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Old May 20, 2006, 2:42 PM   #1
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I am in a quandary in searching for a compact digital for my wife's archaelogy use. She is currently using a small sony P71 that is adequate but not satisfied with the macros she needs. I checked out both the new entry level sony's the S45 and the S600 but found both of those to be lacking an actual macro mode, which gives me pause. I have owned sony compacts from the ancient S30, S75, F707, and then graduated to DSLR and now own a Nikon D200. Have dabbled into some of the nikon coolpix cameras and own a 4800 which i enjoy, but both of us like the quality of the sony.... please offer some suggestions as i would like to get her a half way decent camera for macro work.. there are SOO many choices out there.. am turning to other consumers... to help out... thank you
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Old May 20, 2006, 4:18 PM   #2
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Looks like one of the studied objects was still living...
Sorry, couldn't resist, I have twisted sense of humour.:crazy:


So primary use would be mostly documenting different small (and little larger) objects?
Propably in not so good lightning like inside?
(lightning outside is muh better)


invaderzim wrote:
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I checked out both the new entry level sony's the S45 and the S600 but found both of those to be lacking an actual macro mode
Most cameras actually don't have good macro mode, common wide angle macro causes lot of problems, distortion and corner softness are big... also need to cram lens to side of target causes easily bad lightning problems.

So what kind size and budget limits there are?

Also reviews made by Dpreview have very good macro test in "Photographic Tests" section of review.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs.asp


BTW, Nikon cameras seem to have some of the best macro capabilities.
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Old May 21, 2006, 3:37 PM   #3
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Hello ET and thanks for the info... (and the humor).. :lol:actually that is a handheld shot of a snail with my D200 and a 24-120mm VR lens... which I just sold so I could fund my 18-200mm VR ... sigh.. such an expensive hobby!!!:sad:

We are probably looking in the amount of 200-300 dollar range... and durability is also a consideration.. My wife wanted me to mention that artifacts... and outside macros of plants is what this will be used mainly for.:|

thanks again

Michael
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Old May 21, 2006, 7:25 PM   #4
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What doesn't your wife like about the P71 macros? The smallest area is about 3.7 inches wide – does she have to get closer? It is otherwise supposed to have a decent macro although the flash doesn't throttle down very well.

Probably the best camera in your price range if you just consider the macro capability is the Nikon 5600. It captures a tiny area (1.14 X 0.86 inches) and the flash throttles down well for macro. According to Imaging Resource the flash coverage is good for close macros, which is rare.

If she doesn't use the flash for macro you might look into something with image stabilization for handheld shots. I don't know of a small stabilized camera that gets as close as the Nikon. The Sony T9 is a little over your price range at $333 including shipping from Butterfly, which is reliable. It will capture an area 3 inches wide and the flash coverage is better than most, although not as good as the Nikon. It has true optical stabilization and better than average ISO400 performance. She would do well with it in available light. I mention it only because you like Sonys.

The Panasonic FX9 is in your price range and might be a better choice. It will capture a 2 inch wide area which isn't bad and Butterfly has it for $276 including shipping. The flash is useless at that closest range. What I like about the FX9 for macro is that it will capture an area of about 4 inches zoomed out. That eliminates a lot of distortion and lighting problems. The camera is also stabilized for handheld shots. It isn't as good as the T9 at higher ISO though. This has a good macro example: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panasonicfx9/page5.asp

I don't know how small a cameras she needs. The Canon A620 has an excellent macro and is inexpensive. It isn't stabilized but is an excellent camera. It does about as well as the Nikon up very close and captures a little smaller area zoomed than the FX9. And the zoom is 4X so you could probably use the flash. You would have to include the price of a charger and NiMH batteries to make it practical. After buying a charger and batteries it would probably be close to the price of the FX9, but spare batteries are cheap once you have the charger and it has exceptional battery life. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canona620/page6.asp




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Old May 21, 2006, 11:39 PM   #5
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Thank you Slipe..

I appreciate the suggestions... and the links to the Canon and Panasonic offerings..

My wife indicates that the plant macros just dont seem to come out as bright and as sharp as she would like.:sad:

soo.. i am leaning toward the canon for the durability and outstanding macro it apparently has.. The panasonic appears a bit to flimsy for field work.

but.. will see if I get some more suggestions... so far.. this is helping alot.

thanks again

M
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Old May 25, 2006, 6:54 AM   #6
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HI

if your looking for a camera with good macro ability why not consider the sony p series it has a magnifying mode which allows macro to less than 10mm! my wife was able to shoot subjects smaller than the eye can focus on , it also has a big 2.5 or 3 inch screen which is very clear .



another personal favourite of mine for macro and a very nice wide angle lenseare the ricoh cameras i have a old rr30 3.2mp.have a look on the forums in the ricoh section .



hope you find what your looking for

regards

matt


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Old May 25, 2006, 7:44 PM   #7
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thanks Matt... for the suggestions.. she already has the P71.. and although i like it OK.. she knows she wants something a bit more crispier... if that is the word.. i dunno..



I will check out the Ricoh's though... it seems that sometimes the older digitals had better everything .. or is that my imagination... (recalling some of the macro shots i got with my sony s30)



thanks again

michael
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