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Old Mar 20, 2006, 11:34 AM   #1
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I want to be able to photograph seashells in the 3-10mm size and be able to enlarge and get good detail.The following URLs will takeyou to a few examples of what I'm producing with a Cannon Powershot A620. All photostaken in ambient light (outdoors or florescent),macro mode and manual focus.

http://www.jaxshells.org/sto.htm

http://www.jaxshells.org/maroo.htm

http://www.jaxshells.org/ziff.htm

http://www.jaxshells.org/0206a1.htm

I want to upgrade to an SLR from which I can expect significant improvement in detail. So, I'm looking for advice on the optimal body, lens and closeup filter set.

I've been using Canon A-60 and then the A620 for past two years. But, when I used to do more serious photography as a youth, it was Nikon SLRs. I want to get serious again, but not over a $1,000 serious.


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Old Mar 21, 2006, 9:50 AM   #2
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marlo-

It is just a personal opinion, but I would look at a Nikon D-50kit and then add the Nikkor 60mm macro lens. I shoot my Nikon D-70 with the 60mm Nikkor and it is a sweet combination, but it exceeds your budget I believe.

Your photos are excellent by the way.

MT

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Old Mar 21, 2006, 4:02 PM   #3
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Even the least expensive dSLR body plus a macro lens is likely to push you over your US$1000 budget. However, if you are willing to compromise a bit on image quality, you can get a comparatively inexpensive dSLR body and "kit" lens, then a set of extension tubes that move your lens away from the camera body. For a 1:1 macro (same sized image on your imager as your object) which sounds about right for what you are trying to do, you will need about as much extension as the focal length of your lens. B&H Photo/Video sells Kenko extension tube sets that will work for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and Konica-Minolta dSLRs, and some of these camera manufacturers have their own versions of extension tubes.

Another inexpensive technique is to get a close-up lens to mount to the front of your camera. In its least expensive (and lowest performing) version, this is a simple meniscus lens that acts basically the same as holding a magnifying glass up to your eye (or camera lens) but is more convenient to mount and may also give better image quality. More complex lens designs give better image quality but are more expensive.

A variation on this technique is to buy a macro coupler so you can mount another camera lens backward in front of your imaging lens. This will give you better image quality at the magnifications you will be working with, but of course requires a second lens. You may also run into problems with the corners of your image being cut off with this approach unless you select the combination of lenses carefully. Experimentation would be needed here to find a suitable combination.
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 8:31 AM   #4
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mtclimber& scoundrel1728,

Thanks for advice. I've examined both the Canon EOS and Nikon D50 with their 60mm macros and found the best results will be gotten with at least one extension tube. The Canon is more expensive, but offers 8.0 megapix vs 6.0. I like Nikon's larger LCD. So, is Canon's higher price worth it. Will there be a perceptual difference in product if my principal use will be to post images on the net or make prints no larger than 5 x 7?


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Old Apr 10, 2006, 8:47 AM   #5
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Marlo-

With that quality of image, whether the image is 6mp or 8mp hardly makes a difference. I have also done some researching and in my humble opinion the NikonD-50 camera and the 60mm Nikkor macro (there are other long focal length macros) with or withoutan extension tube should do the trick nicely. get the camera that is most convenient for you.

I don't know if you have any experience with refurbished cameras, but three weeks agao I was able to purchase a Nikon Factory Refurbished D-50 body from Beach Camera or BuyDig (they are owned by the same people)for $399. True, the camera bodyonly has a 90 day guarantee, but with thenumber of photos that I take each and every month, I can certainly shake the kinks out of that camera bodywithin the guarantee period. Thus far the camera has been absolutely perfect.Because i already owned Nikon lenses, I did not need the kit lens. It is just an idea, so take it for what it is worth.

MT
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Old Apr 11, 2006, 2:33 AM   #6
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I have a question for you.

How small are those shells? This matters, because it influences how much macro capability you need. If they are "ordinary" size, like the ones most of us pick up on the beach, then you probably don't need full 1:1 macro. 1:2 or even 1:3 would probably be fine. On the other hand they are very small, say less than 1cm then you do need 1:1. I'd also suggest that if the shells are very small then you might find the extra 2Mp of the XT to be useful, it will allow you to crop the picture more if you need to while still maintaining high resolution. For bigger shells you will not see any practical difference between 6 & 8. If you have a dedicated 1:1 macro lens I'd be surprised if you needed extension tubes.

You could get the Canon Rebel XT body only ($580) + Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro ($240).

You've already got a tripod right? if not get one! Buy it at a store near you, go for something sturdy, but with an extending arm, tell the chap you want to do macro work with it!

At some point you may also want to buy a dedicated macro ring flash system. They're quite pricey though.


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Old Apr 11, 2006, 9:06 AM   #7
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Hi Marlo,

Just to throw another wrench at you, the Minolta 7D body is WELL worth looking into, and is now available for about $750.00 from Adormama and the others in NYC. Two reasons to consider this body: one is the AntiShake that works VERY well, AND, with all Minolta lenses. The body is super well-built, and has a huge LCD. Second reason to consdier it: the Minolta 50mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro lens. It's available on eBay for about $225 ($375 new), and it is one of Minolta's SHARPEST lenses, on par with Nikon glass. Not many Minolta lenses can make that claim, but this one (and the 100mm Macro) easily fit in that class. You add that lens to an SLR with AntiShake, and you'll get a great combination.

Here's a shot I took with the 7D and the regular 50mm Minolta lens. The catch is: I took this at ¼ second, HAND HELD:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/digital...7594050901117/

That reason alone is worth checking out the 7D, especially with macro work. And to prove I'm not making it up about shooting hand held at ¼ second, you can see my reflection in the Christmas ornament. :shock:

Enjoy!

-Paulie



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Old Apr 11, 2006, 12:26 PM   #8
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
I have a question for you.

How small are those shells? This matters, because it influences how much macro capability you need. If they are "ordinary" size, like the ones most of us pick up on the beach, then you probably don't need full 1:1 macro. 1:2 or even 1:3 would probably be fine. On the other hand they are very small, say less than 1cm then you do need 1:1. I'd also suggest that if the shells are very small then you might find the extra 2Mp of the XT to be useful, it will allow you to crop the picture more if you need to while still maintaining high resolution.
Some of these shells are less than 1 cm long, so she will probably need the 1:1 macro capability. She reports the Stellatoma stellata shells as being 7.6 mm. However, the difference between 6 and 8 megapixels isn't great. The extra megapixels will offer only about 15 percent more magnification from the crop.
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Old Apr 11, 2006, 1:59 PM   #9
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peripatetic wrote:
Quote:
I have a question for you.

How small are those shells? This matters, because it influences how much macro capability you need. If they are "ordinary" size, like the ones most of us pick up on the beach, then you probably don't need full 1:1 macro. 1:2 or even 1:3 would probably be fine. On the other hand they are very small, say less than 1cm then you do need 1:1. I'd also suggest that if the shells are very small then you might find the extra 2Mp of the XT to be useful, it will allow you to crop the picture more if you need to while still maintaining high resolution. For bigger shells you will not see any practical difference between 6 & 8. If you have a dedicated 1:1 macro lens I'd be surprised if you needed extension tubes.

You could get the Canon Rebel XT body only ($580) + Canon 50mm f/2.5 Macro ($240).

You've already got a tripod right? if not get one! Buy it at a store near you, go for something sturdy, but with an extending arm, tell the chap you want to do macro work with it!
Quote:
The sizes are posted with the images (see my first email). I'll be shooting shells in the 3-10mm range and enlarging for detail of protoconchs. I have several tripods.
Quote:

At some point you may also want to buy a dedicated macro ring flash system. They're quite pricey though.
Quote:
So far ambient lighting has been sufficient (as was the case with the samples I posted).

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Old Apr 11, 2006, 2:46 PM   #10
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Paulie wrote:
Quote:
Hi Marlo,

Just to throw another wrench at you, the Minolta 7D body is WELL worth looking into, and is now available for about $750.00 from Adormama and the others in NYC. Two reasons to consider this body: one is the AntiShake that works VERY well, AND, with all Minolta lenses. The body is super well-built, and has a huge LCD. Second reason to consdier it: the Minolta 50mm f/2.8 1:1 Macro lens. It's available on eBay for about $225 ($375 new), and it is one of Minolta's SHARPEST lenses, on par with Nikon glass. Not many Minolta lenses can make that claim, but this one (and the 100mm Macro) easily fit in that class. You add that lens to an SLR with AntiShake, and you'll get a great combination.

Here's a shot I took with the 7D and the regular 50mm Minolta lens. The catch is: I took this at ¼ second, HAND HELD:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/digital...7594050901117/

That reason alone is worth checking out the 7D, especially with macro work. And to prove I'm not making it up about shooting hand held at ¼ second, you can see my reflection in the Christmas ornament. :shock:

Enjoy!

-Paulie


Paulie, I'll look at the Minolta, but frankly, I have a strong prejudice for Nikon (still have my first Nikormat - for antique value) or Canon (my daughter has two film SLR's and some lenses I might be able to use)
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