taking. I attach two examples. I actually made a little light tent today, it made the lighting better, but the biggest problem is whenever I get within six or eight inches, the image is out of focus. I click the macro button, so I have an image of a flower on my screen, but the picture is always out of focus. On larger objects (like the coffee grinder) taken from ten or twelve inches getting it in focus is not a problem. Am I doing something wrong?

I think the reason I was going to try a new semi professional camera is I thought I'd get one with a manual focus lens.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 8:42 PM   #9
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That does look like a focus problem - the specs for your camera say it will focus to 10cm/4inches. Given manufacturers tendency to exagerate, ...

Have you tried shooting through a standard magnifying glass? Not the crispest lens, but likely good enough for the web.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 9:19 PM   #10
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PaulLeMay wrote:
Quote:
Ok, so perhaps I am in the wrong forum. I have a Canon S100 and I am unhappy with the close up shots I am taking. I attach two examples. I actually made a little light tent today, it made the lighting better, but the biggest problem is whenever I get within six or eight inches, the image is out of focus. I click the macro button, so I have an image of a flower on my screen, but the picture is always out of focus. On larger objects (like the coffee grinder) taken from ten or twelve inches getting it in focus is not a problem. Am I doing something wrong?

Paul:

Is your lens at it's wide angle setting when you're trying to get that close in macro mode? If not, you're probably too close.

Using zoom, your distance to subject will need to be greater (you'll need to be 10 inches or more away in macro mode at full zoomwith your model).

Another question... Are you getting a focus lock? Half press the shutter button and see if you are locking focus. If not, you'll need more light (and/or more contrast) so that the camera can "see" well enough to focus.

For Ebay use, you can probably shoot a tad further away and simply crop the images with software (remove the outside edges, leaving the desired portion in the center) if you can't focus as close as you want/need to.

IMO, the best models around for taking photos of very small subjects are the Nikon Coolpix Swivel Bodied models like the Coolpix 990, 995 and4500. These are no longer made (but can be found in the used market).Now, I am biased since I've owned two of the "swivel bodied"Nikons (aCoolpix 950 and Coolpix 990, and I still have the older 950).

But, I'm not alone in that opinion either. Here are some of Steve's comments:

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=2

However, I'm still not convinced you really need a new camera for taking photos of watches and pens for web use in auction listings.

I'd hate for you to get a brand new camera, just to find out that your little Canon was just as good or better for your purposes.

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