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Old Aug 14, 2005, 3:10 PM   #1
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I have come in this afternoon with lots of insect photos that looked in focus on the screen of my compact. Unfortunately most were out of focus by a greater or lesser degree. The camera autofocus just can't cope with tiny objects and manual focus depends on the lcd screen (all of today's seemed to be in focus when taken). I have been thinking of getting a dslr with a proper macro lens for this photography for a while and today is the final straw although the camera is superb everywhere else.

I'm not new to SLR's having had film SLR's since the 1970's so I know what they can do, but my question from those of you familiar with the current crop of DSLR's is which body will be the best for hand held natural light shots of insects (and it can be pretty dull at times here in the UK). I can read the specs but they are no substitute for actual use. Factors such as start up, shot to shot time, autofocus on small objects & it's speed, viewfinder quality in respect to focussing (do they still do split screens?), high iso noise, antishake?.

The candidates to chose from are: Pentax *istDL (the DS now being discontinued), Oly E300, Nikon D50, KM Dynax 5D, Canon EOS 350D.

Your views will be gratefully accepted

I know someone will say that it's the system or the photographer that's important, but it's the body that I need to choose, I will stay the same and they all make decent (enough for me) macro lenses.

Here is an example, it's Tachina grossa, the largest fly in Europe at 2cm (and probably the ugliest). As usual, it looked in focus on the lcd screen and that was one of the better ones:


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Old Aug 15, 2005, 6:17 PM   #2
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Old Aug 16, 2005, 12:29 PM   #3
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While I love my ist ds (its still avaible and cheap) some of the big third party lense man. only make some of their macro lenses for canon and nikon. The tokina 180 macro is an example. So, for the widest choice of lenses go with the d50 or the 350d.

Just see wich one feels better, they both perform rather well.
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 10:53 AM   #4
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You do not give any set ups of your shots. Its not an auto focus problem that you have but a DOF problem. Looking at the shot the root of the wing is in focus, so the camera must have focussed on that. Give the details and calculate the DOF. I bet its only about 2mm.
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 12:04 PM   #5
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amicah22, thanks for your reply, I see your point about the lenses.

Geriatric
, It was manually focussed as the camera's autofocus doesn't work too well on small subjects. You are right about the narrow depth of field, but it's impossible to define on the lcd screen if it is focussed on the head or wing root, just the position where it appears to be best.

Here is the EXIF data:

Model : PENTAX Optio 750Z
Sub Information
ExposureTime : 1/320Sec
FNumber : F4.6
ISOSpeedRatings : 200
ExposureBiasValue : EV0.0
MeteringMode : Division
Flash : Not fired(Compulsory)
FocalLength : 39.00(mm)
ColorSpace : sRGB
ExposureMode : Auto
WhiteBalance : Auto
DigitalZoomRatio : 100/100
FocalLength(35mm) : 187(mm)
SceneCaptureType : Standard
Contrast : Normal
Saturation : High
Sharpness : Normal
SubjectDistanceRange : Close view
Quality mode : S.Fine
ISO Sensivity : 200
White Balance : Auto
Focal Length : 39(mm)
Saturation : +1
Contrast : Normal
Sharpness : Normal
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 2:20 PM   #6
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At f4.6 and 39mm focal length the DOF at half size is only 4.14mm. You should increase the aperture to the smallest you can use.
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