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Old May 8, 2006, 8:25 AM   #1
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Hi there

I was reading a lot in this forum to find out which cameras I should consider to buy. I will need the camera for the following:

1) 60% Jewelry Pictures. I don't have to print out any pictures. I am just making online catalogues of jewelry in a low/medium resolution and will only send pictures in higher resolution to potential customers on request.

2) 40% Normal use (holiday, portrait, parties, insects and flowers...)

As far as I found out I need the following:

- Manual controls (Focus, Aperture, probably also shutter and white balance?)

- good telemacro, to be able to keep some distance to the object

- small aperture, to get a good depth of field

I know that lightening is maybe even more important than the camera, but this will be another issue at a later step, OK?

The best recommendation seems to be the Nikons (950, 990, 995 and 4500) but I would like to know which would be the alternatives. I also heared about the Minolta A-2/A-200 to be good, but they don't seem to have a very small aperture. Also the Canon PS S2 IS was mentioned. What about the PS S3 IS, the G6 and the A620/A700? Is there a database somewhere in the web where I can see the minimum distances at full wide and tele as well as the corresponding picture sizes? Also the maximum aperture would be interesting. As I sometimes need a lot of shots to get what I want, I need to be able to shoot a lot of pictures with one battey charge.

Regarding the normal use, I am looking at the wide angle and low light capabilities, but this should be secondary.

I would appreciate any recommendations except DSLRs, because they are too expensive. I am willing to spend some money if the camera offers me what I want though.

Thanks for you help

Mike

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Old May 9, 2006, 7:34 AM   #2
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I just compared lots of other cams and it seems that there is no real competition for macros to the mentioned Nikon's.

Cameras which seems to do not to bad are Canon A620 andPanasonic Lumix DMC-LX1, but they not even com close according to the reviews I read. Also the Nikon 8700 seems to be still OK. For my purpose probably the A620 is the best solution, as the wide angle of the LX1 is only due to its 16:9 mode.

I'm also thinking about buying a used Nikon 4500 for my jewelry pictures (I hope the quite low battery life let me work long enough) and then just look for a good casual camera.
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Old May 9, 2006, 7:43 AM   #3
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Have a look at the canon S80, it's a bit on the more expencive side but it's a very nice camera. 28mm wide angle lens full manual control, and the manual focus mode is fantastic (for a compact camera) you jsut spin the little dial on the back, it's really well thought out.

Also for your lighting etc. a great budget option are the little light tents, they're about 40cm squared and for around $50AUD great for product photography.
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Old May 9, 2006, 6:38 PM   #4
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Wide angle macro cameras aren't very good for that kind job, small lens to target distance makes lightning hard.
(also lot of distortion, corner softness and CA)

You'll find best tests of macro capability from Dpreview's reviews.

Those Nikons really have quite phenomenal macro capability using "mid-zoom" instead of wide angle.

Tele macro of Powershot S-models isn't anyhow special when it comes to captured area and 400mm focal length means it's already shake prone enough without stopping down aperture. (unless lightning is good) Also as rule for "super"zooms they lack wide angle.

G6 seems to have quite nice tele macro until you look corner softness.


As for A2/A200 (∧ previous cameras using same lens) tele macro gives ~13cm lens to target distance so there's nice space for lightning target.
Captured area is ~5cm (2") wide and distortions and corner softness are some of the smallest from all digicams I've seen reviewed in Dpreview.
With cheap close up lens that drops further (of course at the expense of distance)
KM's own CL49-200 close up lens gives equally high quality shot from ~3cm wide area and from distance of 8cm.
Here's one shot I took using tele macro without close ups in lousy lightning (only light coming from small window) so had to use widest aperture.

(click photo for bigger size)

So if you can find either A2 or A200 those would be one of the best for job outside those old Nikon models and would be also great travel cameras.
A200 has less external controls, low res EVF but with Canon Powershot G/S-tyle rotating LCD and better in-camera processing than A2 but I myself prefer high resolution EVF and better external controls of A2.


BTW, those apertures stated everywhere are generally just biggest apertures for wide angle and tele and you can be sure that you can select much smaller apertures.
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Old May 10, 2006, 8:02 AM   #5
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Thanks for the detailed answer. I think I will go for a used Nikon 4500 and then I can choose which cam to buy for standard use. Probably I will still go for a A-200, but I will not have to put the macro abilities in the focus of my decision anymore.

Mike
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Old May 10, 2006, 11:51 AM   #6
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Hi and welcome,

I won't pretend to be as knowledgeable as most of the people here but I do have a lot of experience in using macro to sell coins on ebay. I recently chose a canon a610(5 mp version of the a620)for a friend to use to shoot coinsand am very impressed with the quality of the shots with this camera as well as the accuracy and speed of the auto focus. Lighting is always an issue when photographing small relective objects . It takes practice as well as a good camera to do it well. Take a hard look at this camera because it offers a lot of value for it's current price,:-).

Just my two cents!




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Old May 10, 2006, 4:21 PM   #7
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mike999 wrote:
Quote:
Thanks for the detailed answer. I think I will go for a used Nikon 4500 and then I can choose which cam to buy for standard use. ProbablyÂ* I will still go for a A-200
Here's good summary of differences between those Nikons:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp4500/
(also those are favored by digiscopers)
A-200 would be good addition to that Nikon, both use CF card so same cards would work in both and you can get big capacity cards very cheaply. (+CF will be still around when all other current cards have been forgotten)
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